Eumaeus (7 pm)
PREPARATORY TO ANYTHING ELSE183
[Sitting on the edge of a low king size bed overlooking Hunan Lu. The road surface is blown with dust. Thick power lines cut the street. A tall brick fence opposite protects the grounds of the Radisson Xing Guo Hotel] Evening. Open window. Port city. Late autumn breeze. Recycling man passes on his bicycle cart. They are finally wheeling the horse into the compound. His stretched and burned face, scratched with irregular bristles and moles, is typical of Anhui people. You cannot hide peasant origins. They can’t be blanched or softened. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou earn thy bread until you return to earth. Rags hang off his torso all the way down to dirty white sandals. A cow bell has been taped to the handle bar. He bangs it with an iron tube. An old megaphone strapped to the back of his seat releases a recorded loop: kongtiao diannao dianshi bing gui. Air Conditioners – Computers – Televisions – Fridges. Scooters surge and ebb. Occasional cars. Always horns. Interregnum. Two too-loud female voices pass on the footpath beneath. Irish washerwomen discussing ALP’s letter. I can see their greasy black crowns. Large flakes of dandruff are working free from viscous follicles. They are speaking the local dialect. It has a bitter sibilance compared to Mandarin. Chinese people are always having public disputes. Crowds gather quickly. Sometimes a policeman intervenes; making himself a target for both sides. It is nerve-wracking listening to external dialogue within the hollow horse. Before you can interpret language, you assume it’s a debate about whether to torch the contrivance. Plane trees line the streets shedding their rich summer growth. It is November Six. Harsh pruning commenced yesterday. Piles of branches fill the parking lanes along both sides of Xing Guo Lu. Gardeners feed them into chippers throughout the night. All that remains are smooth stumps. The withdrawal of this natural screen discloses the peeling art deco facades of the old French Concession. You can see past stainless-steel security grids into char-seared, simple kitchens. Bare lounge rooms are lit by harsh fluorescent lights. Xiao Fang is huddled under my duvet on her smooth soft belly. She’s sleeping. And safe. Soon I must leave her. One muscular leg is exposed. It makes me harden somewhat. I put on a sweat shirt from the fake product market. It is branded “DETROT: MOROTCITY.” I walk to the local C Store to buy smokes. Nobody notices my exit. The security guard at my compound is asleep in his booth at the front gate. Old couples are doing tai chi in the corner park. Time files. Some widows congregate in a cluster with long gymnast ribbons. The last time Liu Shao Qi and Wang Gang Mei held hands was on the stage of Beijing Workers Stadium just before they were beaten unconscious by Red Guards. It was done by people like these ones but in another life, bewitched by specters. This is what the Gods do to humans. They are wearing a mix of gym gear and traditional costume. Children play on intricate paths dissecting neat garden beds. Loud muzak is distorted by a cheap ghetto blaster. Some old men are loitering around exercise equipment in silk pajamas smoking Chungwha cigarettes. I recognise the plum aroma. Hunan Lu is always alive. The locals start pacing the street in pre-dawn haze. Some walk backwards swiftly. It’s an acquired talent. They still buy xiao long bao or fried bread for breakfast on Wulumuqi Lu. It is one of the last strips like old Shanghai with snack stalls, a wet market, live butcheries and noodle bars spilling over the footpath under frosted globes hung off sloping bamboo poles. The children are rushing to extra classes before school. Shiny red bandanas loop their necks. Migrant maids drag them quickly. They can’t loiter like Western kids. A new song commences. The love-lost wail of an er hu is drowned by vocal commands. Guanyin is intoned repetitively. She’s big in these parts. Putuoshan is only four hours south by boat. Thirty years ago, they would have been chanting, “The East is Red.” Today, the goddess of compassion is supporting aerobics routines for retired cadres. Everybody in this precinct has some connection to the Shanghai Government. City headquarters is just across Huaihai Xilu. Jiang Zemin owns a lane house on Wukang Lu. It’s got a makeshift ventilation duct that spews hot air over the top of a high electrified fence onto passing pedestrians. This is a metaphor for Troy. There must be one hell of a bomb shelter down there. A retinue of guards stand watch at a bolted gate. This whole area is gridded with tunnels. They’ve converted one cluster in a carpark behind Chunky Party Party KTV into a gay bar. Lovers make milk runs down dark plastered alcoves. Murphy leans on the bar, waxed and gleaming. The number 16 is tattooed above his cleft left nipple. He claims it was mangled by a gunshot, a knife attack, even botched cancer surgery sometimes. Les Hallem strokes the arc of his hind. Cars drift through scooter traffic. Critics have argued that Joyce’s choice of sixteen is a reference to the position of the Eumaeus episode in Ulysses or the date of Ulysses (__ June). Don Gifford has claimed it is slang for homosexuality. He cites obscure allusions in Eumaeus to support his theory. Murphy is a natural liar and lair. He lifts a white singlet to display three tattoos – an anchor, 16 and a man he calls Antonio. The anchor represents sailors, who are historically associated with homosexuality. Antonio was a Greek, the term used by Mulligan to tag Bloom as gay earlier in the novel. Yet, perhaps the most vital point from a textual perspective is that THERE ARE NO FEMALE CHARACTERS IN EUMAEUS. Women like Molly Bloom, Katherine O’Shea and the anonymous streetwalker are all held outside the narrative. They are defined by the opinions of men. Each is subject to sexist attack. Photographs of naked women are passed around the gang. This is evidence of the fact that James Joyce sees a world without women as the equivalent of lost sailors at sea turning to sodomy. Their society becomes false and crude. The public toilet block on Gaoyou Lu is besieged by vacant taxis. Drivers stand in packs while they wait for the next fare. One recognises my face and waves. His peers mock him. He says I am a good fare repeatedly. A girl is studying her profile in the long aquarium glass of a catering supplies showroom. Bogus Italianate muses decorate its staircase columns. The Goddess of War and God of Speed are guarding the showroom of a diversified semi-conductor business. Park music evaporates. Shanghai streets blend old residential zones with modern commercial buildings, states the realty brochure. There is no urban continuity. Historic lanes are separated by neo-classical offices. Faux marble arches are crowned with gold eagles. I am longing to feel Xiao Fang’s back against my gut. Her body is pigmented like weather-beaten brass. Murphy follows a plump crossdresser. His lazy gut is veined by cheap lingerie. Su suffers intense contractions during orgasm. It has an elliptical quality. Murphy catches his fingers in torn tights as he lifts aside a black silk thong. I can’t spill my seed now. I need it to satisfy Doctor Gu tonight, thought Billy.
Don Cane rested in the hire car. He had time to kill. He turned on the cabin light. It cast a buttery beam. Speck in darkness. He extracted a spiral notebook from his shirt pocket and opened it from the rear. It was headed: “Sydney”. He took up a pen to make amendments.
1. Penelope Cane Hallem – 16 First Avenue Campsie 25 Weldon Street, Burwood
2. Helen McFadden Capri – 20 First Avenue Campsie 16 First Avenue Campsie
3. Bob Hensley (RSL mate of a mate of Choc) – 46 Weldon Street, Burwood.
He took a Gregory’s Street Directory from the shallow glove box. There was only one Weldon Street in Greater Sydney. It means ‘hill near a spring’ in Old English. You smash down Parramatta Road. Take a broad left onto the Hume Highway. Pass through Ashfield shopping centre. The first thing to note is Western Suburbs Hospital on your left about two miles past the high street. Count three streets. Turn right at the next. Penelope lives about 100 years downhill. It was a dull, soggy evening like that time in Phu Bia when I drove straight through an ambush. Unsprung. They expected a whole platoon. Sometimes you get inklings. Most of the time it’s just fear. You retrofit intuition. It’s a survival mechanism to help you go back out. The best tactic is routine. Consult Athene. Get into the same filthy camouflage gear. Never wash. Blacken your face. Try to leave no trace of yourself in the jungle. It’s better to become a vegetarian then you don’t stink like meat. Never chew gum. Smell is the first sign for Charlie of foreign presence. Your pace should never slacken or hustle. Like Telemachus, always take a different route back to base. Dodge Poseidon. This is a model for Shanghai Dog in this chapter. There are consequences if you don’t follow normal precautions. Charlie feinted towards Dong Phu at Nhan Hoa. A raw US adviser sucked the whole company down the road. THE TRAP SHUT. Fifty soldiers were slaughtered in two minutes. We never did find that guy’s carcass. Agamemnon went straight to his bath when he got home. Cassandra was wailing from the vestibule. Argos stank like a slaughter-house. She foresaw carcasses rotting in the yard. Village square post-incursion. Charcoaled chooks and kittens. Bamboo ablaze. One marine took his anger out on the body of an older boy. Couldn’t happen at Saigon, they said. Then came Tet. I saw a thousand corpses laid out in the main square of Nam Hoa. Femurs with femurs. Skulls with skulls. A Buddhist shrine lined with plastic body bags. Thick incense smouldering in a forty-four-gallon drum. Judy raised joss-stick stalks high above her serpentine face as she prayed at Lingyin Temple. Clytemnestra wrapped Agamemnon in a cumbrous robe. The hotel manager unlocked our room during the night so assassins could kill us in bed. She threw lumpen fishing net over her husband and swiped him thrice with a double headed axe. His bloodspray was dulcet like rain on a liefer seed, she said. Revenge for bringing Iphigenia into her house. A swift coup. No different to Minh, Tran and Khanh taking down the Ngo Dinh brothers. Conein used Lodge to play Realpolitik. The Ambassador was totally out of his depth against Vietnamese court intrigues, concluded Vann bitterly. Diem and Nhu were both shot point-blank in the back of the head then their corpses were sprayed with bullets and stabbed with knives. Cassandra walked consciously into a trap. Apollo spat in her mouth. She knew the script. Task Force Oregon. Son Thang. 101st Airborne. Tiger Force rapes. Ajax the Lesser pulled her off a statue of Athene. Odysseus was going to have him stoned. An internal investigation cleared all senior officers and NCOs. Agamemnon’s testimony swayed the assembly. A bunch of lies got his hands on Cassandra. No US solider was ever prosecuted. Word of the nigger Robinson against a gang of whites. Bummer’s fifteen hundred gook body count. Shoot some old farmers, pile them together then blow the bodies apart with grenades. Allows you to claim a multiple of three or four on the Kill Ratio. Wet sticky body parts clung to both sides of my fatigues. I put on all my clothes against the cold of death and lay down. Su entered the bedroom. She laid an overnight bag on the ironing board and stared through the pall. I pretended to doze. It was soothing to watch her disrobe without sensing observation. I could see the dark imprint of homemade inks on her body. She had been thoroughly marked by the Kunming gang. I gave way in the bunk. Our backs simmered from touch and I slept. Les lolled in his arm chair in front of the TV. I’ll just insert another Proladome, mused Tom Hallem. It gives me the temporary flavour of well-being. The morphine blooms in my bowels like a Moreton Bay fig. Insert a sequence of stick metaphors relating to heroin addiction. Don’t just follow Joyce down the path of stylistic routine. That is the operative word in this chapter. A car crash victim is choppered into Cabrini. They cut out the pieces of the corpse still wanting to pump. The fateful call comes. Willy drives me to hospital in my smashed-up Honda. No time now for niceties. I am hauled into the compound. Substitute “theatre.” They position me on the slab (sub. “operating table.”). My pale belly blares at the morning sun. Change to “surgery lights.” They reduce my eyes to runny glue (soon, they will seal shut forever). The surgeon slides the scalpel through my flesh. They’ve opened me up. I’m raw and bleeding. They pin back the wet inner veils. It’s time to saw right through my rib cage. The valve retractor is manipulated into place then churned until taut. More tears in my gaping. They install a sternum spreader to keep the low road open. Beckett should have grown sick of this image-sequence by now. But he always wants his characters to re-experience torture on some other remote by-way. It’s his mealy-mouthed version of a SUBLIME. My mind and my body are laid out next to each other like the sons of Clovis. Abraham raises a pearl-handled dagger. The sound of slop unravelling in tin light. Flies harangue me. Beige machines data-flicker. Sun grinding across finger-marked panes. I yawn at its ebbing in the west. In with the good organ, out with the bad. They bound me back together with wire. I went “tock.” They fixed my body, but they couldn’t fix my mind. SHIFT TENSE & TIME CONTINUOUSLY. I examine the worn faces of the hungry crowd around the bonfire (AKA junkies huddled in front of my television set). Go back to bed, someone said. _______ [INSERT DEITY] plucks out my eyeballs and leaves them face-to-face opposite my … my … ‘soul.’ I watch it twitch to a halt in the ever-deepening gloom. And FEEL myself watching ME also. Insert explanatory graphic. The horror of Joyce’s predicament is enhanced by Birmingham’s clinical prose. A summary of his narrative is as follows: Dr. Sidler felt the retinal arteries throbbing against the wall of JJ’s eye; Joyce was always conscious during surgery; he was medicated with atropine and cocaine; Blepharostats prised his eyes apart; the surgeon held the eyeball with fixation forceps; Joyce’s eye had to watch the blade come; Birmingham adds the bayonet as a simile, associating JJ with WW1 soldiers; the cornea resisted momentarily before the blade sliced the surface and slid into the anterior chamber; exudate gushed into and out of the incision; the nurse took the forceps and turned the author’s eye downwards; Sidler used iris forceps to enter the chamber and pull the top edge of the iris out through the incision; Birmingham uses another simile of a tissue being pulled out of a box to elucidate this facet; Sidler took the iris scissors and cut away a triangular piece of the iris and pushed the severed edge back inside with a spatula. Joyce confines his dream sequences to Circe. There’s a paper and pencil somewhere on the floor. But I’m in too much pain and too high now to bother recording this image. For a while I deny my dealer, as Saint Peter did Christ. Likewise, Stephen Dedalus is equivocal about his paternity when Murphy asks if he is related to Simon Dedalus. But I could never reject Willy for long (those baleful globes!). Soon a request for succour comes brimming out of my lips in bloody bile like birth to the romantic soundtrack of a one-day cricket international. God (SMACK) heals the incisions (belatedly) until just my mindset is left trapped inside this bone sarcophagus. Rachel entered the Family Court holding her governess’ palm. She did not recognise me as her father. The man she called DAD was an emaciated figure she wasn’t allowed to touch. I studied her face for signs of flesh-identity. Willy refreshes the canula. I am not like Proust. All my pasts have collapsed under the pressure of reverie. I hardly even notice the aircon, shaking hard, like bits inside a broken light-bulb, as it is cranks-up for another performance (of Tarrilup Bridge), until the sudden easy breeze. February is hot in Melbourne. Not worse than Perth. Just different bad. Something’s gone wrong with the TV eyes in my head. Iggy’s lyric is monosyllabic except for the title image. I call a name. Is anybody out there? I can’t lie alone in this black box forever. Say THE WORD weakly. Insert various death scenes from literature. A plucky British infantryman blinded by mustard gas, all shot up and tangled in Turkish wire calls for his mother, fiancée or the baby he has never seen. He joined a snowball march when his wife was eight months pregnant. P. J. Harvey sings Battleship Hill like it’s some kind of place. Let Nelson finish his apocryphal slot then shove him overboard and insert the next victim into the recording booth. Shakespeare used death-talks all the time to resolve his insipid dramas. Everyone is always raging or apologising as stab wounds or poison grip their guts. This was a formal convention of theatre to the end of the nineteenth century. Shakespeare could have produced plot innovation if any one of the following characters (or multiples thereof) had survived denouement: Hamlet, Claudius, Laertes, Gertrude, Ophelia, Duncan, Banquo, Macduff’s lot, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Othello, Desdemona, Coriolanus, Romeo, Juliet, Cordelia, her sisters, their husbands/lovers, Richard’s miscellaneous victims or most of the cast of Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare also employed ghosts with alacrity just like Seneca. The appearance of Banquo-as-apparition is a failure. It was the dramatic equivalent of a montage. Brutus’ proleptic dream of dead Caesar is a genuine novelty. The utility to plot-ambiguity of Hamlet Senior was his major technical achievement. It created a monster hit. My mother’s funeral took the full forty-five minutes. My father’s service was all over in thirty. Racine condensed all the fluff using a geometric formula. It enabled him to balance his plays perfectly. He didn’t end up with misshapen wordfests dragging their intestines across the stage. Macbeth has got one death scene too many. Duncan’s murder is necessary. But we don’t need the Macduff slaughter. Joyce avoided this type of verbal contrivance. Death is largely absent from High Modernism. It lost piquancy. There was too much bloodshed in real life. Art needed the hyper-accelerated splatter of Tarantino after the Vietnam War to reinstate death as a valid narrative device. He converted it into a fact of life. This had social consequences. Scribbler writes, “I am frightened, said Tom,” on my behalf. It’s a kind gesture, kind-of-guilt-laden, but heartfelt nonetheless. Nobody knows if death is a conscious experience. I have read that a bullet in the head will kill you long before your brain has registered the event, let alone generated pain. Some theorists associate death with the Sublime. Maybe I’ll reach that point of false solace. Pater did in text. I’ll hold up my thumb if I am still able to communicate. Billy swept down the staircase to the public phone in the foyer. Stan peered out of the caretaker’s flat. A government official put down his headphones and went to the water dispenser to refill his tea canister. Cassandra picked up the phone. She says I always end up dead. But I will never abandon my daughter. No one is listening.
ORTHODOX SAMARITAN FASHION
Leer leans against Beta House. He gestures at the door with his thumb. I need a crap, he said. Can you get me inside? “I don’t have a key,” replied Tom Hallem. “I took all my stuff home this morning.”
“Home?” asked Leer pointedly.
