No I can hardly believe there's a post here today either and I'm hoping you're not expecting coherence from me this morning after last night's concert and after-concert party. I'm sorry, this is on the typepad auto-timer and I'm probably still snoring away in my tent here at Team Ulysses summit minus one, if someone gets the eggs and bacon on I might be tempted to emerge.
And you won't be surprised to know that I'm a bit behind times with this month's Ulysses reading, just scraping through to finish Ithaca two days ago so hardly time to process it.
Apart from being frantically busy on all fronts...work, home and leisure I had purposefully taken my time with this chapter. I was actually enjoying Ithaca so much that I decided not to rush for the sake of pitching up here all present and correct, but to read and savour because I think these are proving to be some of the best chapters in the book for me.
And might this be where that phrase 'The university of life' originated, I wondered as I came across it here.
In the end I was taking in just a couple of paragraphs at each sitting and reveling in this method of storytelling, in the way James Joyce builds from something seemingly insignificant and parochial into a theme of national and universal import and all in just a few sentences.
This struck me as wordsmithery at its pinnacle.
Or in others he seems to cock a snook at life...did anyone else feel these frequent little displays of erudition were done tongue in cheek much of the time...
'the infinite possibilities hitherto unexploited of the modern art of advertisement if condensed in trilateral monoideal symbols vertically of maximum visibility (divined) horizontally of maximum legibility (deciphered) and of magnetising efficacy to arrest involuntary attention, to interest, to convince, to decide.'
Meanwhile, so much more is being revealed as Joyce moves towards offering a deeper understanding of both Poldy and Stephen and after 640 pages finally we learn what Bloom looks like. I think I found out more here than I had in the entire book to date. So many tangible visual references to surroundings that in the end felt a bit like a treasure hunt as I started to look up things like moustache cups (who knew) lisle hose, Plumtree's Potted meat and holland roller towels,(I couldn't find a better picture) Epps Cocoa and blue enamel pans.
Just about every book of essays, diaries, letters or interviews that I open bears fruit when I look up James Joyce and Ulysses in the index. He is the common denominator, everyone has an opinion. Seeking out and finding the Paris Review Interview with Nabakov (another new reading trail for me, more about it soon) in an old Penguin volume which I bought for 1p on Amazon, the book also revealed an interview with Anthony Burgess talking about Nabakov.
Whilst crediting Nabakov for some of his inspiration Burgess was lukewarm about many aspects of Nabakov's writing and when push came to shove...
Interviewer : Does Nabakov rank at the top with Joyce?
Burgess : He won't go down in history as one of the greatest names. He's unworthy to unlatch Joyce's shoe
So just Penelope left to read before my much-thumbed and cuddly old copy of Ulysses goes on the shelf and I'm off to make some bunting for our summit attempt on Bloomsday, June 16th 2010.
Out of interest, how many of you might be planting that flag with me?
And surely the most pressing question of the day has to be
'What were Stephen's and Bloom's quasisilmultaneous volitional quasisensations of concealed identities?
Answers on a postcard.