Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Thursday, 14 November 2019, Episode 2 (2.1 - 2.276)

We started with episode 2, Nestor, and read as far as "Croppies lie down." (2.276)


After handing over the key of the tower to Mulligan, Stephen has come to the school where he is a teacher. During the course of the morning, he teaches history and literature, and even devotes some time to teach Cyril Sargent, one of the pupils, some algebra. (After all, according to Mulligan, Stephen can prove by algebra that Shakespeare's ghost is Hamlet's grandfather. (2.151)) Even as he poses questions on history to the class, part of his mind is busy with his own thoughts, among others, of William Blake, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Church, Bible, his mother's deathbed, etc. When the students disappear to play hockey and after Stephen shows Cyril Sargent how to solve an algebraic sum, he walks to Mr Deasy's office. It is the pay day. Mr Deasy, the headmaster, pays Stephen his salary of £3, s12. Stephen puts it all in a pocket of his trousers (2.224). On Mr Deasy's advice that he buy a savingsbox to store the money, Stephen answers, "Mine would be often empty. (2.232)." Mr Deasy says, "Money is power (2.237)", and extols the virtue of paying for one's way, for not owing anybody anything. This results in Stephen recalling in his mind the money he owes to various people. Mr Deasy continues his arguments, Stephen continues mulling over his thoughts. There is much reference to Irish history here.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Thursday, 7 November 2019, Episode 1 (1.523 - 1.744)

We have reached the end of Telemachus, episode 1, with the word 'Usurper'.

At the end of our last reading we had left Buck Mulligan, Stephen and Haines going down for a swim in the fortyfoot hole, a bathing place in the Dublin bay. Mulligan is his usual self, joking and cheerful. Haines, who seems to be impressed by the lofty statements of Stephen, asks for his opinion of Hamlet, to be informed by Mulligan that he (Stephen) proves by algebra that Hamlet's grandson is Shakespeare's grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father. And he recites the poem,  I'm the queerest young fellow that ever you heard. My mother's a jew, my father's a bird. . . .  Here Joyce has made liberal use of the poem, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_the_Cheerful_(but_slightly_Sarcastic)_Jesus, by his friend Oliver St. John Gogarty.
Steven too is his usual self, morose and serious. On being told my Haines, "You are your own master, ...", he replies, "I am a servant of two masters . . . And a third . . . " referring to the Imperial British state, the holy Roman catholic and apostolic church, and Ireland.
Mulligan jumps into the water. Haines does not want to go swimming so soon after breakfast. Stephen leaves for his school. Before he leaves, Mulligan asks him to give him the key to the tower which Stephen had brought along after he had locked the door. Stephen does so. After all he had expected that Mulligan will want the key, had imagined that he will say, "It is mine. I paid the rent." This is one of the reasons that at the end of the episode, Stephen refers to Mulligan as the usurper.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Thursday, 31 October 2019, Episode 1 (1.177 - 1.522)

We read as far as "Are you coming, you fellows?" (1.522)

Buck Mulligan who has noticed Stephen is brooding (1.235) over something wants to know the reason. He asks, "Why don't you trust me more? What have you up your nose against me?" (1.161) Stephen replies that when he had visited Mulligan the first time after his (Stephen's) mother had passed away, Mulligan had told his mother, who had asked who had come, "O, it's only Dedalus whose mother is beastly dead." (1.198) This saying of Mulligan had deeply hurt Stephen as he had found it deeply offensive to himself. When Mulligan realises this, he gives up trying to cheer Stephen up, starts going down the stairs to prepare breakfast, after he tells Stephen, "Look at the sea. What does it care about offences?" (1.231)
Eventually Stephen follows Mulligan down to the kitchen carrying the bowl of lather that Mulligan had forgotten on the parapet of the tower. He remembers carrying a boat of incense at Clongowes (Stephen was a student there in The Portrait. Joyce too was a student of Clongowes Wood College.)
Breakfast is bread, butter, honey, fry and black tea. Black because the milk woman has not yet come. An old woman does appear soon bringing rich white milk (1.397). She reminds Stephen of the allegoric names given to Ireland: Silk of the kine [the most beautiful cattle] and poor old woman (1.403). Haines, the Englishman, starts to talk to her in Irish which she does not recognise. (I'm ashamed I don't speak the language myself. I'm told it's a grand language by them that knows. 1.433) Haines brings up the subject of paying her. Mulligan after much searching his pockets produces a florin (a two-shilling coin). 
Meanwhile, Mulligan has praised Stephen in front of Haines, who is impressed by Stephen's sayings such as all Ireland is washed by the gulfstream (1.476), and wants to collect them if allowed. Mulligan has found out that it was pay day for Stephen. 
Breakfast is over, and the three young men decide to go for a swim in the sea.