The odour of the sty arose from his person. Why did you leave your father’s house? asks Leopold Bloom near the start of Eumaeus. To seek misfortune, Stephen Dedalus jokes back. This is exactly what Hallem will find in Nighttown. Bloom replies tactfully. He is careful to display a cloying respect for Simon Dedalus. It probably annoys Stephen. For he was nothing if not honest about his father. Eventually, Bloom asks, “where does he live at present” (540). This is the crux of his whole line of inquiry. He has already noted Mulligan and Haines trying to give Stephen the slip. He dislikes Mulligan. He is too goddam brutal. Stephen never answers him. He has no interest in confiding in Bloom. He is too busy reconstructing a memorial image of his mother. Also, drinking diluted cocoa in another rented kitchen with his sister, Dilly. Sardonically, he calls it, “his family hearth.” The cat seems to eat best consuming scraps under the table. Mary’s absence is the cause of their domestic debasement. His father has lost all will to maintain appearances. SURFIN’ BIRD COMMENCES. Leer careers down Georgina Street into Chronos’ sick black wings. “I thought you needed the bathroom,” said Tom Hallem volubly. INSERT ALLUSIONS TO PULP FICTION. Tarantino is a master of reworking clichés through careful deployment of ungainly human traits. Tom Hallem turned on a dime, grasping his back. Persian Jones crossed the mouth of Georgina Street. Two henchmen followed (call them Vincent and Jules). We could hang out with them all day. One will die; the other gets religion. This is another redundant trope applied obliquely by the auteur. There are almost no original components in Tarantino; only the arrangement of non-complementary parts into artificial rules and false logic. His movie proceeds without acceleration. Time is chunked and reordered. The sloppy hitmen do average things like eat muffins in a diner. The ethics of foot massage and miracles provide esoteric lines of inquiry. They become like modern-day philosophers. This creates a natural empathy in the viewer. Victims are consequently reduced in status. We acquiesce to life on their terms. We laugh at the execution of human beings. This creates shock value in a controlled filmic experiment. Tarantino is Stanley Milgram for cinema. Society itself calibrates the dial. The Eumaeus episode begins after a street struggle. In Pulp Fiction, there would have been multiple deaths. But Leer had no interest in combat. He was more concerned with conflict avoidance. Tarantino has a similar interest in the limits of diplomacy, which he explores on multiple occasions (Butch/Marsellus, Jules/victims/Ringo et al). Joyce’s Euphuism in Eumaeus continuously impedes the reader’s ability to get a clear picture of what’s going on. The narrator adopts a verbose, often enervated style. He sounds similar to Bloom but it is probably not Bloom himself acting as narrator. Possibly, he represents language-without-art. This episode is sometimes described as the most conventional in Ulysses. Perhaps Joyce used a straightforward style – albeit convoluted – so that the reader could easily grasp the significant events in the plot, as it represents the climax of the novel in structural terms relating to Homer. The same tactic was used in Ithaca with the Q&A structure. Maybe, the narrator is the author impersonating Bloom. That would be consistent with the plot in this episode, which contains numerous imposters. It would also be consistent with Homer’s storyline when Odysseus returns to Ithaca. He proceeds to the swineherd’s hut in disguise to gather intelligence because he fears the same fate as Agamemnon. The Yanks were never good at that stuff. They always paid informants upfront. It meant the source felt obliged to manufacture content like some novelist. Language submerges all the characters and storyline in Eumaeus. Errors and banality abound. Tired characters = tiring style. Ulysses can be seen as a STYLISTIC life-cycle in five parts: Telemachus – youthful verve; Calypso – maturity; Eumaeus –decay; Ithaca – technical writing; Penelope – future (language in dreams). In Eumaeus, Joyce connects the Telemachiad (Stephen in C1) with Calypso (Bloom at the start of C2). He told Stuart Gilbert that Telemachus was “narrative (young)” while Eumaeus was “narrative (old).” He replaces Mulligan’s dominance of Stephen with the mentorship of Bloom. Mulligan represents artful chatter; Bloom careful discourse. He provides sound advice on the perils of drinking, prostitution and association with bad company. This is in stark contrast with Mulligan and Lynch (Judas). All characters struggle for identity and expression in Eumaeus against the overpowering alliance of received language, Dublin’s economic privation and Ireland’s suffocating moral load. It could be said that Joyce sacrifices the art of Ulysses in this episode, subjecting it to the stultifying influence of conventional literary practice to set the baseline for his creative leap in the last episodes. Both Eumaeus and Sirens explore the relation of the individual to society and how language functions to enslave and/or liberate the speaker. Sirens introduces a new style of writing beyond the mandate of Ulysses, pointing the way to Finnegan’s Wake. Eumaeus does the opposite. It reverts to platitudes. F.Wake was the synthesis of a struggle in which language and narrative are subjected to unyielding deconstruction, linguistic distortion, pulp neologisms, feints, lies, truisms, global re-mythologising, and formal innovation (see Attridge). This doesn’t make it a more successful text. It was just the inevitable place to go next. It proceeded beyond the borders of the known world like Odysseus venturing out again to find a landlocked place at the end of the Odyssey. There was never a more land-locked text than F.Wake. Both LB and SD struggle to make meaningful contact through language as they traipse the empty streets late at night. Bloom is drained and nagging. Stephen is drunk and dazed. They can only communicate with covert glances and bodily mannerisms. It is the spontaneous act of singing by Stephen that brings them together. This reflects the anthropological theory that song is the most basic effective form of communication. The power of Stephen’s voice (a metaphor for Joyce’s own skills) arouses Bloom’s admiration as well as opportunism. He contemplates coupling Stephen with Molly. It becomes a sexual metaphor powered by Bloom’s submissive and voyeuristic tendencies. In direct contrast to Stephen, Bloom has just been disclosed as possessing a tin ear when he whistles a tune at the beginning of the episode. This narrative mix explains why Bloom suddenly shows Stephen a revealing picture of Molly.
[Internal monologue] I could pair them up. Pitch them as a duo. Sell lurid postcards. She might even come to the attention of the Prince of Wales. [Reaching into his wallet to extract a photograph] Here, son. Have a gander at my wife. Does she please you? Would you like to come back to my home for a … duet?
STEFAN DE DAHLIAS
[Gazing at Molly’s cleavage] Mother!
Bloom is no better than some Nighttown madam in this exchange.
The other factor driving Bloom’s search for a gimmick is the grind of Dublin life.
All Ireland was held in thrall by English suitors.
THE TALE OF ALCINOUS’ GUEST BY JOHN LYLY
They say a cat always lands on its feet. So does a man wearing cement shoes.
In Eumaeus, Leopold Bloom takes on the role of lecturer to try to correct or redress the bad habits of Stephen Dedalus. Here, everything is reversed. Bloom is full of good advice and practical measures. By contrast, Leer is trying to lead Tom Hallem down a depraved path with wild conduct and unbelievable promises. Tom baulks at such an extreme option. He wants to retain control of his circumstances and future, whereas Stephen Dedalus is throwing everything away in disgust. Stephen offers a destitute acquaintance, Corley, his job and gives him a half-crown. Bloom is dismayed by Stephen’s abandon. He doesn’t have the requisite insight to analyse this type of behaviour. It all operates on a different psychological plane to him. This is a key reason why Stephen could never accept Bloom as a substitute father. Likewise, Tom Hallem must ultimately reject Arthur Leer. The risks are too perilous. Shift. Our protagonists hastened across slimy slick ficus bulbs, paying much attention to alliteration and other sound patterns, rapidly descending, as if skiing over the surface of a freshly-urned sky, conversing hastily, phrases of unequal length appearing successively, thus mimicking the erratic steps which tumbled out of their discrepant forms, heavy with antitheses and antipathies but a syntax nonetheless, shaking both anatomies, which were confluent also in TERROR, albeit mismatched in density, grating-out anecdotes of such poor wit as they possessed, key verbal elements increasingly unbalanced, a discord unballasting their intimacy which they sought to redress by recapitulating times distant and shared as well as mutual acts still more topical and fresh, such as those enjoyed at a summer residence in Upper Mecklenburgh Street in the company of a cast which included, according to the deposition of Master S.B. Mulligan, two gonorrheal ladies, known by the sobriquets ‘Fresh Nelly’ and ‘Rosalie, the coalquay whore,’ with whom they constructed a coupling of style and matter so artificial and affected that it recalled the literary technique Euphuism, which takes its name from the romance, Euphues, derived from the Greek for ‘graceful, witty,’ of John Lyly in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, was reduced to Mannerism and subsequently restored by Walter Pater, the greatest theoretical thinker in English linguistics before Joyce, 300 years later in Marius the Epicurean. Leer withdrew a subaltern guise as they edged from danger. Tall tales of adventure, homecoming, imposture, deception and death became characteristic of his mendicant utterance. In Ulysses, Murphy is presented as a sub for Odysseus. He has just landed in Ireland after decades of travel. In the Odyssey, Odysseus tells an erroneous story of being a Cretan warrior who was taken as a slave to Ithaca, where he escaped in rags. Murphy offers the audience a lacklustre account of his own legendary voyages which, in sequence, elucidate: (1) the barbarous practice of cannibalism; (2) the circumstances and routine of various knife attacks of his observation; and (3) the experience of observing expert marksman, Simon Dedalus, shoot two eggs off two bottles over his shoulder left-handed at a distance of fifty feet at Hengler’s circus, Stockholm, Sweden. There are 3 references to the Grande Cirque in Ulysses. The others are: (1) Calypso – trapeze act allusion; and (2) Ithaca – the creepy experience of a clown entering the audience to proclaim that Bloom was his lost father (‘papa’). Murphy’s image of Other-SD has been interrogated by critics with inconsistent results. The action is clearly a reference to the archery contest on Ithaca. But, of course, the actor is a different Simon Dedalus. The bullets are usually seen as sperm with the eggs as ova. However, the eggs are blown apart. This could be seen as an allusion to homosexuality. Left-handedness has also been linked to queerness (see Canadian scientists, UT, 2000). The eggs could also represent a pair of exploding testicles, effecting castration. The art of Eumaeus is navigation. The organ ascribed by Joyce is nerves. Derek Attridge writes explicitly that the narrative in Eumaeus is always “looking over its shoulder.” There are clear parallels with TMAC, albeit inverted on occasion as per the following examples: (i) Tom Hallem (SD) is the character who holds his nerve as the pair avoid Persian Jones whilst (ii) Leer (LB/ODY) is devoted to further indulgence. The following notes have been transcribed from their conversation relating to Leer’s ontology, according to the Pitman system. At this critical juncture in their expedition, Leer asserted, non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco, as the great Roman poet would have it: (A) he had lived life to the fullest in the various positions granted to him by an ambiguous Creator. He immediately reinforced this statement with incremental repetition to the effect that: (B) he had lived life fully, under vicarious guises, fulfilling the purpose imposed upon him by an omniscient God. This train of thought yielded a corollary in the form of a query regarding the apparent disconnect between (A) and (B) in relation to human volition. For, Leer reasoned, how could he presume to have lived independent of constraints given the severe and controlling hand of such a deity? This deduction was succeeded by a series of deprecating remarks in which the subject queried whether he had: (i) revelled in what could actually be defined with some accuracy as monotony; (ii) fostered self-delusions as to his actual status; (iii) over-rated (see Levi-Strauss) the concomitant value of his experiences. Finally, he posed a precise rhetorical question: “am I floating around in lymph like some hairy foetus, huddled into a ball to conceal my shrivelled genitals?” He turned to Tom Hallem, who had no vital rejoinder, let alone sop, tears welling in his offended eye, and grasped the loose black denim on his companion’s wilting shoulder like Stephen Dedalus steadying himself against Leopold Bloom, symbolically the act of a child as it rises to take its first steps, which is a clear image of paternity in Ulysses, part of his education by Bloom, which extends to instruction on how query not disclaim, and to acknowledge ignorance and vulnerability, traits which do not come naturally to the arrogant youth, all the while dictating as proof of his value to human amelioration a chronological list of relevant functions over the course of his lifetime: (1) employee, slag factory, weekdays; (2) Sharpie (AKA Town Terror), nights and Sabbath; (3) husband, of dutiful bride; (4) father (see sons); (5) entrepreneur; and, in the near future, (6) he concluded by announcing that [JERKING], “they said they’d installed a bomb in my heart and if I told anyone they’d blow me up … and also Mother. Blahblahblah. They’re in complete control. I’ll do anything they say.” He swung violently around a telegraph pole at this moment, revolving round’n’down like a finely calibrated drill bit. His body pitched. Splinters inundated his palms. Leer’s speechifying induces a Beckett-like impression of humanity possessing ZERO freedom of choice or realistic opportunity to alter or modify the random or deistically devised course of events in life, rather resembling that plasticine creature of Promethean abstraction who was fashioned to bend and blow in the breeze of existence like a fresh reed yet not snap, which would have been its fate if it had been subject to more brittle composition, thereby in fact illustrating the benefits of fluidity in the human condition. These were precisely the virtues ascribed to Odysseus, which won the day at Troy. Leer then answered his own question in the affirmative to the effect that periodically he had indeed indulged in self-aggrandisement or at least expended his energy in alchemical production. At this point, a revelation occurred as to the meaning of the Legend of the Brazen Head, its supreme ironical qualities of nomenclature as a public house in Dublin being noted by the author, wherein the devil endows a mouthpiece with the power of prophecy to entice unfortunate friars to spellbound observation, by which means they miss the decisive moment of UTTERANCE, at which point it goes silent thus it spoke then it broke. All versions of this legend end thus. Analogies to Odin’s Mim (see C7) should be noted. The upshot of this deduction was that perhaps Leer had been premature in his assessment of relative levels of sentient autonomy and that he was now able to perceive the glass as proverbially half-empty rather than nominally half-full and thus bobbing mid-range like the axiomatic cork. This is considered a hallmark of Late Western Capitalism in its Post-Theocratic stage. Materialism has supplanted ethics. Some ascribe this collective slough to the associated rise of science. This is a valid theorem. Leer confessed openly that he suspected a tendency in himself to accept this hypothesis in order to shield himself from the consequences of spilling his metaphoric legacy on a symbolical mattress as per infamous Onan. Suddenly, he asked aloud of Hallem, as if of Kant, as if he was some sceptic of the school of Saint Augustine, “so what is good then … what evil,” all the while conceding that he had been bedevilled by this dichotomy … but not really. Finally, he moaned: “this must have been how the apes started. Everything becomes part of some causal sequence. You charge the turd running down your legs with meaning.” Tom Hallem demurred. Their association was more in the nature of non-verbal handstands and shared experience than gushes of empathy, which was an appropriate correspondent to the interaction of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus post-Nighttown when they listed tastes and opinions on opera, poetry and politics, the principal distinguishing feature being that the enthusiasm of the younger man for rapid amelioration had been tempered in the elder by faith in incremental progress. Nonetheless, Bloom was sensitive not to disturb SD’s ardour, and not in a patronising way, being alive to the risk that puncturing an under-developed afflatus at such a sensitive juncture might sow the seeds of what the Germans call “world sorrow,” the French term “Existentialism” and theoretician’s “Nihilism,” or in its practical manifestation “Anarchism.” Such violence both LB/SD abhorred. It was prevalent in the epoch during which Joyce composed his opus, no event being more illustrative than the assassination of Archduke Fuckface by G. Princep, which became the catalyst for the Great War. Rather, the mentor herein acted in the mould of Machiavelli’s archer who, in seeing that the object appeared too far distant, and knowing the inadequate force of his fully stressed device, raised it to a much higher mark allowing gravity and draught to assist the arrow’s passage to its intended mark, which was finally struck with less fervent force yet still with sufficient penetrative power to cause a decisive puncture. Some would conjecture that such a lukewarm and diluted philosophy of gradual betterment as proposed by Leopold Bloom would incite the scorn of historical revolutionary figures in the period before and after the composition of Ulysses. However, analysis of relevant tracts discloses that time’s passage necessarily plays a pivotal role in tying off the thick-flowing vein of custom and inducing public opinion towards conversion in matters of reform, culminating in the eventual deshabille as it were of the worn vestiges of Empire and immolation of those frayed and musty robes which HH-1970 perpetually wears upon his stunted personage. In such an arrangement, one can only expect Euphuism to pursue cumbersome, discursive metaphors; for example, the representation of the body politic as a husband who spills his seed on barren earth through vigorous semaphore rather than inject his life-milk into the designated empirical receptacle, which may or may not have been polluted by his brother, as in the ambiguous instance of Catherine of Aragon, wherein an ostensibly dutiful wife, due to vagaries of papal dispensation, came to represent a mere hand-me-down object bearing the sweat stains and scratches of an elder, nay better, sibling, now sadly departed, passed away and passed on, thus ensuring her own disposal. The cross-currents, knots and ambiguity of correspondences between these historical figures and both Penelope Hallem and Helen Capri were duly interrogated in all earnestness by this author. Tom Hallem, in contrast, focused on his own predicament, as modified by unforeseen events which had unfolded today, whereby his now-disclosed younger sibling, although evincing a mere four months delay in succession, yet still represented a whoreson as per the precepts laid down by the Duke of Gloucester in his proposition on social mores at the high watermark of the Elizabethan age. In addition, Tom was pre-occupied with the meaning of his father’s sudden reappearance in Sydney after a period approximate to Odysseus’ absence from Ithaca. This conundrum had not stopped him discharging the obligations of erection but not coition with Candy, courtesy of a masculine ability to block out spiritual matters during the discharge of corporeal obligations. On the other side of the equation, emotions were running high as his semi-sibling came to terms with a new and wholly different set of familial relations, in which his heretofore ‘father’ had been relegated to the status of a mere guardian of the prize due to the lack of injection of relevant genes and chromosomes via spermatozoon into his mother’s uterus, which redefined him as a direct contestant in the spectacle of the repatriation of Donald John Cane [INSERT BIRTH CERITIFICATE] rather than a supportive yet, ultimately, detached bystander as in the analogy of a full English breakfast where the pig is said to be ‘committed’ while the chicken is merely an ‘interested spectator.’ Alone in his apartment, amongst discarded possessions and packaging materials that bore the proof of a dissembling residence, Master William Capri reviewed psychic bygones for tell-tale signs of deception from his mother and her consort. They now appeared in the roles of scheming Gertrude and usurpatory Claudius respectively rather than say Polybus/Merope, Philemon/Baucis, Simon and Mary Dedalus or John and Mary Joyce. As a scholar, he observed from a scan of literary referents and historical precedents that there were very few stable, continuous family structures across time. Here we should acknowledge Count Tolstoy’s dictum. It was all too much for the neophyte on the eve of his relocation to Great Britain, where he intended to continue his studies, Laertes-like, although it had no impact on physical logistics, which had been calculated well in advance to match the university calendar and seasonal fluctuations in airfares, and which were now merely a matter of due process, but rather bore on the emotive angle. Euphuism is employed in this section with the same intent as Joyce using the catechism style to deny the reader any sentimental triggers. W. Capri did indeed resent the belated revelation by his erstwhile ‘parents’ while conceding, in moments of reflection, that they had limited alternatives to full and frank disclosure given the prevailing circumstances. The principal alternative in his estimation would have been transferring him to the airport post-haste in ignorance of the facts. This scenario was predicated on the assumption that Donald John Cane intended to reveal himself to the assembly ASAP and that he would either undertake the Capri confrontation first or have sufficient time to discharge both disclosures. There was no evidentiary basis for this supposition. Paranoia rather ruled the faculties of the participants in this at present one-sided drama, or shadow play in its colloquial sense. It should also be acknowledged that Don Cane was not aware of his younger son’s prospective travel so it would have no bearing on his strategy. At this point, the subject became re-agitated like a washing machine resuming turbulent function after a pre-set hiatus of deep soakage. He steadied himself against my shoulder as we proceeded towards Wilson Street with its broken prospect of Macdonaldtown Railway Station. Suddenly, car headlights – pale, strong and faintly loitering – flamed from darkness. Cruising they was. A torch shone on the face of a lone pedestrian at the corner of Pine Street. Hallem felt cold air pass over his skin. It was like the precedent breeze of a train before it bursts out of a railway tunnel. Three silhouettes punctuated the dim cabin. I grabbed Leer by the shirt sleeve and pulled him along Burren Street. Our bodies were partially hidden under a low Camphor Laurel. My goal: to get out of their sight-line ASAP. To keep Medea off the Colchians. For they is bad dope. We dashed past a row of worker’s cottages. A bald brick rail buttress shaded our forms. Argent fluorescence announced the station entrance. Sanctuary. We passed the ticket booth turned right and climbed the stairs to the platform lickety-spit. At the summit, Sydney’s flat sandhills spread south towards port cranes. A lone aircraft lowered itself from the sky. Empty trains sped lightly down express tracks. SH/SH, they said. Hallem turned to Leer. “COME ON,” I said. Leer’s mouth moved. SCH/SCH/SCH. An iron drain caused Leer to trip. Hallem held him upright. We spun west towards a parapet. Keep your head down. We descended onto the tracks and hid behind a brick maintenance shed. Hallem grab a length of lead pipe lying next to the crushed stone ballast of the track bed. Kubrick’s monkey. Slightly too long to use as a bludgeon. Need swinging space. But a weapon nevertheless. Rest. Suck. Pause. Hold. Listen. Sound. It ebbed. Crawl over tracks to a rusted fence overlooking the street. Limited angle. No sign of vehicle. A train slowly approached swinging into a late curve next to the signal gantry. Grinding to a halt, it disgorged a few passengers. Let them pass then tailgate. Descend. Odysseus skulked into the palace in rags telling people any old shit that came into his head. Isolating the traitors. In studied silence. The enamel passageway gleamed like pale mica. We reached the threshold. I scanned the road. No sign of trouble. We set off south down Burren Street. INSERT ROUTE-MAP (Newtown > Alexandria). It would only be a few metres until we were safe in paperbark trees and parked cars as the road tightened into a dead end.
