I believe I can do it this time; that is, read Ulysses from first page to last. Once upon a time, in March of 2009, I organized a group read in LibraryThing called "The Quest for the Last Page of Ulysses," but about halfway through my Gabler edition copy of the novel (or roughly two-thirds of the way up to the "top"—the end—of the book, acknowledging the Mount Everest imagery and Himalayan metaphors I regularly employed in our reading progress during the epic Quest), I was either surprised by a Yeti, causing me to stumble and slip down an ice-chute to my doom, or was overcome by an avalanche, and so "died" while attempting to stand upon the summit of "Mount" Ulysses.
|First edition, 1922|
Why am I doing this? Doing something so hard and self-punishing? Well, why not? So what if I have "to fake it till I make it," because I trust that Ulysses "will work if I work it, but it won't if I don't"! Also, beyond just the rewards that shall surely come to me once I've beaten this terrible disease, Ulysses, I'd like to finally get the ribald monkey off my back and be able to say that I finished the damn thing, every goddamned word of it, this novel that, love it or hate it (as I have both through the years), nonetheless deserves a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh chance (and more), understanding that relapse in fighting Ulysses is the expected norm.
In lieu of a hard copy of the novel, for the time being I'll be utilizing a pdf of Ulysses online. And rather than post here every day, I'll post my progress in five day installments per blog post. So, here goes (thisiscrazy thisiscrazy thisiscrazy) . . . .
Day 1, Pg 1
Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.
The lovely alliteration of "displeased" / "sleepy" caught my ears.
f.w. = Chrysostomos
Day 2; Pg 2
—Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor.
f.w. = dactyls
|Joseph Beuys, examining Joyce's scrotumtightening sea (photo by Caroline Tisdall)|
The scrotumtightening sea.
I bet the sea off Dublin, Ireland is scrotumtightening any time of year.
f.w. = snotgreen
Day 4; Pg 4
—He can’t wear them, Buck Mulligan told his face inthe mirror.
You can just hear Mulligan's sneer, that line is so spot-on-good (or "spotongood,") as Joyce may have spelled it. That image of Mulligan speaking to the mirror is striking, too.
f.w. = dogsbody
Day 5; pg 5
With slit ribbons of his shirt whipping the air he hops and hobbles round the table, with trousers down at heels, chased by Ades of Magdalen with the tailor’s shears.
f.w. = omphalos
Reading Ulysses index