One of the special features on these pages are the songs that Joyce has included. They are, (1) W. B. Yeats's Who goes with Fergus? (1.239), (2) A song from Turko the Terrible (1.260), (3) a coronation day song (1.300), and (4) For old Mary Ann, an anonymous Irish song (1.282).

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Thursday, 24 October 2019, Episode 1 (1.1 - 1.176)

In the first reading session, we started with Telemachus, episode 1, and read as far as
"To ourselves ... new paganism ... omphalos." (1.176)

(Welcome to all those who have joined the new reading group that started on Thursday, 24th November. Information will be posted here each week on where the reading stopped that week and a short summary of what was covered at least occassionally.

The references given are from the version of Ulysses edited by Hans Walter Gabler, published by Vintage Books in 1986.

If the reference given says, for example, 1.20, it means that the content referred to is in episode 1, line 20 of the Gabler edition.)

James Joyce's Ulysses starts with the Stately, plump Buck Mulligan coming up the stair case carrying a bowl of lather, a mirror and a razor. We soon understand that he is a very exuberant person who more often than not jokes about things. He jokes even about the Catholic religion, about the holy mass. He is soon joined by Stephen, who is quite opposite to Mulligan in character. Stephen's dress shows his poverty. Though he is displeased and sleepy (1.13), he comes up and sits down on the edge of the gunrest (1.37).
Mulligan shaves, and pulls out of Stephen's pocket a handkerchief (the bard's noserag, 1.73) to wipe his razor. Perhaps Stephen is displeased because of Haines, a visiting Englishman, staying with Mulligan and who, the previous night in his sleep, was raving and moaning to himself about shooting a black panther (1.61).
The special features we come across on these pages: reference to other writers (Mulligan quotes from Algernon Charles Swinburne, Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde) and  passages of interior monologue, a technique for which this work is famous for.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

New round of Ulysses starting in October

A new round of reading Ulysses with Fritz Senn is starting on

Thursday, 24 October 2019
4.30 - 6.00 p.m.

at the Zurich James Joyce Foundation, Augustinergasse 9, 8001 Zurich (2nd floor)

Please join us, everyone is welcome. You need no preparation, no special skills, just a basic knowledge of English and enough curiosity to want to give the novel a try. If you can, please bring your own copy of the book.

To give us a sense of how many participants to expect, please get in touch if you'd like to join the group, whether permanently or just tentatively.

Email: info@joycefoundation.ch
Phone: 044 211 83 01

Note that the Foundation has a second (independent) Ulysses reading group on Tuesday 5.30 - 7.00 p.m., which is also starting a new round of the book on 19 November 2019.

For more information about the Zurich James Joyce Foundation please visit its website.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Thursday, 25 July 2019 (end of book)

The last reading reached the end of the novel.

Please note: A new round will begin in autumn 2019 (probably in September), when the book will be picked up again from its beginning. We will post an announcement here as early as possible.

If you wish to engage in an alternative group-reading activity while you're waiting for Ulysses to restart, why not graduate temporarily or permanently to one of the Foundation's Finnegans Wake groups, either on Mondays (3 – 4.30 p.m.) or on Thursdays (7 – 8.30 p.m.)?

The groups' “online bookmarks” can be found by clicking on Monday FW blog and on Thursday FW blog.

You can also check the Zurich James Joyce Foundation website for further information.

Looking forward to another reading adventure with all of you.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Thursday, 18 July 2019 (18.1438)

The last reading stopped at:

          “losing it on horses”

                    (Penelope U18.1438)