INSERT MODERNIST DEVICE
What related imagery did Leer and Hallem envision which was symptomatic of their respective backgrounds?
To Leer and Hallem flowed a subcutaneous image of City Rail diagrams conveniently positioned on the walls of passenger railway stations and carriages. To Hallem, it depicted the suburban rail network (or “Sydney System”) of the Sydney metropolitan area (or “Sydney Region”). Leer, by contrast, focused on the rail system of the State of New South Wales. To Hallem came a sequence of stations along the Main Western Line: Macdonaldtown Nighttown Stanmore Petersham Lewisham Summer Hill Ashfield Croydon Burwood Strathfield then all stations to Bankstown via Regents Park. To Leer, the Main Western Line was the flinch of Countrylink Services stopping at Parramatta Blacktown and Penrith then all stations to Katoomba and Lithgow change at Lithgow for Bathurst Blayney Orange Molong Manildra and Parkes change at Parkes for Condobolin set-down only at Euabalong West Ivanhoe Darnick and Menindee train terminates at Broken Hill. The Silver City Comet was the first diesel-powered, air-conditioned train in the British Empire. It commenced operations in 1937. There was a famous train trip of Broken Hill families to hear Tom Mann expound socialism across the border at Cockburn, South Australia in 1909. Leer alighted three stops before Broken Hill.
Link to Ulysses.
Murphy-the-sailor’s tales in Eumaeus remind Bloom of his own unrealised travel dreams. He has taken a safe option in life. This is part of the reason for Molly’s boredom. By contrast, the reader is already aware that Stephen Dedalus – as a proxy for Joyce – will eschew security for the life of an expatriate in Europe.
Name another literary icon who utilised sequences in rail timetables.
How does Proust fit into Telemachus?
He doesn’t. TMAC sits alongside him. He provides a technical and autobiographical model for the next volume, Vault, which deals with my mother through the lens of Jeanne Proust. The title exploits the opposite effects of this word. For my mother was sealed shut as a person, yet floated freely through space via music. These works will form a triptych, One Million Words Like Proust. The final volume, Binary Nights (1111101011 Nights), tells the story of a postgender family, based on the legendary figure of Sc(he/her)azade. Gertrude Stein is its technical pillar. Man, woman and family – that is the subject matter of +1m Words.
Describe quotidian events.
Hallem reviewed Burren Street warily. A taxi squealed in the Albert Street chicane. Its strong headlights blinded him. Both men turned involuntarily towards an abandoned gasometer scaffold. Set in prairie grass on a ruined concrete base. The tank had been dismantled and removed from site. They continued towards Erskineville Road. The footpath thinned. Hallem fell into line behind Leer, who paused against a wire gate. He tested the padlock. It would not yield. They would have to expose themselves to detection crossing the rail overpass. The Rose of Australia Hotel lay somewhere ahead. In Eumaeus, Bloom takes Stephen a short distance from the brothel at 82 Tyrone Street Lower to a primitive transport workers’ shelter beneath the elevated double track on Nighttown’s treacherous south border, where steam-powered freight trains painstakingly pass all night up and down Montgomery Street making for the port. Ireland had been a comparatively advanced manufacturing country in 1800 when full union with Britain was imposed. By 1904, Dublin was outdone by Belfast with its modern shipyards and factories producing fine Irish linen. It had been stripped of industrial capacity and suffered the largest mass emigration in modern history. The only factories left in Dublin by Joyce’s time were the Guinness brewery and Jacob’s biscuit factory. Cheap raw materials such as timber and marble and, of course, agricultural produce like potatoes and livestock were exported straight to Britain. Up to 2,000 prostitutes worked the streets of Monto. Amiens Street Station nearby disgorged country girls desperate for work. They made their keep street-walking around the military barracks at Aldborough House. If they went mad, they ended up in a crowded cell in Magdalen Asylum. Discharged patients huddled outside its walls with nowhere else to go. Joyce captures this carnivalesque blend of madness, sex, filth and privation at the start of Circe where the thick floral odour of over-perfumed petticoats scraped against unwashed loins and sweat. Today, it’s all been renamed. Montgomery Street is called Foley Street. Tyrone Street, Railway Street. Mabbot Street itself has been ironically renamed James Joyce Street. You can even traverse Joyce’s Walk north-south directly towards the Talbot Street overpass.
What emotions did The Rose of Australia Hotel elicit for the companions?
To Leer: the thrill of a blues harp driving grunge boogie. Straw hat over thinning pate. Heavy beards matted with tobacco stains. Faded blue jeans and Victory steel-capped work boots. Eureka flag crucified across the back of the stage. Irish barmaids serving icy schooners. Change for the cigarette machine please. Controlling the pool table for six or seven games with Big Vic. The glow on a Sunday session as the sun sinks under rain. There’s still time for two more schooners if you’re fast. Eight o’clock closing time. Stagger down Union Street six pack under each arm your girlfriend’s tit squashed under nicotine digits. Movie of the Week. Appetite at 10 pm. Pizza shop’s still open. Fanciful lust about midnight, settle for a grip in the sack then restless dreams, nocturnal piss and Monday’s grubby work slate. To Hallem: dope-dealers in ragged flairs. Struggle for service at the bottle shop when all you want is a pair of warm VB long necks. One elbow resting on a sodden bar towel seeping through your shirt-sleeve. Raise an intemperate arm to attract attention when all they’re interested in is fossils falling out of Harley t-shirts. Their bulbous guts obscure Marlboro belt buckles. Put on the wobbly boot and get totally maggoted. Chance of a thrashing if you’re not dutiful. Beer plus that half-bottle of McWilliam’s port in the pantry will do the job. All these images are symbols, ending with the invocation to return to technical writing under the 2-FWD, 1-BACK influence of booze.
OF THE POSTMODERN
What devices from episodes other than Eumaeus are employed in this chapter?
1. Ironic/comic headings (Aeolus). This started in the previous chapter.
2. Q&A format (Ithaca).
3. Recurrent paternal and birth imagery (Oxen of the Sun).
1. To demonstrate that this is not just a simulation of Ulysses.
2. To disclose Joyce’s own methodology, which made wilful use of the Homeric template.
3. To reassert the postmodern element.
4. To create stylistic continuity between the previous chapter, Circe, and the next chapter, Ithaca.
Outline the plot of this episode in The Odyssey.
In Book 13, Odysseus returns to Ithaca. He considers the risk of suffering Agamemnon’s fate if he goes straight home announcing his identity. He consults with Athena. She gives him news of his beleaguered household and Telemachus’ voyage. This arouses conflicting emotions. Athena disguises him as an old beggar and counsels him to seek out the hut of the swineherd Eumaeus. Eumaeus receives Odysseus with hospitality in Book 14. Book 15 is divided between Telemachus, who avoids an ambush set by the suitors as he returns to Ithaca, and Odysseus, who receives news of the situation on Ithaca. In Book 16, Telemachus arrives at Eumaeus’ hut. Odysseus interrogates his son. Telemachus answers thoughtfully. He sends Eumaeus on a secret mission to Penelope. Father and son are left alone. Athena enters. She transforms Odysseus with her golden wand. Odysseus reveals himself. Father and son are reunited. They start planning to recapture their home.
Consider Eumaeus from the POV of Telemachus.
Telemachus visits Eumaeus as soon as he gets off the boat from Sparta as directed by Athene. Eumaeus is overjoyed to see him return safely. He enters the hut. An old beggar from Crete is present. Telemachus expresses embarrassment at his inability to offer Xenia. The drifter expresses empathy with Telemachus’ plight. He asks pointed questions. Telemachus answers frankly. They discuss the role of brothers. Telemachus notes that Zeus has made his house a place of single sons only. He provides some insight into Penelope’s plight. Eumaeus is asked to go and advise Penelope of his homecoming. Telemachus rejects Eumaeus’ suggestion of a side journey to advise his grandfather, Laertes. That can happen later. Exit Eumaeus. Enter Athene. Behold Odysseus. Telemachus is awed by the transformation. Initially, he demurs. Odysseus persists. A kiss. A tear. His artful tongue sways his son. They embrace. More tears. A story. Odysseus is impatient. He has come to the hut to consult on how to slaughter their enemies. They are two men only. But they have Athene and Zeus behind them. Odysseus instructs Telemachus to hide a cache of weapons around the palace. A herald announces his return to Penelope. The suitors are upset. They discuss next steps. Penelope appears before them and upbraids Antinous. He replies stridently. It is the start of his death monologue. Eumaeus returns to the hut. Athena transforms Odysseus into an old beggar once more. Odysseus, Telemachus and Eumaeus eat a meal then sleep.
NARCISSUS OVER THE POND
Explain above headline.
Joyce looking at Homer seeing himself.
Is Joyce observing Homer or gazing into it himself?
Leave that sentence as a solecism. A: Shakespeare’s bust.
Compare “Ulysses” with its Homeric model.
Ulysses is a metonymy of heroic tropology, which condenses the epic scale to quotidian margins and reduces the action from high to low mimetic. An apparently simple structure conceals deep formal and stylistic licenses with its source. Like the Odyssey, the text of Ulysses occupies a short time span. It is the fruit of substantial gestation. Joyce does not appropriate the Odyssey directly. Rather, he exploits its prestige by using segments to act as a proxy for teleology and narrative resolution. He alters the Homeric order. Ulysses is imbued with complex Classical referents, which sustain its power and inform additional layers of meaning. The Homeric association evokes links with the fantastic elements of Classical literature, enabling Joyce to lighten his narrative and pointing the way towards Magic Realism. This festive tone is consistent with the operations of a drinking spree, which is the basic plot. Ulysses is a text about a world ruled by arbitrary death and conflict, like the Odyssey. It relies on the fullness of Homer’s narrative to provide architectonic power that its confined, quotidian structure could not sustain. In other words, it exploits correspondences with the Odyssey to insinuate meaning. However, the Odyssey as such is only selectively employed. Instead, tangential associations are promoted. Characterisation is fluid even relative to Joyce’s immediate needs. Molly acts as Calypso to Bloom’s Odysseus when she is first introduced only to be re-characterised as Penelope at the end of the novel. This use of updated or shifting characterisation is justified by Stephen Dedalus during his discourse on Hamlet when he talks of how the artist must weave and unweave his image (194) to energise Shelley’s ‘fading coal’ of the imagination. It is a distinctly Shelleyan form of literary relativity. Without the authority of the Odyssey, both Joyce’s structure and characterisations would seem unbalanced – even insubstantial. The novel is a pastiche of a homeward voyage. Each episode in Ulysses ends with everything “up in the air.” It is only the Homeric template which implies fixity. For example, we do not know what happens to Stephen Dedalus after he leaves Bloom’s residence on Eccles Street on the night of the novel – only what happened in real time to his alter ego, James Joyce. Information is introduced without context only to be clarified later in the text. Joyce lays grid across grid so that narrative segments intersect and time stalls. The progress of Earl and Lady Dudley on the vice-regal residence is used to summarise and clarify narrative actions up to this point. It provides a snapshot of characters already introduced – or about to be introduced – into the novel including Simon Dedalus Rev Love Lenehan McCoy Gerty MacDowell John Wyse Nolan Mulligan Haines Dilly Dedalus John Henry Menton Blazes Boylan Master Patrick Dignam (son of the deceased) the blind stripling. Such innovations may seem clumsy to contemporary readers. Ulysses can be likened to the first cart: its discs are a clumsy approximation to circularity, true, but it still represents a revolution in terms of speed and distance of motion.
What of Homer’s 24 divisions?
Not utilised by Joyce. He employed 18 units. This is characteristic of his selective use of the Odyssey.
What is shared in the numerology of both works?
Eumaeus is book/episode 16 of each work. This is the only time that Joyce is numerologically aligned with Homer. Elsewhere, he toys with the Odyssey’s plot and chronology.
How could one update Joyce’s structure?
Scatter his order. Re-impose Homeric order upon. Blend into a new system. Dissolve at will, according to plot needs. Select a symbolic number for each chapter.
How has Joyce’s literary strategy been updated by later trends in literature?
Ulysses represented a type of closure like the end of the Classical epoch after the Odyssey. Joyce himself could not produce a coherent successor. F(W)ake was an exercise in literary extremis. A ty(r/p)e puncture. Postmodern fiction took-up self-conscious appropriation of master narratives. It became valid to extend the text BEYOND the term of the model (e.g. Sargasso Sea). Characterisation could also be altered. Today, many novels rework the life of a character, usually for ideological purposes. Magic fiction was introduced by South American writers and taken up by European novelists complete with plot deficiencies, a lazy approach to symbolism and a keen eye on brand-positioning. Its formal naming ludicrously but cunningly annexed the term ‘realism’ to create an oxymoron at its core, thereby disqualifying criticism from both ends. Its flights of fancy in a demotic setting simulate the worst elements of medieval fantasies. They ‘cop out’ of life. The Big Novel has also made a comeback as if Trollope was immortal.
Examine the word count of Ulysses against relevant samples.
Table 10 contains the word counts of twenty-three famous works of literature in no formal order. A representative sample of Australian literature is included. Series are not included (except The Bible). Some works have been counted in translation. There are word count variations according to edition, despite the availability of modern computing. Nonetheless the data yield enough quantitative evidence to produce a series of conclusions and recommendations.
The table indicates:
– Total count is 6,295,050 words
– Arithmetic mean is 273,698 words
– Ulysses has a total of 265,222 words. It is the work closest to the Mean. This places it seventh on the list by volume. Surprisingly, it is 30% longer than Finnegans Wake (see analysis below).
– The longest work is by Proust followed by Herbert.
