Well, Andi warned me that if I strayed away from Ulysses by reading other books it would be hard to get back into, and she was right!
Over the Christmas break I read ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart, a book my son read and recommended. It was great little piece of juvenile literature with decently developed characters, an actual plot, a hint of mystery and a nice tidy little ending. Such a joy! I read it in about 4 hours over the course of 3 days.
Cut to two days ago, when I picked up Ulysses again to find myself smack in the middle of what seemed like two hundred pages worth of Bloom’s hallucinations!!!! As if the book wasn’t difficult enough, Joyce needed to throw in a chapter’s worth of this? I don’t even remember them imbibing in anything other than beer in the previous chapter. I thought he was having a dream sequence, so I was proud of myself for at least determining that something strange was going on.
Although it was interesting that it was written like a play (and it was the costume changes that clued me in to the fact that not all of this was reality) I muscled my way through that chapter. I was actually relieved to get to the next section and back into classic Joyce with the run on sentences, infrequent punctuation and overly frequent descriptions of bodily functions!
Case in point – the sentence I am trying to read right now, which is this:
Yet, though such criminal propensities had never been an inmate of his bosom in any shape or form, he certainly did feel, and no denying it (while inwardly remaining what he was), a certain kind of admiration for a man who had actually brandished a knife, cold steel, with the courage of his political convictions though, personally, he would never be a party to any such thing, off the same bat as those love vendettas of the south – have her or swing for her – when the husband frequently, after some word…..
Ok I have to stop here. That goes on for 14 more lines before we reach a period!!!!!! Where is my red felt-tipped pen?? Editing, my friend!
Onward I go… happy reading! – H