Tuesday, June 16, 2009


While I work on a couple posts for the Japanese Cinema Blogathon - let us honor the day - though how, how? It has been some years since I have read the book - making it hard to come up with a neat little commemorative quote. NOt that you're going to get too far trying to sum up Joyce in a sentence or two... but still... I know reading it, the first time, it was the newspaper section - "IN THE HEART OF THE HIBERNIAN METROPOLIS" - that gave me the first jolt - the first indication that things were going to change. (Though I knew enough of the book to know they were going to change.) This is what they were talking about, I thought. But I think what used to stymie me (when I tried reading it, in my youth, in early college I suppose it must have been - I remember one summer out of school I determined I was going to read it) - came later. I made it, twice at least, well into the book - only to come a cropper somewhere in the middle - "Send us, bright one, light one, Herhorn, quickening and wombfruit." Somewhere after that. I ground along, but expired on the shores of that section (what do they call it? Oxen of the Sun?) - maybe in its depths, in later days. I tried it more than once, and that is where it ended - until it didn't: somewhere I learned to read it (could I blame Flann O'Brien? not impossible) - and now, it probably is my favorite part...
Our worth acquaintance, Mr Malachi Mulligan, now appeared in the doorway as the students were finishing their apologue accompanied with a friend whom he had just reencountered, a young gentleman, his name Alec Bannon, who had late come to town, it being his intention to buy a colour or a cornetcy in the fencibles and list for the wars. Mr Mulligan was civil enough to express some relish of it all the more as it jumped with a project of his own for the cure of the very evil that had been touched upon. Whareat he handed round to the company a set of pasteboard cards which he had had printed that day at Mr Quinnell's bearing a legend printed in fair italics: Mr Malachi Mulligan, Fertiliser and Incubator, Lambay Island. HIs project, he went on to expound, was to withdraw from the round of idle pleasures such as form the chief business of sir Fopling Popinjay and sir Milksop Quidnunc in town and devote himself to the noblest task for which our bodily organism has been framed. Well, let us hear of it, good friend, said Mr Dixon. I make no doubt it smacks of wenching.

And so on, in increasingly wonderfully purpling prose.

Thank you, Mr. Joyce...

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