– Drama provides the shortest works for the reason of time-limited performance.
According to Wikipedia, the typical word count of a modern novel is 80,000 words. This precludes DIY vanity publishing. Most agents and editors will consider a first novel with a word count under 100,000 words. It is worth contemplating whether other art mediums enable the same level of intervention as book publishing. For example, does an art dealer directly alter the image on a canvas? Sociologists claim that the contemporary reader cannot sustain the necessary concentration for long works. However, the Harry Potter series had a total word count of +1 million words in 7 volumes. By comparison, Shakespeare wrote 835,000 words in 37 plays. Word count does not consider the impact of textual complexity – in particular, style, but also, to a lesser extent, plot, on reading time. Readinglength.com calculates that the average reader will spend 17 hours and 40 minutes reading Ulysses (Shine Classics) at 250 WPM (words per minute). This is the same speed as conventional narratives such as Middlemarch, Pere Goriot and Bleak House. Such works would be consumed at a faster speed than Ulysses. A more extreme example is Finnegans Wake which contains a multi-layered plot, remythologises Western cosmos, fractures characterisation, creates endless neologisms, cites 60 different languages and is supported by a “multifractal structure” only recently discovered by mathematicians using heat mapping. Philip K. Dick wrote: “I’m going to prove that Finnegans Wake is an information pool, based on computer memory systems that didn’t exist until centuries after Joyce’s era. He was plugged into an alien consciousness from which he derived the inspiration for his entire corpus.” INSERT WEB CITATION. Daily production count varies. Hemingway was said to produce 500 words per day. Ballard claimed 1,000 words per day, even with a hangover. This is the equivalent of one A4 page of single-spaced, ten-point text in Calibri font. Joyce said in a letter to Miss Weaver that he spent almost 20,000 hours writing Ulysses (Ellmann, 510). This is 833 days across a seven-year or 2,555-day period. It thus represents ~32% of Joyce’s total time from 1914 to 1920. In “Ulysses by Numbers,” Eric Bulson analyses the compositional practice of Joyce, particularly in response to publication requirements. Bulson concludes that “even after serialisation stopped, Joyce was still writing by the numbers” (26). He always wrote in 6,000-word instalments, as suggested by Pound. This is what Bulson calls “the serial logic of length” (6). His analytical approach produces some interesting insights. The complex Circe episode, for example, was designed to fit into eight instalments of The Little Review. “We can indeed count” words, concludes Bulson, and therefore “the counting must go on” (4).
What is the word count of this work as at this point in C8?
Approximately 240,000 words.
Prospective word count?
To defeat Joyce in terms of volume in a game of “ignore the pattern, just feel the width of the material, sir” variety (as noted in C6).
Insert more valiant goals.
To recalibrate Joyce for the digital era and click(bait) culture. To match Joyce in presenting the city as a complex data set. To write Joyce for Dummies. To differentiate Homer in this task. To help. To submit for public inspection the full corpus of my miscellaneous writings over three decades, using the postmodern novel format. To write something substantial in this genre because I haven’t read anything truly satisfying to date. To rewrite In Memoriam for David McComb. To register my historic sins in code as a means of expiation (see Foucault).
What conscious swerves have been executed?
To avoid competing with Joyce on style. That was one of his strong suits. His innovations in Modernism can never be repeated. We are all “styled-out” in terms of shock value. Vico was wrong. There can never be a Second Beatles. I wanted to write clearly and directly like Samuel Beckett in the fictive passages and densely and academically in the literary critical mode. To deploy Joyce’s own styles in each episode only as necessary for disclosure of the unpresentable became my limit. Otherwise, it felt unnatural to ape Joyce’s signature styles. I didn’t like it. I didn’t know when to stop. Portmanteau words and puns verging on the incomprehensible emanated out of my cosmos like thorns (See pp. 17, 467).
What challenges to Joyce were accepted?
To deploy Lyotard’s definition of the postmodern and engage directly with Joyce on form. This was his other great strong suit. To be more adventurous than Beckett in terms of form. He was left with a very limited palette in the aftermath of Joyce and WWII. I felt that a genuinely new path in literature was possible using this tactic.
What is the main point of academic interest?
Can a writer act as his own best critic, that is, the central conundrum of this volume?
Compare the composition and publication of Ulysses with this work.
Joyce was already a prominent writer when Ulysses first started to appear in non-sequential instalments in The Little Review. There was strident feedback for the author to consider. Each episode was subsequently amended by Joyce before final publication. This process has been exquisitely chronicled by Kevin Birmingham. In contrast, TMAC has been produced in isolation by a nonentity. It has been drafted and refined without any publication of extracts. There is no support network for the writer. It will be a DIY publication under the AnAnnal banner.
Why did you decide to bifurcate the Telemachus figure?
1) To create a different structure to Homer and Joyce.
2) To set down makers of originality.
I wanted to make human exchanges more complex than a simple father/son dyad because I believe that the POV of the son figure is more problematic than Joyce espoused. He was extremely secure in his lineage, which he reflected in Stephen Dedalus. I set out to find a biological quandary/quotient which reflected the mess of human relations. I wanted these young men to be friends but more than friends. I wanted them to be reclassified as brothers but not really be brothers. I wanted their relationship to be tested by forces beyond their control. Tom Hallam had lots of friends. I wasn’t his best friend but he was certainly mine. He was my Arthur Hallam. I was his Horatio. In Eumaeus, we reach the frontline of the father/son dynamic in the dramatic reunion of Odysseus and Telemachus. Joyce eases the reader to the same point by stealth. One is epic, the other cursory. It is all so uncomplicated. Shanghai Dog reflected that this unbound period had never been resolved.
Atmosphere of this episode?
Blithe (i.e. postmodern).
Give an example of this strategy in practice anywhere in your work.
The appropriation of the form and style of Circe as a template for Chapter Seven.
Loose association with the archetype. Use of dramatic form. Arbitrary incursions of dream. Discursion. Accumulation and juxtaposition of fragments. Incongruous elements. Fantasy figures. Unrealistic interaction of disconnected characters. Some dead.
Absence of Lynch. Copulation of father and son inside same female consecutively. This is a symbol of degraded paternity (false father figure or FFF).
Genealogy of this prosaics?
Signposted but not acknowledged appropriation of form, style and content was the currency of Hieratic literature in Victorian England. Just as Pater wilfully subsumed Ruskin without citation so Wilde, in turn, playfully and silently subsumed Pater.
Joyce’s precursors (receding)?
Wilde > Pater > Swinburne > Shelley.
List Joyce’s influences in the Circe episode.
The whore-mistress, Bella, is a Swinburnean giantess stripped of Classical dayglow. Her descent onto Bloom’s face alludes to G.M. Hopkins’ Sonnet 69 (“Lord, You Squat and the Sky Your Cunt-lips Bury Me”). Bloom’s concomitant outlook (or up-look) recalls Baudelaire: “we must get down on our hands and knees like dogs, roll over on our backs and lick the cunt of Mary Magdalene” (1864). This motif was taken up by Georges Bataille for the climax of Story of the Eye. Rossetti is infamous for digging up his wife’s corpse and fucking her skull through the eye socket. Samuel Beckett incorporated the adjective ‘loving’ into ironic images [ie. loving licks of his toad-skinned scrotum (Trilogy 345)]. Note also general influence of Jacobean dramatists, Ibsen and Dada (Swiss subdivision).
Compare attitudes to sex of Bloom and Stephen.
An obsession with sex is firmly part of Bloom’s universe, along with Molly, Boylan and a host of older characters. Stephen Dedalus is generally uninterested in carnal matters. For example, when Bloom sermonises about disease-ridden prostitutes in Eumaeus in a “DO/SAY NOT DO/DO” moment, Stephen immediately lifts the conversation to a cosmological plane. Bloom is completely lost at this level. This is another instance of his inapplicability as a father figure. His hypocrisy regarding prostitution should also be noted in this instance.
Of Bella and the Marquis de Sade?
Circe alludes to Sade, Sacher-Masoch and Victorian pornography’s contempt for Roman Catholic clerical immorality and, of course, women. An example is the anonymous novel, Autobiography of a Flea, which chronicles the observations of a louse secreted in the mons veneris of a voluptuous virgin named Bella. She is surprised by a priest named Ambrose during her first sexual act then subjected to an orgy with local clergy in a parody of absolution. This is structured according to a strict hierarchy in which each successive cleric escalates in rank and phallic dimensions until the sacrilegious denouement: “‘Let us F**k,’ piously ejaculated the Superior … ‘Amen,’ chanted Ambrose.” The novel offers a sequence of immoral activities including: (1) instruction of virgins in ars erotica; (2) schemes to ensnare new recruits through incestuous sexual substitution (echo of Chaucer, Measure for Measure et al.); (3) plot resolution in establishment of conventual brothel. It inflates sexual usufruction to absurdity so that clerical miscreance is its final intelligence and misogyny its latent affirmation.
How could the Circe episode be modified for a contemporary audience?
Joyce’s parody of pornographic flagellation could be updated with explicit sex and violence. Add drugs and guns. INSERT gangsters. Soundtrack by N. Cave. Also, we could explore gender fluidity from the perspective of family power relations. NOTE – this work is already more explicit in rendering sexual practice.
Exemplify the influence of Swinburne on Joyce.
Joyce shared Swinburne’s interest in affronting conventional morality with blasphemous and/or pornographic matter via elevated style in idealised settings. This was also comic antinomianism. For example, Swinburne used romance language and an elaborate formal apparatus to explore necrophilia in “The Leper.” Likewise, Joyce has Bloom conjecture whether the statues of Greek goddesses were granted anuses. Both writers sought to hide the highly-charged sexual content of their works in a mandible style; thereby deflecting contemporary outrage and censorship. Swinburne employed classical characters and medieval language. Joyce employed a range of surrealist devices and Modernist High Style.
SHE WESSHE HER GOODLY BODY BARE
How does Joyce tread yet efface the path of Swinburne?
Joyce heals the disjuncture in Swinburne where attention to poetics (style and form) requires reversion to remote historical matter. Ulysses deploys Modernist High Style in a demotic setting. This means it is a formal and thematic advance on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which was still tied to esoteric conceptions of art, as evidenced by its numerous Latin quotations, dense philosophical and aesthetic discourses and fragments of poetry and songs. Incidentally, these were all strategies utilised by Swinburne in his aborted novels.
Project Swinburne’s influence onto Joyce through literary third parties (1870–1900)?
Swinburne’s early poetry must be considered in the wider context of the nineteenth century ethical debate over the future of religion and the validity of existing moral codes in the wake of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Swinburne propelled himself into this vacuum through the virulence and carnal range of his subject matter. No blasphemy seemed beyond his capacity to poeticise with consummate style using the full range of forms. He perceived the potential intellectual and moral freedom to be attained by expanding into this void and challenging conventional morality and aesthetics. His poetry did not offer a philosophical system. It simply demolished social mores. Swinburne galvanised a generation of readers against the moralising, utilitarian strictures of demotic aesthetics and provided a platform for later writers as diverse as Pater, Moore and Wilde. Each exploited quite specific facets of Swinburne’s poetics and persona: Pater as the austere Heraclitan/Epicurean; Moore, the Francophile dilettante; and Wilde, the arch-appropriating celebrity.
Remove Swinburne’s influence to its origin (1790–1821)?
The influence of Percy Bysshe Shelley on Swinburne has been widely examined. It was also acknowledged by Swinburne through numerous references in his own poetry, critical writings and correspondence. Direct references, allusions, appropriations and correspondences litter his works. An obvious example is the epigraph to “A New Year’s Message,” which comes from Shelley’s “To Emilia Viviani.” In another vein, the late poem, “In the Bay,” is an elaborate allegory in which the evening star acts as a symbol of Shelley and his death. “The Eve of the Revolution” appropriates the emotional power of “Ode to the West Wind” with Swinburne working Shelley’s anthemic political rhetoric into his own refrain, “I set the trumpet to my lips and blow.” (See “light the lamp,” Appendix A) Similarly, “Prelude” and the Epilogue to Songs Before Sunrise are deeply indebted to “Ode to Liberty.” From a biographical point of view, Swinburne was clearly immersed in Shelley in the late 1850s. He presented a paper on Robert Browning’s monograph, “Shelley,” to his reading group, Old Mortality, soon after its publication in 1858. Swinburne was particularly taken by personal correspondences with Shelley such as aristocratic birth, schooling at Eton and the achievement in being “sent down” from Oxford.
How does Joyce influence Samuel Beckett?
Beckett was forced to literary extremes to sidestep the Joycean impasse. One could argue that he paralysed his prosaic before Joyce in the same way as his characters, creating a perfect alignment of form and meta-form. The body of Beckett’s texts are always positioned so close to the end of their apparent tropes that there is hardly any narrative movement available and closure always seems imminent. Joyce is like a cathedral spire at sundown casting an increasingly elongated shadow that pierces the heart of Beckett as supplicant.
What is the link between Ulysses and Under Milkwood?
Under Milkwood is Ulysses as a radio play. Both are set on a single day. Both are comic. Poetical. Humanist. Captain Cat combines James Joyce with Odysseus (a blind old sailor). Thomas adds dreaming thereby extending his scope BEYOND Ulysses towards F(W)ake.
Bucolic location. Brevity. Style.
Where do you acknowledge this correspondence?
At the start of Chapter 2.
FROM PHOETUS TO ORFAN
“But it would be better,” opined Leer, as they crossed the railway overpass, “if we turned backwards … backwards in Time, which is ironic, because it is only by going forwards again, beyond this point at which we are now stationed, that we will reach the close (SEE VICO). But where do you begin such a story? A story of violence, capture and conviction. A story of romance, redemption and the soul. Born I have been, but how, when, where … these things escape me. I do not remember Mother or Mother’s sack, bursting for me as she struggled down the track one morning when it was already thirty seven degrees at dawn and the mini bus swaggered away from her like some indolent tight holed virgin pumping Indian Red dusting powder in her wake, its aroma stunk all around her plump burdened undercarriage. Mother missed the bus to work. And dropped me that day. But I don’t remember. I really don’t remember. Nor have I tried. Was it even she who bore me, as the saying goes? It seems pointless to me to disturb yourself with reminiscences. I am told that it was she. This book tells me. There are certificates. It’s even written in code on the bus advertisements. I saw it through the slits in the back of the paddy wagon that time. There was a picture of a mother and her baby. Baby giggling. Mother towelling. The word “Dickie!” And diesel grime. Ah, Mother! Once at her mammaries, now she’s hardly memories. I can’t recall her at all now even though it was only a few moments ago that she, her baby, and the brand name Dickie! were close to my soul. She has disappeared very quickly, leaving only the CODE. Because it’s my identification with her as Mother that’s important to Dickie! Yes, that’s all they want off you these days, apparently. Just the right of impregnation – with an image – in your dome. I can’t help feeling grateful to them somehow for only wanting me to identify with Dickie! and buy. [EXHAUSTED] It’s a crude game. [GATHERING BREATHE. LOUD] I was conceived off the end of a meathook personally … conceived in Slam mammon on an overcast afternoon … so that I was already struggling against slime from the very beginning. Oh, they spit you out and cut away the umbilical cord, true, but only to replace it with a tourniquet or veil, which they stitch into your stomach, leaving you with blood oozing from your navel. [WISTFUL] How I yearn to regather that first flash of consciousness when I pusht through the sodden underwood, pungent sap leaked all around me and my half-whittled form peeped out of the cunt.
Link Leer’s testimony of birth to Ulysses.
Above txt all SYMBOLIC. Refers to Joyce’s obsession with motherlode. Apocryphal tales of Eumaeus episode. Link back to subject matter of C6 (Oxen). Banal nature of advertising [DICKIE]. Typical of his strategy to make symbolic what was mundane even awkward. Link to Bloom’s profession. Also, Joyce’s infancy before his father’s behaviour and economic fortunes began to bear down on Mary Joyce. The death of George Joyce clubbed her down incontrovertibly.
ARROWS WOOD SMAIR HOSE WHEAT
Leer and Hallem reached the Housing Commission complex alongside Erskineville Park. Leer walked into a stand of sleek, spotted gum trees. His body went slack suddenly. He bent and vomited in a rose bed. I inclined against nobbled bark. The street was deserted. Apartments abandoned. No light. They planned an expedition to western NSW as they rode. This westerly directional pattern is commonly known as the Course of Empire. When the Pope carved up the maritime world between Spain and Portugal in the Treaty of Tordesillas at the end of the 15th century, he designated that the Portuguese held everything to the east and the Spanish all things west. Refer to the list of rail stations contemplated by Leer earlier in this chapter as a template for initial discussions on the route and timetable for their road trip. He favoured a direct route through Dubbo, Nyngan and Wilcannia to Broken Hill. This would be the base for striking north to Mungo and east to Menindee. Hallem expressed supplementary interest in a diversionary circuit from Dubbo to Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Narrabri (Mount Kaputar), Walgett, Brewarrina, Bourke then down the Darling River to BH. TBH he would have been happier going through Tamworth rather than Dubbo. This would have enabled them to take in Gunnedah.
A MECHANICAL, MOVABLE TYPE
Shanghai Dog bought Xiao Fang some treats from C Store. She liked xiangchang impaled on bamboo sticks. They gushed chili oil when the thick casing was punctured. The cashier deposited them in a greaseproof bag. I also bought two hard-boiled eggs dyed in vinegar water and a can of Wang Lao Ji. The vendor at the news stand held up a copy of China Daily. S. Dog waved it away. He passed the Sichuanese restaurant. They made traditional hot dishes. There are five basic food styles in China. Like everything, there’s a code: suan, tian, ku, la, xian. We have already observed the use of ‘suan’ meaning sour with reference to Shanghai brown wine in C7. Shanghai-style food was sweet. TIAN. Also, too oily. TAI DUO YOU. A rusty aperture in a tall cast iron gate opened. Gilles Bourdieu popped onto the pavement and pulled the door shut. Its lock rattled in the stiff frame. The Trojans were stunned. He was wearing broad grey shorts. His slender brown legs planted themselves in hi-tech, fluorescent green walking shoes. A yellow windbreaker was zipped to his throat.
