Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reading Ulysses - Getting Unstuck

There is nothing worse than rhetoric for the sheer joy of it, when it isn't your subject of interest. I've listened to chapter 9 - Scylla and Charybdis - at least three times, because I keep zoning out and thinking of other things. Anything else, really.

Blamires sums it up pretty well:
The menace is created by a wordy encounter between Stephen Dedalus and a group of talkative scholars in the National Library. Whirlpool images occur several times, associated with the swirling depths of Platonist metaphysics in which Russell and the librarians are whirled. -Harry Blamires, The New Bloomsday Book

Okay, I confess. I'm not even halfway interested in the multiple layers of meaning going on with Shakespeare, his real life, his characters and their potential real lives, and only partially interested in what this has to do with the characters in Ulysses. At this point I'm going to soldier through it and see what is on the other side.

Part of it is that my attention is distracted. Classes started today so it is hard to turn my mind off and just listen to an audio book when my to-do list is a mile long, and there are more mindless books to zip through, and I have been. This may not have been the right part of Ulysses to tackle when attacked by the many-headed monsters of my own life! At least I partially grasp that reference, eh?

One silly detail sustaining and repeaking my interest from time to time is the character fondly referred to as the "Quaker librarian." Why is his Quakerness so important that it must be always used? I'll look for an explanation of that before moving on in the text.

I'm not worried that I wont finish. Most mighty tomes have draggy parts. I keep reminding myself that at least it isn't whale anatomy like in Moby Dick!


  1. It's even tougher going reading it the old-fashioned way. :-)

  2. Definitely, as evidenced by my failed attempts. I will conquer this!


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