Sunday, February 19, 2006
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Joyces' doodle of Leopold Bloom and the first line of the "Odyssey" in Greek
Not only is today Candlemas and Pete SEEN his Shadow day but on this day five years before the first ever observation of Groundhog Day, the Great James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born!
Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods' roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.
- Joyces' portrait by the great Bernice Abbott
It's rare for me w/ a book but I can trace the exact sentence that gave birth to a twelve plus year obsession. I can't really remember a time when I didn't know about "Ulysses" or didn't want to read it some day. I finally got my copy (shamefully liberated from the high school library, THANKS Paul! where it had been moldering untouched since 1976!) around 1990. But it languished on my shelves for many years, I would occaisionaly dig it out and leaf thru it reading passages here and there at random but they always made little sense. until sometimes early in 1994 when i read these sentences:
Mr Bloom read again: The beautiful woman...
Warmth showered gently over him, cowing his flesh. Flesh yielded amid rumpled clothes: whites of eyes swooning up. His nostrils arched themselves for prey. Melting breast ointments (for him! for Raoul!). Armpits' oniony sweat. Fishgluey slime (her heaving embonpoint!). Feel! Press! Chrished! Sulphur dung of lions!
and really the exact sentence that set the hook (for some unknown reason?) was -
"Armpits' oniony sweat."
I knew what that meant. and quickly after reading that I was on my thru my first reading of the book that's pretty much ruined any other work of fiction for me. not that i've really tried all that much but i've found no other book as real or filled w/ as much humanity (good, bad, and/or ugly) as "Ulysses".
. . . And what may be my favorite sentence in all of "Ulysses":
"The heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit."
I know what that means.
Posted by tom nihilist at 5:28 PM