“Off to the gym?” asked Shanghai Dog.
“Yes. I’m climbing Mount Damavand next month. I need to get in some serious training. Will you join me?”
“Can’t. I got Su back at my place.”
“OK buddy,” he said with a grin. “Give her a big mouthful of that sausage for me.”
He pulled at the bottom of the bag so it sagged warm grease.
“Hey, you got to come to Archie’s tonight. I’m seeing a Chinese supplier. I’d like you to meet him. We’ve got a great deal.”
“What is it?”
“We want to import high-quality printing presses from the States. These machines cost three million dollars. They are used for glossy magazines like Vogue. The manufacturer in the States has surplus stock because of all the GFC bankruptcies. We can buy them in their crates for one-third of that price including delivery to the docks at Shanghai. We can on-sell them in China for two million dollars each. That means we make one million bucks per machine. Plus, I will get a technical fee for assembly. Plus, a long-term maintenance contract. My business in Kunshan will supply all the parts. All we need is seed capital.”
“How long is the loan period?”
“Depends on Chinese customs. I think six months MAX.”
“That could cost one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in interest at the moment. People are paying thirty per cent for cash on the grey market. Can you get pre-commitments?”
“Maybe we can juggle the capital requirement. It would be good to get a deposit of say ten percent to cover our holding costs. That’s only one hundred grand. Once we’ve done the first transaction, we can recycle our profits as we scale up.”
“That means we can cut out the seed investor after the first deal.”
“Correct. I can talk to Doctor Gu. But she’ll want security.”
“She can have security over the press.”
“She’ll want dirt.”
“I’ve got the factory. It’s worth fifty million kuai.”
“So, registered capital is fifty?”
“So what’s the actual equity level?”
“That could still work. Who did the valuation?”
“Some local firm.”
“Do you hold title?”
“Standard fifty-year lease. Expires in 2057.”
“I’ll be dead by then. Land size?”
“Twenty Mu. Good position. One day it will be rezoned residential. Then it will be worth megabucks.”
“We can pitch that package. I’ll send you an email with a blank spreadsheet. Just plug the key inputs into the table. Then Jay can build a model.”
“Will I see you tonight?”
“I’ll try. But I’m committed to Doctor Gu.”
“We’ll get to Archie’s around ten.”
They reached the intersection with Hunan Lu, hugged and separated. The paper holding Xiao Fang’s sausages had virtually liquefied. Shanghai Dog hopped to avoid some red purls and settled the remnants of the bag in his palm. A one-third stake in that deal would total one million bucks by say the fourth transaction. Get-out-of-jail money. Print-set censors didn’t examine Blake’s poems. Six Acts of 1819 suppressed liberal thought for a generation. The Australian government banned Ulysses before it was finished. A young lady reading The Little Review managed to interpret the masturbation scene in Nausicaa. That in itself was the work of a disordered mind, quipped Joyce. The Feds hunted the first edition down on the docks. Roth’s piracy escaped pulping. Charlie Soong started in Shanghai selling counterfeit textbooks and noodles. Joyce did small print-runs of Finnegan’s Wake in key countries to generate copyright protection. I must not marry Doctor Gu, thought Shanghai Dog. I need to find a way out of this trap. Get home. I’m going to call the kids. He took out a battered Blackberry. China Mobile hadn’t suspended his account yet. Should be OK until the fourteenth. Landlord has locked us out of the Beijing office. At least I don’t have to pay that bill now. Drip feed the landlady. She wouldn’t get 20,000 kuai per month in the current market anyway. Plus she’s got the bond. I could use that money to pay out the Shanghai team. The telephone rang-out to O’s answering machine. Odysseus post-Phaeacia. O’s recorded accent. “I’m not available at the moment,” she said. “Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you.” It was dinner time in Sydney. Maybe the kids had swimming lessons at North Sydney. I maxed-out my AMEX last month to pay school fees. I’ve got to play hardball with G. Nothing personal. Maybe squeeze another hundred playing both sides. Shanghai Dog reached his compound. He hailed the bao an who buzzed the entrance to his building. Xiao Fang would be lying on bed still dozing. He reached the bedroom. She had pulled the sheet over her lower torso. He put the snacks on the floor, undressed, slipped into bed and held her soft crotch sadly.
AN OBJECTIVE ACCOUNT OF OUR HEROES BY BOZ
A red cabriolet crossed Erskineville Station overpass. The driver looked north towards the city skyline then back at the footbridge. Copious whiskers extended the full length of his Cambrian jawline to the collar of his sky-blue work shirt. His colourless eyes stood in bold relief against unshaven cheeks. This was what the ancients would term “a triumph of artificial workmanship.” He was trawling Swanston Street for fares. It was a deader than usual Tuesday night. He noted Bloom and Stephen locked in intense interchange. He slowed. Their tete-a-tete concerned sirens, enemies of reason, personal history, usurpers. Suddenly, Leer lurched right into the bushes. Moses Boses Bouwsers and Boz. The Inimitable. Goldsmith speaking through his nose during a bout of Common Cold. Our parish. Scenes from daily life. Curious Characters. Made-up tales. This is the range of literature. The taxi flashed its spotlight at them. Joyce used third person observation of Bloom and Stephen in this episode to flash an objective bulb on them. This is what they looked like to the outside world. Hallem waved him away politely. A resident of the Housing Commission estate had taken the normal precaution of muting the television set before she pulled back a single slat on the venetian blinds to discover the source of that noise. One bloke was leaning against a tree beyond her lounge room window dropping a load. His mate was standing some way off. She could smell the sick through the caked dust on the flyscreen. She lowered the wooden window.
HE SOWED THE SEEDS OF HIS OWN CHEMISE
[Returning from scrub] Did I ever tell you about my wife? [Extracting a crumpled photograph] Look at this picture.
[Bloom nudges Stephen] Any man would want a piece of that action. But you wouldn’t want to end up like old Jock Ross.
[Asking the question posed by every reader] Who?
[Grins. Not answering the question] He’s a sad man now. [Pointing into darkness] Let’s cut across the playing fields.
What reflections did Leer’s photograph induce in Hallem?
1. Family history.
2. A portrait of family males by Harold F. Sykes, Broken Hill, 14/12/1913. An unknown relative’s hand had written their names and ages on the back: Harry 33, William 37, John 40, John Tonner Kelly 68. All the boys left town and never went back like Odysseus’ deckhands. One of those men got shot in the buttock in France. His mother joked that he was running away from the enemy. The genealogical records showed that this soldier was wounded multiple times, gassed and suffered repeated bouts of dysentery until his death shortly before the Armistice. He returned to the front each time after rehabilitation. Never let the truth get in the way of a funny story, observed Hallem.
3. His brother.
Of Billy’s paternity?
His birth certificate was kept in a plastic sheaf at the bottom of his mother’s dresser. He had found it searching her drawers for no reason when he was young. There was a cipher on the birth certificate in the column marked FATHER. He was too young to comprehend it.
No matter how much it was subsequently explained, how many excuses were made, how much adult experience he brought to the situation – and how much generosity – even if his brain had been injected with Coleridge’s esemplastic power, Billy would never be able to rationalise this situation.
He was trapped inside this information like young Theseus. Or like the Minotaur.
Why did JJ select the name, Dedalus?
For himself. To take-over the Classical myth and reshape it to his own ends. Because one day he will build the maze (Ulysses). It was a name he selected way back in the time of Stephen Hero (1903–05, published 1944). He dropped the letter ‘E’ when he used it in PAYM. Stephen working his way through the significance of naming was one of the driving forces in that novel. It became an emblem of his struggle for self-awareness. Identity = language. It sets his character apart from the entire population of Dublin. Thom’s Directory never contained such a name. Stephen looks Irish. But he is marked out as a freak from the moment you hear his name. This makes him the other side of the coin to Bloom with his replacement name. SAME COIN AS BLOOM BUT. Stephen is NEVER Icarus. He is destined to become Daedalus. His own father (see Proteus). The first artist. Cunning artificer. A great inventor. Only he can escape from his own labyrinth. That’s called Art. It becomes hard to tell which came first: the freakish name or the freak. Joyce sketches the following core characteristics in Stephen: latent genius, misplaced self-confidence, bluster, miscalculations, craving inclusion but isolated from his peers because of temperament, partial learning from errors, incisive analysis of what motivates other people, appropriation of what he needs, lack of product to justify his sense of self-worth at this point in life but, nonetheless, gathering up the material for greatness and therefore engaged on an unrelenting drive towards fulfilment (link last point back to this work).
Examine nomenclature in Eumaeus.
Names are unstable, except Dedalus. This is ironic given that it is the least Irish name in Ulysses. Joyce uses naming to reflect the personal instability of characters, a fact of life prior to the twentieth century. Children were passed between relatives and amongst the community (see W.J. Chidley, Confessions). Sometimes, they were sold during famines. Occasionally, they were exchanged to be murdered and eaten during the Great Leap Forward. Slaves were given functional titles. Nicknames became surnames. People took on new identities. Chairman Mao considered replacing all names with numbers during the Cultural Revolution. Murphy has many nicknames in Eumaeus. Both M and Skin use pseudonyms. Bloom is misnamed BOOM in the newspaper. His family name is Virag. Parnell changed his name to “De Wet” to escape Ireland. We have already seen how Ho Chi Minh had numerous names over his career. Simon Dedalus shares his name with a famous circus marksman on posters around Dublin. There is the mysterious Antonio the Greek. Also, the Man in the (Brown) Raincoat. People trapeze aliases. Surnames were originally based on family occupations like Shake/spear, Black/smith and Iron/monger. Bloom’s anagrams in youth included Ellpodbomool and Old Ollebo MP. False or equivocal naming in Eumaeus also reflects the fact that the source of Odysseus’ name is ambiguous. It is rendered in diverse forms on ancient vase inscriptions, including Olyseus, Olysseus, Olyteus, Olytteus, Oulixes and Oulixeus. In Latin, he was called Ulixes or, less correctly, Ulysses. Ironically, this last corruption has become his definitive nomenclature and the title of Joye’s book. Beekes believes that the name has a pre-Greek origin from Etruscan (Uthuze) or even Minoan (Oduze) civilisation. This would place it as far back as 1800 BC, almost 1000 years before Homer. It has been suggested by Beddell (1968) that Odysseus was an amalgam of two separate mythical characters, thereby producing his uncanny personality (Capri + Hallem = Narrator). The etymology of the name is unknown. Ancient writers linked it to the following Greek verbs: odussomai, “to hate”; oduromai, “to lament, bewail”; and ollumi, “to perish, to be lost.” His criminal grandfather, Autolycus, is said to have given the baby this name as a testament to his perpetual irritation with people (odoussomai). All these names work for Odysseus. Odysseus was a good hater (just ask the suitors and serving girls). He continuously lamented his troubles to gain sympathy with women. He may also be considered lost at the end of the Odyssey when he is required to leave Ithaca to start an unspecified new journey.
There was a construction site on Ashmore Street. Leer opened a gap in the temporary fence. Hallem followed. SD thought of Ibsen. An open roof. A D9 Caterpillar rested askew on a broad soggy mound of earth. Baird’s Bobcats. Ponderous mass. Leer mounted the wide metal track then slid into the cockpit. Strapping-on wax wings. He frolicked at the controls. Nothing deader than a dead machine. Richie took a posy to her baby’s grave. North Cemetery bubbling under sun. Always eighty-eight degrees. She kneeled in damp Manila Grass. Her infant in the pram was distracted by a bright red wooden horse.
“What are you up to,” said a steady voice from darkness.
Both men turned. A policeman approached.
“I asked you a question.”
“Nothing, sir,” answered Leer.
“I guess you always wanted to be a bulldozer driver when you grew up.”
“Well you grew up to be a fucking dope.”
Leer remained silent. Hallem looked down.
“You’re trespassing,” concluded the Policeman waving his hand at Hallem. “But I can’t be fucked with the paperwork. So, I am going to turn around and go back to my vehicle. And you two clowns are going to exit this site. If you are still here after I drive around the block, I am going to take you back to the shop, knock you about a bit in the cells, get a search warrant, go back to your place and tear it apart. We might find some interesting stuff, I reckon. OK?”
“Yes, sir,” said Leer.
“Have a great night, fellas.”
The policeman went back through the fence. Private Carr was convinced not to kick Stephen in the crotch. Leer scrambled from the bulldozer. Hallem took his arm to steady his decline. Bloom led Stephen from the scene with the aid of Corny Kellaher. A wagon door shut. Ignition. Receding lights.
“How far is your place,” asked Hallem.
“One block,” Leer replied.
“Let’s get there fast.”
IN NATURE’S UNAMBITIOUS UNDERWOOD
Belmont Street had been blocked in the middle to create two cul-de-sacs, separated by an elevated lawn. This is where Leer’s house was located. It is neither the home of Eumaeus or Bloom in this chapter. It shifts negatively against both these places, ultimately providing no refuge for Tom Hallem. Odysseus spends three whole books at Eumaeus’ compound. It became his strategic hub. The Odyssey is split between Ithaca-without-Odysseus and Odysseus-at-home. They receive 12 books each from Homer. This perfect balance was not something that interested Joyce. Ulysses is primarily concerned with the first half of the Odyssey. In fact, perverting conventional publication requirements was one of his objectives. Chapter II covers almost 70% of total text, whereas Chapter III is only 25%. The ratio in this work is similar. The final 3.5 chapters (8–11 + Appendices) are approximately 30% (170/360/530). “Good spot,” Leer said. “No risk of drive-by shootings.” He pushed the front gate. It sagged as it opened, grating against the concrete path. “Do as I do,” he said, stepping over a low trip wire. A floodlight triggered as he hit the front step. These are all metaphors for the reading experience. Leer admired the entrance. “This door looks completely average,” he said. “But it’s extremely difficult to break down because it’s reinforced on the inside.” He jiggled a Chinese bell that hung off the door handle. “Another simple precaution,” he said. One could see the narrative thread with Shanghai Dog in this vein. He turned to the ground floor window. “Never open the curtains. Never clean the glass. Let it get dirty. Then nobody can see inside. But, look, there’s a small crack.” He pointed to some loose woodwork. “Just enough for me to see out.” This image inverts the Lyotard epigraph. It puts Leer into the orthodox narrational camp. His thinking is dominated by the desire to create a sheer façade, behind which he can hide, occasionally peeping out like the Wizard of Oz. He pulled a key chain from his pocket. “Single deadlock. Extra locks just arouse suspicion.” He opened the door marginally and slipped inside. “Wait here,” he said, entering the hall. “Got to disarm the alarm system.” The door closed but did not lock. This is all about the reader. “Come in,” said Leer’s disembodied voice. “It’s OK now.” This whole elaborate apparatus responds to the overt threats against the author’s life by Barthes. Hallem pushed the door ajar. It was dark within. This is the space that literary criticism tries to inhabit. Homer describes the swineherd’s hut with unusual detail. In fact, it is anything but a shack. It possessed a high-walled courtyard. Dead-ground had been cleared to create good vantage. There was a Herisson to divert attackers. He had built the main pen against the internal wall with stones he had quarried himself. Wild pear grew in vines over them. There were twelve sties holding fifty brood sows each. Hogs were kept outside the enclosure. Their numbers had been reduced by 360 in total by the suitors. Eumaeus sent a fattened hog to them each day. This is a clear metaphor for the situation of Odysseus and his tiny band of men, which really comprised only Telemachus and Eumaeus himself. It also tells us the suitors had been in residence for almost a full year. Leer opened a security gate bolted into the brickwork at the end of the hall. “If they get inside, they can only go this far.” He had set up a killing-field between the main gate and the Bailey. “I got the same set-up out back. The centre is my safe room.” Joyce was proud of the booby-traps that he inserted throughout Ulysses. He flicked a light switch in the lounge room then waited for Hallem to pass. Telemachus stood in the doorway in homespun raiment, white strip-light flooding his face. He was self-conscious before his father at what the palace had become. A stale, dry hulk. A portable television on an upturned brown milk crate balanced in the corner. A VHS player was perched on top. A string of black aerial wire passed up the wall to a loose picture hook, where it split like proboscises. Two green fabric armchairs leaked brittle foam. Leer locked the gate behind them.
“See. We’re as safe as two bugs in a rug now,” he said. “Beer?”
Leer unlocked the rear gate and entered the kitchen. Hallem followed mutely. Bloom arranges food and coffee for Stephen at the cabman’s shelter. Later, there is cocoa at his home. Leer’s intentions are anything but sobriety for Tom Hallem. He is turning on a show. He opened the refrigerator and took out two lukewarm cans of VB. A tide of ice washed over the freezer tray like a thick white tongue. Hallem analysed the sparse, mouldering cabinet. His eyes passed over rancid milk cartons, bread, sugar and condiments to six bags of dopeheads stacked on the middle shelf, wrapped tightly in brown masking tape.
“Part of my stash,” Leer said.
He opened the vegetable crisper to reveal a brick of fifty-dollar notes.
“And bank,” he added.
“You’re not making much of an effort to hide them. They’re an easy score.”
“Ah!” exclaimed Leer. “That’s exactly what the average crim would think. He’d take this low-hanging fruit and leave. That’s my strategy. There’s a lot more to this set-up than meets the eye.”
“Why are you showing me?” asked Tom Hallem.
