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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Ulysses, James Joyce, Proteus, White Thy Fambles, Red Thy Gan

Poetry in Ulysses: White Thy Fambles, Red Thy Gan

[Rogues] have their several Wenches, and several places of meeting, where whatsoever they unlawfully obtain they spend, and whatsoever they spend is to satisfie their unsatisfied lust; wallowing in all manner of debauchery, converting the night into day and the day into night, damning and sinkling being four parts in five their discourse…  – Richard Head, 1673

For all posts on music and poetry in Ulysses, visit this page.


Near the end of “Proteus,” Stephen encounters a couple of cocklepickers “shouldering their bags” and walking along Sandymount Strand. The proceeding description, found on p. 47 in my copy of Ulysses (1990 Vintage International), becomes less and less intelligible as it goes on. At first glance, it’s hardly recognizable as English at all. Consult an annotation or reading guide, and you’ll be told it’s Gypsy speech but not much else. I think we should honor the art of “Proteus” – philology – and pick this one apart word by word.

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

Dogsbody

This certainly wasn’t done by a dog-lover,” said Joyce. “I don’t like them. I am afraid of them. – Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses

James Joyce was a cat person. His brother Stanislaus recalled a family trip to the seaside town of Bray, south of Dublin, when James was attacked and badly bitten on the leg by “an excited Irish terrier.”  The wound was bad enough that he had to be taken to a doctor for care. Though he recovered, the memory lasted a lifetime, and Joyce took a liking to cats instead. Joyce transferred his fear of dogs to his literary avatar Stephen Dedalus. In “Proteus,” our young Artist encounters two dogs along the strand at Sandymount – one dead, ensablé:

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