Ulysses, Proteus, Leopold Bloom, James Joyce

Ep. 48 – Haroun al-Raschid’s Melons

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Psychopomp

Kelly and Dermot take a look at Stephen Dedalus’ prophetic dream in “Proteus.” Topics discussed include James Joyce’s fascination with dream analysis, Stephen’s connection to the mysterious Akasic record, Dermot’s own experience with slippery time, the location of the “street of harlots” in Dublin, how Leopold Bloom and Haroun al-Raschid are connected, Orientalism, almosting, and prolonged provocative melonsmellonous osculation.

You can hear our episode about translating Finnegans Wake into Japanese here.

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Tatters, Proteus, Stephen Dedalus, Ulysses, James Joyce, Dublin

Ep. 47 – Tatters

freedom_583194_1Kelly and Dermot talk dogs, specifically Tatters, the dog encountered by Stephen on the strand at Sandymount. Topics include Joyce’s belief that the dog is the most protean creature, Tatters’ many forms on the seashore, cocklepickers then and now, seamorse, heraldry, Stephen’s many phobias, reincarnation, sea gods, the ninth wave, pards, the Buddha-nature of a dog, cameos by Nicolas Cage and Peter Falk, Tatters as a muse, Tatters as a Zen master, Stephen’s struggle with duality, Stephen’s creative inspiration, urination,  and why Dermot thinks the medievals are great (not stupid).

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James Joyce, Leopold Bloom, Lotus Eaters, Ulysses

Ulysses & The Odyssey: The Lotus Eaters

“[Focusing in the Homeric parallels] is decorous when the Homeric theme is narcosis, but is apt to occur whatever the Homeric theme, and years of concentration on the large-scale patterns … have fostered an expositor’s Ulysses in which characters sleepwalk through a grand design… and very little happens save the display of eighteen successive tableaux vivants.” – Hugh Kenner

Part of an occasional series on the Homeric parallels in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

The Odyssey: Book 9

Odysseus and his men land on an island inhabited by the Lotus Eaters, a gentle people who only consume the fruit of the lotus plant. Those who eat the lotus fruit forget about returning home, preferring instead to hang out on the lotus island and eat lotus fruit. Odysseus drags his sailors weeping back to the ship and ties them to their oars in order to escape the Lotus Eaters’ island.


 

While James Joyce gave the Lotus Eaters a full episode in Ulysses, Homer only gave them a short mention in Book 9 of The Odyssey, which is mainly about Odysseus’ misadventure with the Cyclops. “Lotus Eaters,” Ulysses’ fifth episode, has a bit of a reputation for being uninteresting, sort of a stop over before we get to some of the flashier episodes, the ones Joycean critics throw around phrases like “tour de force” when describing. Appreciating “Lotus Eaters,” then, is an exercise in appreciating  the mundane. In this episode, our modern Odysseus, Leopold Bloom, kills some time between preparing breakfast for himself, his wife and his cat, and the funeral of his friend Paddy Dignam. He goes to the post office, attends Mass, drops in at the chemist, and has a bath. All fairly normal ordinary activities, suffused in an airy haze. 

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James Joyce, Ulysses, Proteus

Ep. 46 – Paradise of Pretenders

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Lambert Simnel carried on the shoulders of his (barefoot) Irish supporters.

Kelly and Dermot explore Ireland’s historic connections to various pretenders to the English throne, how this connects to Stephen’s unsquashable beef against Buck Mulligan,  Solange Knowles, medieval abstrusiosities of all sorts, the mystery of the princes in the Tower, Dermot’s disdain for the Tudors, whether or not Ireland is still a “paradise of pretenders,” Stephen’s sadness and guilt, his shadow projection, his hydrophobia, his relationship to his sister Dilly, and the drowning motif of Ulysses.

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