“Because one day it will be all yours,” laughed Leer. “Come on.”
They ascended the staircase. Eumaeus is a generous HOST, giving bread and wine to Odysseus and slaughtering hogs for later meals. Joyce reduces the lavishness to a “socalled roll,” but the sentiment is the same.
“I removed all the carpet so I can hear every footstep. There are two bedrooms upstairs. I got them fitted out like there’s two residents. It’s bad if they think you’re alone. The lights are set on timers. I change the setting every night. They’re always looking for patterns. You know, LOOPS.”
Leer pointed at a mattress on the floor.
“You’re welcome to stay.”
“Thanks. But I just moved my stuff home.”
“Offer’s there,” replied Leer walking into the front bedroom. “I mean you came to see me tonight because you need a place to stay,” said his distant, now disembodied, voice. “So ask.” The narrator (E.Norton) looked flummoxed. He made his trademark scoffing noise. “Cut the foreplay and just ask,” Derdun said boldly. Hallem still did not reply. He kept moving, examining the trail for risks. Three pitchers of beer and you still can’t ask, laughed DERDEN. Drug-addled, drunk, fucked-out and exhausted, Stephen Dedalus did not ask for help from anyone even though his condition was desperate by the time Bloom intervened. This is quite unlike the narrator in Fight Club. He called DR.DUN on a pay phone. He initiated contact with himself. I too am all these characters. Even more than just the Norton/Pitt dichotomy. There is TH, BC, SD, the narrator, DC, LEER, LD, SH and elements of all the female characters. Leer’s room was furnished with a double bed mattress on the floor pressed against a common terrace wall (south facing); a single brown sleeping bag was shitting all over it; there was a small bed lamp bent hard so light was severely muted; a high pile of books imperfectly ordered; a shallow field of clothes, some clean, some worn; and a long rectangular mirror leant at an acute angle off the northern wall. The room avoided both the privation of the derelict squat in Fight Club and the enamel soft-shadows of Trainspotting.
“You like war,” said Hallem picking up the top book.
“Yea. Macarthur was a great man. Manchester could really write. His descriptions of the jungle are incredible. The rest is mainly Vietnam stuff.”
“Did you fight over there.”
“Yes, I did.”
He handed the narrator a propaganda book from the late Sixties. The first image was a line of girls riding water buffalos through a field. The tail of an American fighter plane protruded from the rice crop. Next, a beautiful young man with his mouth torn open. He had thick eyebrows and a wide flat nose with massive nostrils. His shirt was sodden with drying blood. The caption read: “This man, though tortured, refused to speak. He was shot by the ARVN.” Hallem turned the page. Two American soldiers stood over an old woman and a child in a saturated paddy. The girl was naked with her left hand covering her vagina. Hallem replaced the book.
“My father was in Vietnam,” he said.
“Yeh. The cripple.”
“No. That’s my step-dad. I’m talking about my biological father.”
“What did he do,” asked Leer.
“I don’t know. I’ve never met him.”
“Do you know when he was there?”
“Just after I was born, I think.”
“Probably First Corps. There were advisers. I was down south in Phuoc Tuy with the other Nashos.”
“He hooked up with the Yanks. I thought he was dead for a long time. He’s just got back today. They told me this morning. He’s been living in Manila.”
“Why was he hiding?”
“He got my aunt pregnant.”
“So, Billy is your brother?”
“I can dig that.”
“It was wrong.”
“Are you serious?” Leer scoffed and proceeded down the stairs. “Come on. I got something special to show you.”
Leer took Tom Hallem to a broom closet under the staircase. He pulled up a small square of carpet, which had been secured with staples along a thin stake. The floorboards had been cut at the cross beams, bound together, replaced and hinged to make a trap-door. Leer opened the hatch. “Look,” he said. Hallem went to the ledge. It was pitch black down the hole. “Pass me that torch,” Leer said, pointing to the wall. Hallem collected a black Maglite hanging off a nail and passed it to him. Light glowed. Leer descended the ladder. After a few seconds, a bright light ignited. “Come on down,” he whispered. “But make sure you close the hatch.” Hallem shut himself in the cubicle as he descended the ladder. A large cellar replicated the dimensions of the lounge room directly above. Like Guy Carrell in Poe’s great tale, Leer had built an elaborate vault for himself. It was equipped with several safeguards, although not in case of premature burial. Quite the contrary. There was a long work bench along the side wall. Poison elixir bubbled in a lab beaker. NEEDS MORE JOYCE SCIENCE SHELLEY A portable picnic table was pushed against the clay foundations. There was a crypt off the main chamber. Leer disappeared. Hallem followed. Leer held a safety light on a thick orange extension cable.
“Look,” he said proudly.
Hallem peered at a bench of VHS machines. Two deep bookshelves packed with video cassettes stood behind it.
“I can run my whole operation down here. There are two hundred videos on those shelves. It’s not soft stuff either. People pay good dollar for that stuff. Come back to the lab.”
Hallem followed Leer back to the cellar. Leer opened a bar fridge.
“This is my pantry. I got enough supplies to last for days.”
A slab of beer had been cut in half and stuffed into the cavity. Two blocks of brown heroin were jammed in the door. Maybe 500 grams each. Probably 80% pure. Cut it down to street purity and you could multiply the value twenty times.
A RECORD OF INTERVIEW
“I deal drugs. Sell videos. A few hand-guns. Nothing major. Don’t want undue attention. It’s a diversified business model. I’m always looking for new hands if you’re interested, young Tom. You don’t often meet a well-credentialled lad. You’ve got great networks. Ones I haven’t been able to tap. You can make good money. In time, I could cut you into the business as a full partner. Anyway, enough of my bullshit. Just think about it. Get back to me. The offer stands until revoked. Let’s go back upstairs.”
They ascended the ladder. Leer carefully concealed all traces of the cellar, went over to the small portable television and pulled the start knob.
“Now let’s get blasted,” he said.
“Cool,” replied Tom Hallem.
“You don’t mind sharing, I hope?” Leer asked, holding up a syringe. This is a corrupt equivalent to Bloom returning Stephen’s ashplant, which Joyce uses as a symbol for the Cross. This act at the start of Eumaeus creates the impression that Bloom is a restorative Christ figure to Stephen-as-representing-humanity. Stephen himself recognises this correspondence when Bloom relates his earlier confrontation with The Citizen. Ironically, this is the tallest tale in the entire episode and the only one which can be verified by the reader.
“Of course not,” Hallem replied hastily.
Leer watched him keenly. He cultivated an air of indolence, even dimwittedness at times, which concealed sharp analytical faculties of a decidedly not-Samaritan variety. In short, he used EQ as a predator might. He recognised the vanity and pretensions of his youthful companion, coddled by a protective mother and the blandishments of an expensive school. These inputs were very different to his own misfortunes and thus it was difficult, nay impossible at times, not to reach a tipping-point of resentment that induced the desire for revenge against the entire class system through an act of violence against this individual representative thereof. Fortunately, Tom Hallem did not act with the same affectations as his Joycean foil but rather presented himself with deference and reserve like well-appointed Telemachus. There was no assumed air of unwarranted insouciance exhibited in his personality. These younger males shared a personal flaw caused by the following issues: (1) lack of a father; (2) a remote mother; (3) unfortunate family circumstances; (4) perpetual threat of disinheritance (5) temporary or perceived risk of vagrancy (6) attack by external enemies either literally, spiritually and/or aesthetically (7) a general tenor of permanent siege. Tom Hallem eyed his companion warily. Leer’s cheeks were pitted like worn rubber, hiding tight eyes. Don’t flinch, he demanded of himself under their ready gaze. He reviewed Leer’s vita. (A) This guy carried baloopies through Customs for Terry Clark back in the day. (B) He’s a drug-addled vet. (C) He’s got you locked inside his safe house. (D) There are weapons everywhere. He could take you down at any moment like Kathy Bates. Tom Hallem resolved to just focus on the Score. That’ll mellow them both out. Then get Ana’s fix and leave Circe’s cave. Risk the pig-shots. Get HIV. Lot of hype about sharps in the news lately. Another infection every sixteen minutes. Proud Antonio with his tattoos maggoting in a grave. Plato compared homophobia to idea-hate. The Wall has gone dead since AIDS. A fog had descended over Darlinghurst. The nightclubs have just got louder and faster. Sacred Band of Thebes. They’re calling it The Ace in the States. Sharing pixie-sticks is the fastest form of transmission. Faster than anal. In July, the Albion Street Clinic reported 20% of all tests had returned POSITIVE. Leer turned the dial on the television. Prisoner starts in 30 minutes, he said. He pulled a small side table in front of him. It was getting late. They started watching A-Team. Martial drum roll. Leer lifted an old cigar box off the floor and opened it. Neat bundles of smack were strapped together with rubber bands. Ten bags each bale. Probably half a gram total. Maybe thirty parcels in the box. There was also a small mound of powder in a loose bag and a pile of unmarked currency. Leer extracted his gear. It wasn’t a special kit like Willy. He took no pride in his tools. They were just functional objects. He loaded the gun and rolled up the sleeve of his flannelette shirt. He was badly bugged. He tied off. Some problem finding a vein. Mister T. was driving a convertible along a low-grade light industrial strip in outer LA. Hallem turned to starboard. “If he’s flyin’ then we’s dyin’,” chimed Bosco. George Peppard took a vial labelled Novocain from his desert jacket. He slapped B.A. on the shoulder with a laugh. A cotton wool bud sterilised the driver’s skin. Finally, Leer got himself pricked. The blood backtracked into the vial. He let half the solution rush into his body, extracted the tip and turned towards Hallem. I let him hit me up. Hannibal popped the needle into Bosco’s neck. He found a vein easily. I wretched. The rush started. It took less than a minute for the drug to make B.A. stumble. He got one punch at Hannibal before collapse. The television volume dipped. The slam was DOA. One hundred times better than the best rush from popping a handful of eighty milligram tabs. Then the nod. Hallem slumped in an armchair. Leer was already gone. A warm blanket of spit rolled down his face. Broken bust of William Shakespeare staring down. A long scar ran askew across the Bard’s forehead. One thick bar of super glue held in his whole brain. I turned to the television screen. Green and blue bars. MTV. An alabaster-cheeked girl in a loose carmine gown receded up a lush green hillside. England’s pleasant landing. One day Bloom plans to take Molly on tour. She turned showing lips too large too red but shiny not real like blood.
OF THE ROMANTIC VICE & ITS VISIONS
“We need music,” said Leer. He stumbled on his knees to a turntable and pulled open its clear plastic flap. The needle dropped about halfway through White Light. It didn’t make any difference where it started. This song was basically ALL DRONE. “Sounds are impostures like names,” says Stephen Dedalus in Eumaeus as language is used to propagate lies and fabrications, undermining human trade. A lamp cut suddenly. Shadows weakened on the Laminex table so that its pale pink marble pattern assumed a deep, almost reverent hue. The television screen went dead. “Shit,” said Leer bent over like a beggar fiddling with a power board uselessly. Only music hovered now in the can-hardly-see-through. He smoothed out as “The Gift” started. Like Joyce in Eumaeus, Reed makes heavy use of clichés to give his climax genuine (shock) value. Unusually, he distances himself from the narrative voice, substituting Cale as vocalist. This song is all about the moment of a single sound effect. Only Spector had explored the impact of sudden noise in pop music, albeit as BANG, not reverberation, like Odysseus’ arrows, although it was a standard device in classical music (Wagner, Mahler, 1812, Odetta). A green shawl draped over a gilded lampshade made Leer appear dead like dead Cadmus. Everybody is bugged by the time Bloom and Stephen sit down in that makeshift shed. Both Leer and Hallem started speaking, not listening, trying to outdo each other in match-making utterance (see C6). Hallem turned his life in Campsie into a street-smart gang epic. Leer (Max Cady, Bobby Peru) preferred to inflate his intellectual credentials like Leopold Bloom. Hallem came off like some lame West Side Story Jet; Leer as pompous as Ayn Rand, this job or Saville’s Oedipus. But it kept both men conscious, at least periodically, against the otherwise overwhelming coma of drugs. Waldo Jeffers too lay wide awake, tossing and turning under his tight pleated quilt protector. This opening image of confinement will perfectly balance his demise at the end of the song. Insert allusions to graphic film sequences (mainly French, Scorsese, David Lynch). Joyce was an early adopter of cinema. His commercial efforts in Dublin are chronicled by Ellmann (INSERT PAGE NO). Film is an important adjunct to Joyce. He wrote each scene with obsessive detail like a film-maker composing the elements of a set. We must recalibrate Joyce for film then prepare his evolution to the digital era. Everything in Joyce has meaning. There are no sloppy props. Everything must be described. Everything is rendered in a visualizable form like a scene by Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Fellini or Kurosawa. Joyce invented product placement. The reader needs to become a CONTINUITY SUPERVISOR to make an imaginary motion picture of Ulysses. Trainspotting employs filmic archetypes via Sick Boy. But it is really just offering a tenuous connection with the Scottish actor, Sean Connery, in the role of James Bond. This is an isolated trope. It’s only tangible output for the plot is the shooting-in-the-park scene. It doesn’t trigger any sustained meaning in the movie. Powerful imagery is lost in the rush of Trainspotting. It is, indeed, like a trainspotter witnessing a fast steam train from a rail overpass. Important statements like Renton’s monologue on Scotland as a vassal of Britain – and his relocation to London as a nihilistic act of cultural assimilation – are lost. You can go anywhere in the mail these days, thought Waldo Jaffers. Tom Hallem came back from a short trip into the beauteous forms of Leer’s cigarette plumes, as beguiling as Chandler’s gallery of slender women, thin straps rising out of ivory censers like silver sea ribbons CUT Marsha tightened the silk belt on her Japanese robe CUT Leer chewed down hard on a miracle filter CUT Black insects shook in the sulphurous air SHIFT I kicked back CUT Helen of Troy came down (maple curls of a spiral staircase) her languorous gaze sliced my eyeballs (Bunuel + Dali = a cow, a jumpcut) tears streamed down my face (Cocteau) in this blind stupor I was taken by the succubus in dreams (La Jetee) her kisses gashed my mouth (Bunuel again) I gulped at her swirling river (Shelley, Noyades, Cape Fear, Sunset Boulevard, Ophelia, Poseidon) All that is not Helen is nothingness (W. Heights, B. Velvet, Vertigo, Dracula) And the Helen that I see is but an apparition (The Shining) Sheila ran a long nail through grey masking tape (B. Swan) gilding stuck to her fingers (Flaubert, L. Macbeth, W. Asaji) Waldo managed to secure himself inside the crate with a wire mechanism (Odysseus, Houdini) the post office had agreed to pick him up at three (oh honey don’t be late) he’d marked the package FRAGILE (Tom Hallem, Stephen Dedalus) insert another cataleptic fit (Poe, Dickens, Dumas, even Zola) he curled up on foam cushioning (Reed’s great fetal image) both girls tried fruitlessly to lift the flap (Pandora) Sheila’s father kept a collection of tools in the basement (Hephaestus) Eucleia came back upstairs with a large sheet metal cutter (Von Triers) Sheila (Eupheme) sank to her knees like some satanic priest at a virgin sacrifice in a low budget British horror film (Hammer) grasped the cutter by both handles (Faure’s “Requiem” started), took a deep breath, raised it above her head and plunged the long blade right through the middle of the package, through the masking tape, through the cardboard, through the cushioning and (THUD) right through the center of Waldo Jeffers head. Which split slightly. Little arcs of brown blood pulsed gently in the morning sun. Reed ends at this point. Willy the Pimp rolled me on my stomach on the cool damp carpet (Death of Ana) and stuck a girder through the base of my spine (syringe symbol) until it speared out my mouth (AKA Birth of Language). He wrenched me in half after that (see Plato). The gravedigger stopped whistling and beckoned Carrell. I am screwed into the earth like some fast-fallen rocket (SALO). Albeit askew (Tatlin). Yet fixed in place like an inanimate object nonetheless (A. Symons). Life is like a screw turned deeper and deeper into hardwood. You apply more and more pressure until the thread frays and it becomes unworkable. Until you can no longer move. Try to extract yourself. A pun. Chopper blades. Ftt-ftt-ftt-ftt-ftt-ftt-father. Hot extraction. Pleiku 68. This series of images all relate to Tom’s fear of Leer’s dungeon (see In Black Box). Marsha and Sheila were able to extract Waldo’s carcass before the cardboard yielded to soft pulp. Like “The Gift,” Poe’s “Buried Alive” is an extended metaphor for the impact of DRUG ADDICTION. Trainspotting is laudable for its depiction of the scientific approach taken by professional addicts to meeting narcotic needs. Willy the Pimp and Slope evince the same pride-in-occupation of Renton as they describe experimental methodology (Daedalus) and scope of exploration (Odysseus). Carrell’s wife delivered an ultimatum. Get off the Junk or else. He destroyed the vault (lab). He changed inputs (methadone). Slowly, he became more amenable under the care of a registered psychoanalyst. Eventually, Doctor Moreau suggested that I open my father’s coffin as a final form of closure. What oxymoronic irony in that choice of words! Poe does not describe the subsequent sight which caused a decisive seizure in Guy Carrell. Let it only be known that he is declared dead. He lies in state for a number of days. He is buried. He opens his eyes. A scream but by no air taken ensues. Paradoxically, it is only the intervention of graverobbers that saves him. We can manipulate this scene into an arch metaphor for this work. At the end, Carrell returns home to seek revenge like Odysseus … but this time against his own family. What is Ulysses in the end but an outsider text? Joyce aimed to settle all his scores in Dublin. It was his personal attack on the local literati (suitors) of his youth. I too have come back to Sydney. Neither of us produced much work of consequence as young men in these locations on the days on which these novels are set. A few lyrics. Some scraps of critical prose. Infrequent fictive sketches. Short book reviews. [END] “Lady Godiva” started. Leer pushed the needle to the centre of the turntable. A growl of agony sounded then silence. The arm lifted like a crane, returned to its starting perch, dropped onto its roost and CLICKED OFF. I reached for a glass of water with the same stiff mechanism. Trainspotting is too slick, too cynical, too irresponsible in the final analysis. Under the rules of