Saturday, June 16, 2018

Bloomsday: My Conversion

Happy Bloomsday!

It's a greeting I thought I'd never say. But here we are: June 16. I'm wearing a fucking boater and heading to my first Bloomsday celebration. All because I read a book.

To be more precise: I read the book.

As someone who refused on principle to finish A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (see here for more background on the sham Professor Perl and his shite, over-determined interpretations), I, too, am surprised for having finished Ulysses. (I feel like we need to call it The Ulysses.)

Ulysses had already been waiting for me for 96 years. I'm glad it waited.

It was difficult and worthwhile. Every tender moment was broken up with some goofball pun. Met him pike hoses made me laugh every time.

I loved the overplayed psycho-sexual parenting/trapping/parenttrapping of Poldy and Molly over Stephen. Poldy, having lost a son (and father), wants a son as well as an Italian tutor for Molly, who, having lost a son (and mother), dreams of mothering the young professor herself, suckling him to her breasts like she had done with Poldy, her husband-cum-child-cum-husbandchild.

I loved the wandering eyes wondering if Poldy is circumcised. I loved the Wandering Jew returning home Ulysses-like (jewgreek is greekjew, after all) to his quasi-Jewish wife. I loved the farts, the fart jokes, the literary space for farting. Oh, and the handjobs and the public wanking and the literally orgasmic fireworks!

I loved Joyce's excessive writing sous rature and finally understanding how Joyce's writing impacted and influenced Derrida's writing and thinking. I loved how every word exceeds its semantic/sea-manic/Semitic/semen-ic order. Yes, I will see you in tea.

I loved the tonality of "The sound of the peal of the hour of the night by the chime of the bells in the church of Saint George." Yes, that's a hepta-prepositional phrase that also bends toward onomatopoeic tintinnabulation.

I loved Joyce's Nietzschean Bejahung, his Ja-sagen, the finality of his (Joyce's), Ulysses'—Molly's, no?—final yes that exceeds both finality and affirmation: "and yes I said yes I will Yes." Finally, I loved how the finality of this yes was said first and foremost to provoke a question whose response was already a predetermined yes. Finally.

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