Sunday, 15 March 2020


Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, all reading groups are suspended until further notice.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Thursday, 12 March 2020, Episode 7 (7.313 - 7. 603)

The reading stopped with ". . . Stephen said." (7.603)

As Bloom waits in the offices of The Telegraph to go inside the inner office of Myles Crawford to make a phone call, Simon Dedalus and Ned Lambert leave to have a drink. Professor MacHugh is still there. He is joined by Lenehan who brings Sport's tissues (racing forms by a weekly paper, Sport). He tosses them on to the table which get caught in the draught caused by the opening of the door and fall down to the floor. As Lenehan bends down to pick them up, Bloom comes out after making the phone call, bumps against Lenehan. He hurries out after apologising for hurting Lenehan's knee.

Soon Stephen comes in with Mr O'Madden Burke. Stephen has brought the letter on the foot and mouth disease that Mr Deasy had given him that morning. Both Professor MacHugh and the editor, Myles Crawford, know Mr Deasy and his wife. They start talking about Mrs Deasy's wife. Stephen's mind wanders off. He recalls what Mr Deasy had said that morning: "A woman brought sin into the world." Meanwhile Professor MacHugh discourses on the Greeks, Lenehan recites a limerick on MacHugh, and poses a riddle: What opera is like a railway line?, giving its answer himself when nobody pays any attention to it.

Their attention then turns to the loose ties worn by Stephen and Mr O'Madden Burke. 

Friday, 6 March 2020

Thursday, 5 March 2020, Episode 7 (7.1 - 7.312)

The reading stopped at "Hail fellow well met the next moment." (7.312)


Book 10 of Homer's Odyssey describes the visit of Odysseus and his crew to the island of Aeolus, the keeper (god) of winds. In Joyce's Ulysses, Aeolus is the unofficial name given to episode 7. This episode is quite windy with words, often hollow words. Joyce has assigned the office of the newspaper Freeman's Journal, the oldest newspaper of Dublinas its location. Its various sections/paragraphs have titles just like the headings of topics in a newspaper.

The episode starts in the heart of Dublin, before Nelson's pillar with the clanking of trams on their way. It is 12 noon. Bloom has come to the newspaper office with the intention of getting an extension for an advertisement from Alexander Keys. He talks to Red Murray, watches William Brayden the editor [passing] statelily up the staircase, goes inside, talks to Nannetti (a master-printer) about the advertisement, . . . He stands by, hearing the loud throbs of cranks, watching the silent typesetters at their cases.

Bloom then walks into the office of the Telegraph which is in the same building. Simon Dedalus, Ned Lambert and professor MacHugh are there. Bloom is noticed only by MacHugh. The other two do not pay any attention to him. They are too busy having fun, reading a passage in that day's newspaper.

(Summarized from the book, Ulysses for the Uninitiated.)

Friday, 28 February 2020

Thursday, 27 February 2020, End of episode 6

We completed the episode 6.


Bloom moves away as the gravediggers start to fill the grave with heavy clods of clay. He notices that Hynes is writing in his notebook. Assuming that he is noting down the names of people who were at the funeral, Bloom tries to move away, as he [Hynes] knows them all. That does not turn out to be the truth as Hynes - though he does know the name of many who had come - calls back Bloom and asks him after his first name. Another proof that Bloom is an outsider in Dublin's society.

The mourners slowly move away. Hynes, Mr Power and others walk by the chief's grave (Parnell's grave). Bloom follows noticing the various ornaments put on the gates, various quotations on the grave stones. He is not much impressed by what he sees. "More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living." The quotations remind him of Thomas Gray's poem, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Typical of Bloom, he thinks of it as Eulogy in a country churchyard . . . [by] Wordswoth or Thomas Campbell. 

He sees an obese grey rat [toddling] along the side of the crypt. This makes him muse about what happens to the buried body, and about various ways of disposing of the dead: cremation, quicklime feverpits, sea burial, Parsee tower of silence . . .