tragedy, Renton should die for bringing on the infection of Tommy. Without his death, the dramatic cosmos is left a poorer place at closure. Boyle is an innovative film-maker, producing some of the most powerful sequences of magic realism ever projected onto the silver screen (worst toilet in Scotland, liquid draw, cold turkey delusions). But Trainspotting is ultimately an MTV clip promoting drug use via subliminal marketing techniques. It’s like Tyler Durdun splicing single frames of pornography into family films. Nobody knows they saw it but they did. I admire its brilliance with a sense of shame. Trainspotting is like a Monkees movie. It showcases the whacky lifestyle and humorous opinions of bandmates sealed together in an Edinburgh funhouse. Warhol never treated drug abuse so blithely. T-SPOT does with film what VU did with music thirty years earlier. It is too sheer, too ebullient. It never SLOWS DOWN. In fact, it is a SPEED movie, not a SMACK movie. It should have been set in the 1960s with Mods. Everything is hyper-accelerated. Baudrillard would have sanctioned this velocity. It should have made history disappear, according to his theorem. However, Trainspotting is chained to the self-loathing of Colonialism. This is its strongest plot arc. But everything is camouflaged and neutralised by haste. Like Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting as a narrative contains almost no technical novelty. Welch, however, is a premium stylist. The plot deploys only received, familiar tropes. It is really just a hackneyed coming-of-age tale. The monologues that bookend the movie represent the most specious writing in the whole novel, veiled by the heart-pumping brilliance of Iggy Pop’s song, “Lust for Life.” It is just a list of clichés, flipped with hate at both ends. This should give the movie a sense of stasis like F(W)ake. But everybody is shagged by this stage. The storyline relies on a sequence of sentimental tropes to give the proponents (Welch, Boyle) ethical cover. The dead baby, bathetic infection of Tommy and Renton’s miscellaneous betrayals enable Welch to leave a gingerbread trail of moral markers as a sop to social norms. They are more Renton than Renton in that case. Joyce would NEVER have written with such reductive feeling. His enterprise to disclose the tender mote in the human condition has never been more important than it is for the VIEWER NOW. Likewise, Tarantino deployed the miracle of Jules’ survival and Butch Coolidge’s decision to spare his nemesis in the pawn shop to give his work fake ethics. Perversion of standard tropes at speed in these movies suspends moral capability in the viewer. Time is cancelled. There are no gaps for reflection. This is in keeping with conventional sales techniques. Fast music gives false charm to degrading scenes, inducing a disconnect between image and tone. Even bad songs are perfectly-p(l)aced. PF is a sequence of three-minute music videos. Anybody who has ever been young and hated the system will immediately grasp the fact that these movies are product placement campaigns for heroin. It is easy in reflection for the analyst to accumulate a list of scenes which showcase the perils of drug abuse. Yet we NEVER FEEL this critique in the moment of audience. We are distracted by FASHION. The design element of Trainspotting is exemplified by the hovels inhabited by its junkies. These sets are realistically constructed. They look like filthy squats bereft of basic furniture with punctured walls and collapsed ceilings. But they never seem uncomfortable to the viewer. They feel like boutique hotel suites specifically designed for addicts. Everybody in Trainspotting is beautiful like Burt Bacharach’s song. Ewan McGregor glows in the lead role. Johnny Lee Miller turns on the charm as an erudite Billy Idol. Begbie’s bouffant is sharper than his blade. His comical moustache acts as a clever trap to lure the viewer into complacency. He is CARTOON BAD. We are always meant to take the side of evil and violence in Trainspotting. Everything else is uncool. All Begbie’s scenes are banal stereotypes. He is never called to account for violence. At the end, we farewell him trashing a hotel room like some Hibernian Keith Moon. The American tourist attack is the most unfortunate scene in the movie. Violence is always played for laughs. The arrest of Renton and Spud exploits car chase dynamics to make crime appear like comic slapstick. Yes, this is an inversion of good–bad. Yes, Renton’s leering face over the bonnet of a car is one of the most amusing scenes in modern cinema. But there is no fullness to the craft. It is a thirty-second TV commercial. We never see the consequences of action. We are not exposed to the experience of incarceration. Similarly, we never see Tommy’s decline with AIDS, only his farewell scene at the funeral, which ends with overt smiles of forgiveness and resolution with Renton. Everybody in straight society remains obliging. Hospital staff act professionally. Judges apply the system fairly. A taxi driver takes Renton to Emergency after his OD. This taxi would NEVER have stopped in REAL LIFE. The respectable people that Joyce turned into his heroes in Ulysses are mocked as dolts and gulls (see Renton’s parents, Gail’s family, Spud’s mum). The benign dealer, known as Mother Superior, neutralises the Manichean evil inherent in the narcotics supply chain. This character is perhaps the most misleading element in a plot loaded with lies. In REAL LIFE, he would have dumped Renton in an alley. Just like W-the-P when he escapes over the back fence after Tom’s OD later in this work. Fight Club shares this moral equivalising. It says, please excuse me for exploding some bombs. Like PF, it is OK to be a thug if you’re cool. Fight Club loops like Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction. Start and end merge to de-time form like F(W)ake. These are all basically BUDDY MOVIES (between Jules and Vince, The Narrator and Tyler, Renton and Sick Boy). FC contains the same elements of cliché and the same hackneyed tropes as its stable mates (they are all sprinters not stayers). It is filed down flat with the same flaws. Yet, it remains perhaps the best movie of the twenty-first century (as at 2016). Fight Club is a sophisticated heist movie like Ocean’s Eleven. It starts with a ticking time-bomb like a conventional thriller. The plot constantly outguesses its leading character. It is self-aware of its function as film (see the projector scene). Fight Club is a homemade invention. Its list of useful contraptions includes, but is not limited to: Project Mayhem, IKEA, illness support groups, Robert Paulsen, single-serve friends, car-recall economics, various conspiracy theories (oxygen, napalm, soap, vibrating suitcases), my dad setting up paternity franchises, famous people I would like to fight (Hemingway, Shatner, Lincoln, Gandhi). Tyler and I just gave it a name, started a fight and lost. Palahniuk is endlessly inventive with stock themes. He has a radical game plan to execute, unlike Welsh or Tarantino. His purpose is no less than the radical destruction of capitalist consumerism. He is no less ambitious in this regard than Joyce, who wanted to heal Ireland with words. Fight Club leads by example. It contains all the chilling elements of white male supremacism. It shows us how anarchist cults can form and spread until they reach a point of ignition and achieve critical mass. Pitt/Norton calls it evolution. It is a template. It would be labelled an Instruction Manual under their terminology. It can be put together with just an Allen Key (product included in box). Fight Club moves fast to convert clichés into new stuff yet at the same time it remythologises the human project by hitting reverse. It is a car crash in both directions. Palahniuk goes back to a glorious past where medieval knights clashed in hand-to-hand combat then he goes back even further to reinstate full classical topology. The oldest myths and tropes are reborn, coming to life in the present time like Pater’s reanimated Dionysius in “Denys L’Auxerrois” (this was another model derived from Poe). Fight Club relentlessly intensifies extant tropes. It piles influence upon correspondence until no part of the film is non-referred. The multi-faceted car crash trope fuses James Dean (“chicken”) with J.G. Ballard then adds new meaning through the Narrator’s job. Finally, he perceives its underlying causation. This is the lightbulb moment that dictates the end of the film. Icarus has dodged death. The only question is what will our hero MAKE of redemption. He works out that he must destroy Daedalus-as-self. It should be an act of expiation but, in fact, it is just another act of self-mutilation. This revelation is much more satisfying than Jules’ miracle in PF or Renton’s moment of clarity (which really occurs because of the dictates of conventional movie length rather than plot. In other words, Trainspotting could have gone on indefinitely or ended a bit earlier). The Narrator starts to fight against everything he created in an appropriated Frankenstein trope. Self-inflicted violence is his greatest invention. It is the equivalent of junkiedom. The gun’s in my hand, he says. Of course, it is also a syringe. Also, a detonator. A penis as well. In death, there is a name: it is Robert Paulsen. In non-death, the Narrator loses a name: Tyler Droy. Fight Club manages dual identity (schizophrenia, multiple identity) without either confirming or denying its presence until closure. It manages to forestall the audience reaching this conclusion due to relentless novelty. But it repeats the errors of Trainspotting in closing-out its plot, albeit due to different design flaws in the fuselage. Trainspotting reinforces its innate cynicism when Renton decides to partake in our nihilism like Winston Smith. Similarly, Fight Club reverts to a beautiful image of sunset and resurrected love via a series of explosions. This may as well have been the opening fireworks of “Love American Style.” The weakest element of Fight Club is female characterisation. It is another misogyny flick like both TS and PF. Marla Singer is a remnant of the kind of stale narrative that Palahniuk would otherwise depose. She is an avant-garde cliché: hot, Gothic, cynical, neurotic, sharp, suicidal, street smart, combative. This is all one big YAWN because, ultimately, she is just another pawn. Her path in the film follows standard filmic patterns for women. This is the worst insult we can give Palahniuk. She starts out as a hate object (but it is clearly a love thing). The Narrator can never abuse her enough. She becomes a proxy for his need to express misogyny. She is Ophelia to the author’s Hamlet. She cannot release herself from the Narrator because of his intellect, humour and sexual prowess. She keeps coming back for more. Palahniuk injects some derivatives of gender norms, such as gross eating habits. He deploys a stock “suicide-call” motif to kickstart her re-insertion into the narrative. Eventually, our hero acknowledges his feelings. For he is always the ACTIVE AGENT. It is a plotline as old as medieval romance. Classical heroines didn’t act like that. They had guts like Cassandra. Or kept tactical control like Penelope. Or separated their emotions from sex like Helen at Troy. Marla is none of these things. She becomes a ragdoll female lead in a conventional Hollywood drama. The hero gives her an apparent mode of escape like Keanu Reeves in SPEED. Of course, it fails. She ends up tied in ropes and brought back to the scene of the crime by evil henchmen. Palahniuk is writing Austin Powers 2 by this point. His script is dictated by focus groups and executives. Each of these moviemakers fail to create a single effective female protagonist. For this reason, their works must remain forever marginalised as great art. They are all linked to redundant patriarchy. Women never have power in their films. Even Uma Thurman is ultimately just a passive junkie rescued by John Travolta (as Sir Lancelot with an adrenaline shot). Joyce by contrast created Molly Bloom. He rejected violence. And mob mentality. I want to be like him. That’s the message of this analysis. Also, to be wilfully discursive like Proust. To insert apparently irrelevant matter into the plot. To be repetitive. And to loop back to reprise apparently completed arguments. Defying conventional narrative. Yet suggesting some kind of deeper symbolic meaning. Marla Singer is a facile romantic interest whose sole technical purpose is to provide Palahniuk’s Narrator with a path to salvation. Palahniuk is far too sentimental about this … ‘Narrator.’ He is a spoiled son. He doesn’t even need to kill himself at the end like a normal tragic hero. He just wanders off. Some might see this device as KENOSIS against outdated modes but Palahniuk is really just giving the viewer A HAPPY ENDING. This AVOIDANCE necessitates a torturous plot manoeuvre. He has just blown up eleven skyscrapers … but no one gets killed so it’s all OK. He ducks liability. This reduces Palahniuk to snatches of ironic monologue to end the movie. Polemics are also the worst elements of Fight Club. We already know how modern male characters feel. It is received baggage. We know they didn’t have enough wars to fight in recent times. We know they feel like God’s unwanted children. We know they are drowning in useless products. We know they feel emasculated. It’s a stock line of right-wing apologists. It justifies terrorism against the State. We never really get to explore the dehumanisation of Tyler’s robot army (the space monkeys). We accept cruelty against individuals. It excuses their ultimate form. We laugh at acts of vandalism and intimidation. Like Tarantino and Boyle, gang action becomes normalised. They are like automatons forged by Hephaestus. Tyler’s Brown Shirts are the latest trend in fascism. It will all end in hate. There are no consequences in FC. There is no balancing element. Fight Club is yet another symbolic rejection of the COMMONWEAL. It is part of the erosion of the social compact in western society. It epitomises everything that James Joyce loathed.
IF THIS IS HEAVEN, I’M BAILING OUT!
“What about Ana’s treat?” asked Tom Hallem.
“Got the dosh?” replied Leer.
“I was hoping for some credit. I’ll pay you back in a couple of days.”
“Unusual for a guy like you to be broke. You’ve always got plenty of money.”
“I’m waiting on an advance from my agent.”
“She pays me as I paint.”
“What … cash in hand before delivery?”
“Is there good coin in your caper?” asked Leer gently.
“For the top blokes.”
“Give me some names.”
“READ is highly collectible.”
“What would his work fetch?”
“Fifty for a major piece.”
“And you exhibit with blokes like that?”
“Where is the showroom?”
“Should have guessed. What’s its name?”
“E.A Times,” answered Tom.
“The initials are the name of the owner. Also, a pun on the French term, Epreuves d’Artiste, which means artist’s proof. Times is also a pun. On epochs and multiplication.”
“What wankery. Where is it exactly?”
“Interesting,” said Leer. “I might pop over some time.”
Suddenly, he sat up. Hallem let his head loll wearily (follow use of “loll” in this chapter).
“Let me show you my new toy,” he said.
Leer got up quickly and climbed the staircase. Hallem took the chance to steal some cash. Ignore the smack. Too blatant. He’d just had a blast anyway. He could give Willy’s treat to Ana. He grabbed a few bank notes and stuffed them in his coat pocket. Leer’s footsteps clacked. Victim in reverse of his own system. He returned brandishing a cut-off crossbow.
“Isn’t she a beaut? A conventional bow would be too big for this space. But I can cock this baby in 2 seconds. It shoots 370 feet per second. This room is 18 feet on the diagonal. That means I can hit a target in point o-two of a second. Imagine the force! It would pass straight through your face. Here.”
He thrust it at Hallem. Who held out hands. Leer placed it in his hold like a baby. Hallem observed it disconnectedly.
“I don’t think you’re getting into the spirit of the hunt,” said Leer. “Maybe you’ll get more excited if I put on a show.”
Leer took back the bow from his companion and positioned himself on the staircase. Hallem pivoted his chair to observe the demonstration. He was bound like Prometheus or James Bond.
“Imagine this scenario. Persian sends some bikers to break into my place. They split up and take the front door and back door simultaneously. I am upstairs in bed. They lose a couple of blokes to my booby traps straight off. I don’t want to use a firearm because it will alert them to my position. Instead, I wait silently here on the stairs. They disclose their positions with torch beams. I raise my crossbow. WHAM (Leer shoots an arrow through the security door bars. It THWACKERAYS into the kitchen wall). Dead. His mate is too stunned to move. I reload. (Leer cocked a new arrow). Second shot. THWACKWAY. Two down. I slip into the lounge room. Biker with a mash hammer. Biker with a bar. THWACK. THWAM. (Arrows lodge in the wall). A torch beam strangles the dark room. Persian catches sight of the crossbow with my cold eyes over the sights. THWACK. Right between the eyes.”
Leer grinned. Hallem jumped up.
“I got to go man,” he said in a voice like John Jacob Niles.
“Cool it,” replied Leer. “It’s just a demo.”
Tom Hallem turned circles on the spot shaking his head. He dropped to his knees. Begging. Bile came lightly in spasms. He shook the bars madly. He began whimpering. Suddenly, Leer pushed him hard against the GRILL.
“Calm down, dickhead.”
“I got to go,” Tom Hallem pleaded. “Right now, please.”
“That’s fine. You can go.”
Leer let Hallem’s body droop in his grip then smashed it against the bars again.
“But just remember, Tom. Never cross me.”
Hallem rattled the cage. A groan came low from some unnamed place underneath his throat. He could not produce tears. Leer released him.
“You’ll need the key,” he said.
Hallem shook his head in affirmation deferring gaze.
Leer released the locks.
“Remember what I said,” he told Tom.
Hallem raced down the corridor, opened the front door abruptly and entered the street. It was hot wet and vacant. He pined for the sight of a common citizen putting out garbage or walking a dog. A woman in particular. But there was nobody present. He accelerated down Belmont Street. No sudden arrowhead cored his brain. He turned back one last time to make sure he wasn’t being pursued by that buckminsterfull grin. Don’t retrace your steps. Stay on Mitchell Road. Comfort of passing traffic. Telemachus returning from Pylos. Avoid the suitor’s fleet. Odysseus starting home. Sneaking under Poseidon’s guard. Hamlet working his way through clues outside the main narrative. Unsure if he was sane or crazy. Maybe seek right of asylum in Gothenburg. Hire double-agents. He felt the screwed-up bundle of notes. Maybe a bad move. Hide out on the other side of town. Never come back to Newtown. Stephen Dedalus really wanted to escape the creepy old guy who followed him from the hospital to the pub then all the way through the red-light district to a brothel. Name of Bloom. Knows my father. Probably a swinger. Showed me nude shots of his wife. Tea-bagger. Obvious BOTTOM. Re Bloom/SD, the narrator of Eumaeus concludes, “Though they didn’t see eye to eye in everything, a certain analogy there somehow was, as if both their minds were travelling, so to speak, in the one train of thought.” This is a polite bow, in both senses of the word. Joyce hardly ever wrote such an equivocal sentence. We never get a sense of spiritual alignment in this chapter. There is always underlying tension and latent violence from Leer. The two men are drawn to each other, yet this flame contains revulsion as well. They eat each other’s cream on an empty stomach. To revert to the testimony of a Bard: Music brought them together and music tore them apart. Tom Hallem hated the music, more than Leer himself, whose attractions he acknowledged as allied to a susceptibility to undesirable males, perverse sexual desires and risk.