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Thursday, 20 February 2020, Episode 6 (6.543 - 6.871)

The reading stopped at ". . . as you are sure there's no." (6.871)

Bloom and others have arrived at the Prospect cemetery. Among the many mourners we meet here are - apart from Dignam's elder son, brother in law - Ned Lambert, Corny Kelleher (who works for an undertaker), Father Coffey (Bloom recalls that he knew his name was like a coffin), Tom Kernan (a tea merchant), John Henry Menton (a solicitor for whom Dignam used to work), John O'Connell (superintendent of the cemetery), and a chap in the macintosh, etc.

These funeral service and burial are interspersed with Bloom's internal monologues. (One of the signature features of Ulysses is the use of internal monologue. Of Bloom, of Stephen, and most famously of Molly in the final episode.) While the other mourners are busy with small talk, Bloom is occupied with his own thoughts. Of widowhood (of Victoria and Albert), about how Dignam's wife and children would manage their life now, about the cause of the swollen belly of the priest, of the rituals of the funeral service, of the effect of reading the prayer in Latin, of none of it mattering to the person who is dead, about the superintendent's life, about the economy of using a separate coffin for every dead person, about what happens to the body that is buried and the soil in which it is buried, about the organ called the heart (A pump after all, pumping thousands of gallons of blood every day. One fine day it gets bunged up: and there you are) . . . He is also disturbed when the gravediggers [take] up their spades and [fling] heavy clods of clay in on the coffin, wondering how to make sure that the person in the coffin is really dead . . .

(Summarized from the book, Ulysses for the Uninitiated.)

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Thursday, 13 February 2020, Episode 6 (6.242 - 6.542)

The reading stopped at ". . . Mr Bloom agreed." (6.542)

Mr Bloom, Martin Cunningaham, Simon Dedalus and Mr Power are traveling in a creaking carriage to the funeral of Patrick Dignam. Bloom tries often to make conversation. He starts telling the awfully good one about Reuben J and the son. But everybody in the carriage already knows about that story. Anyway this leads to the topic of death, to committing suicide, ... Martin Cunningham tries to stop others expressing their opinions about suicidal death as he knows that Bloom's father had taken his own life. Bloom is grateful to Cunningham. Seeing a tiny coffin passing by, Bloom is once again reminded of his son, Rudy, who did not live long after birth.
After passing the statue of the hugecloaked Liberator (statue of Daniel O'Connell), Nelson's pillar, after coming to a temporary halt because of a herd of cattle being driven, and passing again the stonecutter's yard, the house where Samuel Childs was murdered, they finally reach the cemetery. While getting down from the carriage, Bloom manages to move the soap from his hip pocket to the inner pocket. They enter the gates of the cemetery making small talk.

(Summarized from the book, Ulysses for the Uninitiated.)

Statue of Daniel O'Connell

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Thursday, 6 February 2020, Episode 6 (6.1 - 6.241)

The reading stopped at ". . . throstle that expresses that." (6.241)


It is finally time to leave for Patrick Dignam's funeral. Bloom enters the creaking carriage that was to take him, Martin Cunningham, Mr Power and Mr Dedalus after he is told, "Come along, Bloom. (6.08)" There are many hints in this episode to underline the fact that Bloom is an outsider in the Dublin society.
They all attempt to make conversation during the ride to the Prospect cemetery. But whatever Bloom says does not seem to interest the others. There is also little seriousness in the carriage. For instance, Mr Dedalus gets quite angry just by being told that his son and heir (6.43) was passing by because he imagines his son, Stephen, in the company of Buck Mulligan, whom he refers to as a contaminated bloody double dyed ruffian by all accounts (6.64). Bloom, who witnesses this outburst, feels that he understands the feeling of the father as he himself had a son Rudy, who unfortunately lived only for a few days. The thought of his death makes Bloom think of the moment of conception of his son. Must have been that morning in Raymond terrace she was at the window watching the two dogs at it by the wall of the cease to do evil (6.77).
Just when Bloom thinks, he's coming in the afternoon (6.190), the others see and greet Blazes Boylan whom they pass. This leads to Mr Power enquiring Bloom about the concert tour. They talk about the singers (Louis Werner, J. C. Doyle, John MacCormack) who are to participate in the tour. (Interestingly, on 27 August 1904, James Joyce had sung with John MacCormack, J. C. Doyle and others in Dublin.)
The carriage moves on.