A NOSTALGIC SUBLIME
Judy worked as a waitress in the top floor bar of a five-star hotel near People’s Square, where middle-aged Western guys went to pick up migrant girls and rich Shanghai wives went to get sex. Her name tag said JUDY but her actual name was Zhu Di. It was a lucky linguistic match. She didn’t want a Western name. It was just a work thing on her name tag that stopped foreigners calling her ZOO DIE. She knew what that meant literally. DONGWU YUAN SI. It had no logic practically speaking, unless you committed suicide by jumping into a tiger cage. This is a metaphor for our relationship really. I never knew her last name. This made it impossible to trace her when we split. She just blocked her cell phone. Everybody had an agenda at the JW Bar. We all used aliases. Nobody expected a straight story. Judy didn’t give a fuck. For a few weeks, I watched her stride around the room with the solid assurance of a schoolmistress. She wasn’t beautiful in either a Chinese or Western sense. She had broad calves, a lean trunk and almost no cleavage. A lot of Chinese girls get this type of muscular body shape from riding bicycles. Her eyes were set across a broad flat bridge. You could hear a fast, cold river flowing behind them but never gain a glimpse of its churn. Her nostrils started low and spread flat. She had a wide mouth with truly sensuous lips. This was S.Dog’s abiding memory, long after physical contact had passed into legend. Judy always looked like she ran the palace, even though she was only a serving girl. Penelope was shocked when Eurycleia said they’d strung-up all the best domestic staff while she was stoned in bed. There was a degree of hatred in how scores were settled on Ithaca, not just by Odysseus himself. The whole society had been degraded by the Occupation. Odysseus gave free rein to his acolytes from the old days. His violence gave them a mandate to violence as well. There was no evidence that these girls had done anything wrong. They weren’t necessarily collaborators. They just got on the wrong side of the WIN. In Classical myths, sex is a zero-sum game for women. They either succumb or die. If they submit, there’s generally payback later. They are passed from victor to victor, growing used to rape. Even queens just make tactical selections about the perpetrator of sexual assault. It’s different for goddesses of course; but not always. Joyce is singular in literature for avoiding patriarchal defaults. I used to find a quiet spot down the end of the bar near the bartender. He liked to chat, but I could never make out his words under ice-cubes jangling inside a Boston Shaker. This is a metaphor for all enclosure in this chapter (see Poe), deafness/audition, cross-cultural exchange, rattling language, shaking the canon, general human barriers to comprehension as well as a reference to Mallarme’s dice throw, Tom/Leer and by extension Stephen/Bloom. INSERT OTHER PLOT REFERRALS. Judy watched me mutely. At the start, we exchanged basic pleasantries in Mandarin while she waited to collect drinks. She didn’t want to talk much. She looked around the bar restlessly. I was just another foreign guy who presumed that all staff were occasional prostitutes. I started to go back every couple of nights. Always alone. Never consecutive. Eventually, we started to converse more freely. She was a product of Deng’s delayed implementation of Gei Ge Kai Fang in Shanghai. Her family had been relocated to a new apartment complex in Pudong in the late-Nineties. She had a basic high school education. She never had the cash, connections or grades to get to college. It made her disinterested in school. She started to work in local restaurants at age fourteen. She learned English watching movies on satellite TV. Slowly, she moved up the chain. She married her first boyfriend when she was twenty-one. He worked as a loan officer in a regional bank. They should have had a baby inside two years. She stalled. She never explained why. It was kind of obvious. He got sent to Suzhou. He met another woman. Judy was still processing their divorce three years later. Her situation was bad on one hand. She was now in her late twenties. No kid. This was over-the-hill by Chinese standards. But the low female-to-male ratio meant she would easily find a new husband. Zhu Di had a rough laugh which displayed a straight set of discoloured teeth. She smoked too many cigarettes. She never ate much. This was normal. Chinese women don’t take on much fluid either. They say it makes them feel bloated but they really mean it helps them look thin. She had a very physical sense of humour. She’d poke me in the cheek with her chopstick when I got distracted. Punch my arm hard. This was how she expressed LOVE. I knew this behavior well. It reminded me of Australian men in my childhood. Judy had a crater about the size of a one-cent coin between the bridge of her nose and her right eyebrow. It was the legacy of an abscess a few years back. She got really sick straight after her divorce. It was the kind of facial imperfection that really turned off Chinese guys. They wanted CUTE. Zhu Di used to sit up all night after work watching TV then go to bed at dawn. We’d sit in City Extra watching CCTV5 sports channel while I ate a hamburger and she picked at my fries. She like this women’s pool competition. It was Thai. Judy was a hustler-with-a-cue in her own right. She must have worked in a sports bar sometime. She wouldn’t say much about her past. I wasn’t big on pasts either. We pretended that I wasn’t married. I never talked about my kids. It was hard to start dating. Zhu Di only got one day off work each month. In May, she had to go to her parent’s home. In June, she was busy. I finally scored a date in July. It was hot and humid. We met at Starbucks. She brought a friend. He disappeared after a while. I took her to dinner at an Italian restaurant. Later, we went to a JAZZ club on Fuxing Lu where she could get free drinks off friends behind the bar. We had seats in the VIP section right on top of the band. My apartment was nearby. She came back to watch Chinese soap operas. I made tea. She curled up in a ball on the long white sofa. We made love at dawn. It wasn’t great. But we stuck at it. I set her up as my mistress in a small apartment in Hongkou. It was a hardcore local district. You didn’t hear Putonghua on the street. I paid the bills. She wanted to keep her job. I respected that decision. She never harassed me for gifts. I should have read all these matters as SIGNS. But I interpreted them as it suited me. We used to eat breakfast together at the Coffee Bean on Shaanxi Lu near the Jade Buddha Temple. I hated their coffee. But it was her kind of place. She had a VIP card. Sometimes local people stared. But they never abused us. Zhu Di wouldn’t have tolerated it. We could have gone on like this for years. But she was impatient to have a child. So she hooked up with Johnny.
THE HIGHEST FORM OF CAPITALISM by V. Illich
Tom Hallem’s mood shifted to greed as fear receded. He had taken to sea at dusk in a beautiful pea-green boat. He was curious to ascertain how much cash he’d purloined from his erstwhile companion. He extracted the wad of notes and uncrumpled Lawson’s profile on some ten-dollar bills. Gulgong inked. “Time’s Bakery,” the awning sign read. Vulcan beating an alarm clock on a cake tin. Fertilising sparks. Arms for Aeneas. Ocresia turning over the ashes with a stick. Elizabeth Archer burned her index finger with a match-head whilst discussing the muscular art of Luca Giordano. Leopold Bloom tries to marshal the every-diminishing financial resources of Stephen Dedalus over the course of Eumaeus. The young man seemed determined to squander his entire salary on a single night. Lawson ended up begging for booze money down Circular Quay. He never got a government stipend. But they gave him a State funeral. That’s how we treat great artists in Australia. Chris Brennan was the same. A hollowed-out drunk. Q: It’s hard to believe an Australian wrote such a work? A: It took me twice as long because we’re so retarded. Adam Lindsay Gordon is the only Australian writer with a bust in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey, just down the row from Tennyson (see Chapter 3). The Duke of York unveiled it 64 years after his death in 1934. He bought a box of cartridges with his last monies. Next morning, he rose early, walked into the tea-tree scrub, and shot himself. Joseph Furphy sweltering all summer in his brother’s foundry at Shepparton. Tom Hallem expiring wet and desperate in bed. He wrote his novel late into the night on a simple, home-made table in the beaten-earth kitchen. Hung a fob watch off battered iron tongs in the family hearth. Lawson’s fading coal memory. A Trojan Horse on Mayne Street. Jim and Bertha. William and Tom. Locked in a box at Starvinghurst Gaol. Hallem turned over the currency. Derelict poet to convict draughtsman. A reverse chronology. He studied Francis Greenway’s voluptuous face. Maggotfield architect. Forger of some repute. Perfect for Chapter Eight. Macquarie’s Speer. Saint James needle-stick finery. Hyperdermic barracks. Same end. Also died destitute. Beggar’s eulogy. Time baked them both to a brittle crust. Unmarked grave at Maitland. Hallem quickened his pace. Leer was someone who was doomed at about the same level that a fly is doomed … doomed to see too much with his gigantic eyes … too much for his simple brain to handle. I should betray him to Persian Jones and get him out of the way for good. Empty out his safe-room, buy a ute and drive to Queensland with Justin. He crossed Mitchell Road quickly so he could get onto the back side of Erskineville Oval. Cross Harry Noble Reserve. Gasfitter since 1908. Short-term MP. Died 1949. Joyce reconstructed Dublin 1904 from maps and guides. He made inquiries of friends. St Mary’s Church. Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. Byzantine icon painted by Saint Luke on the dinner table at Nazareth. Public school where my mother went. She fought her way home every day down back alleys to her mother’s corner shop in Ferndale Street. Blood on the door step one morning. Hauling in milk crates (see Chapter 3). Malnourished trees covered his vanity all the way back to Burren Street and safe. He paused on the railway bridge to catch breath. Stephen leaning on a telegraph pole. He looked down the line. Dung sky o’er acrid flaps. Day’s carcass dismembered by sudden dark circulation. It was still much earlier than Joyce’s timeline in Eumaeus. The night had but begun! He glassed air. Almond-tanged vomit. Rich wormbeer. A passenger train swished under his feet. Dense rumbles. Half-distant scream of 707 engines in steady descent. Thick black plumage. He turned east where the shining rail tracks split into the arse-end of unkempt terraces and factories all their pest-eaten illegal extensions collapsing into night through sagging smokestacks. Old brickworks held together by rows of iron rings. High-rise housing commission blocks in Waterloo ever-bright. Insert lyric by Alexander Smith. Still o’er him rose those melancholy stars! (l.5). It was a horizon that could have been concocted by Claude Lorrain: sky dominating the picture; dark ground beneath; unwieldy figures framed by nature and ruins; cool shadows of damp stones and trees; faint hills staining the phlegmatic background; none of Poussin’s talent for closing off space. Lorrain’s work was always composed of two intersecting cylinders in which light was stored: one horizontal shaft from the viewer’s eyes to the horizon (usually over water); the other, a vertical shaft of sunlight down the front of the painting through a hole in the forest’s canopy onto foreground earth. Tom Hallem was crosst by new streetlight (west) by truck headlight (south) and, in turn, he impresst his own silhouette upon the earth. His shadow faded with the waning day like Marsyas’ torso just after the last lash of Apollo’s beams (prolonging his death throes). The pelt of the famed piper was left suspended in the public square at Celanae until it became an indistinguishable part of the landscape. Only fresh eyes noticed its remnants flapping in the breeze that floated lightly down the banks of the winding Maeander, that river which, legend has it, created language over its course to the Aegean Sea, near Priene. It grew cold too soon. As with Claude, it was either dawn or dusk but mainly dusk. Only the sun’s last lukewarm spray stalled verging night. Hallem’s limbs went all numb. I am LATE, he thought. Elizabeth will kill me. He loitered looking for a cab. The last carriage of a commuter train passed beneath. Ref. Trainspotting. A blue guard light bit. Resonant clatter like an electric fan murmuring ever-softer until it ceased to be heard. Hallem walked up the last stretch of Erskineville Road. Procession of Christ into Sydney. Harsh biro marks shining on sheets of glossy butcher’s paper. Materials as subject. Hanging a screen off tacks. Go right down Wilson Street. Look down the vestibule. Dry mouth. Uncomfortable gulps. So deep his epiglottis trembled. Messaien-low organ. Stiff and exposed was the front of his throat. Raw passion passing through clerical lips. Slop of the River Acheron. Up to the ankles of loose-fitting garments. Most loathsome are spurned. Chase a banner. Obdurate gadflies. Receding chambers in which man cowers and dreams. BABEL. Massive breath-strokes of disconnected language. Ginsberg’s air of Dylan. Collage factory. Corner of Brown Street. A single dry leaf blew against his trousers. Goethe’s urpflanze. All nature it encased. New layers locked into place all the time like Bloom’s Tessera. Altering the significance of every text. Deepen the membrane until reality is blurred. Opaque glass. Space gets closer then. Books are like tiles. Leather-bound spines resting around concave page leaves. Spina bifida babies. Prosenchyma. An unmarked grave in Woronora Cemetery. Communal pits. Leather coverts. Turn down Brown Lane. Full circuit. Snorting a line of Jack Brabham. The journey back is always completely different. The vertebrae of a cement staircase rose straight to a single red light. Hallem passed a par-open gate. A tabby slumbered under the back of a van. Corpse of a pigeon now flatter, less liquid, part of the road. Hallem past a concrete slab surmounted by steel-piping parapets. He turned into the taxi bays. Purple sky void. Reflection in a mirror of the word POOL. Go back to the starting-point as ever. Four Italian taxi drivers were huddled around a packing crate playing poker. Spin the Kip. Always EWAN. Spin again.
“Anybody working?” inquired Tom Hallem.
“Depends where you’re going,’ said The Supervisor not looking up from his hand.
A wad of thick bristle rose like a plume over his forehead, receding on both sides to bare skull. Suddenly he looked straight at Hallem. A matted beard descended from his chin. A sky-blue synthetic shirt spread over the top of his belt. A girdle foul with grease. Masonic master. He scraped a metal spanner as if dragging a paw.
“Change of shift you see,” added another player.
A smile played on his speakeasy lips (C1). Psychopomp. A helpful beast with a guiding lamp in its jaws. Sweet Beulah. He looked back at his cards and shook his head then laid the hand fanned-out and face-down on the makeshift table. His hair was parted straight down the crown like a hatchet clout. It hung in slick ruins. His cheeks puffed slightly as if his hunched posture impeded satisfactory breathing. A small cleft softened his otherwise bulbous chin.
“Ireland perfected the art of itinerance,” he continued. “That’s why we’re all so-at-ease Down Under.”
“It wasn’t such a doddle at the Battle of Castle Hill,” replied Grogan. “When Johnson tricked Cunningham into parley and they cut our compatriots down.”
A squeeze box started. The narrator sucked on a fresh cornpipe. A swagman approached the narrator’s hearth on his hands and knees. “Ah! (moralised the pipe),” writes Joseph Furphy in Such is Life, twenty years before inanimate objects were given voice in Circe. A long, convoluted description of a German meerschaum follows. SisL is still the greatest technical achievement in Australian literature, one of the great novels of English literature and certainly a precursor to Ulysses in terms of its form, style, narrative perspective and use of emplotment for comic effect. It is a downtrodden Irishman’s sardonic tale of the vicissitudes and ironies of existence in the harsh environment of the Australian Bush. Furphy is an Irish family name, O’Foirbhilhe, meaning “descendant of the perfect one” in Gaelic. The clan originated in County Tyrone, smack-dab in the centre of Ireland. His father emigrated to New South Wales in 1840 and he was born in 1843. The only books in the family home were the Bible and Shakespeare. He was reciting passages by heart at the age of seven. They formed the backbone of his Prosenchymer. This passage about the anthropomorphic pipe contains Furphy’s great postmodern moment of self-reference:
“’What’s your name?’ he demanded, as I placed my foot in the stirrup.
“‘Collins,’” the narrator replied.
Tom Collins was the pen name of Joseph Furphy (adopted 1892). It is an Australian slang term for an imaginary foe who slanders men in public (See Crowe, ASD, 1895 cited in Barnes, The Order of Things, 1990). SISL is the ultimate shaggy-dog tale. It is indubitably what Barthes would call a Writerly Text. Its antinomian subject matter is veiled – like Nosey Alf’s face – by Euphuism like Swinburne’s poetics and Joyce’s Modernism. Homosexuality, gender fluidity, cross-dressing, theft and murder abound behind the narrator’s misperceptions and confusion. Phonetic speech by German, Scottish, Irish, Chinese and First Country characters stalls the text, while also offering an insight into Australian multiculturalism in the late nineteenth century. Furphy proceeds down intellectual channels discursively like a precursor of Proust. False naming, deliberate narratorial errors, mistaken identities and patent untruths predate similar innovations in Eumaeus. Some chapters constitute individual essays in their own right. Tom Collins = Leer. They act as outgoing marionettes of their respective authors. Like the narrator in ALRDTP, Tom Collins acknowledges the fluid modes he adopts to suit different audiences. He is totally self-aware of his role as a FRONT and ACTOR. The title mimics Ned Kelly’s famous last words before being hanged. Such is Life is a great novel, the greatest (yet) written in Australia, because it is still the only one to try to make technical inroads into the canon. “The plan of the book is not like any other that I know of,” Furphy wrote to A.G. Stephens. It reflects, and gains strength from, the cosmic ambitions of the Federation period. What Furphy called the “loosely federated” structure of SISL matches the constitutional output of Becoming Australia in 1901. Like Joyce, Furphy is not just a technical writer setting out to achieve literary goals. He offers acute portraits of daily life in the Australian bush amongst the low classes. Shearers and swagman roam the dry, unyielding countryside living hand-to-mouth in a bucolic Monto redolent of Browning’s wasted landscape in “Childe Roland.” They share food, fire, smokes, money, stories and jokes. Occasionally, they come across liquor. They steal from each other without compunction and forgive each other with alacrity because they KNOW that existence in the Bush is a Darwinian contest in which opportunism (Mallarme’s kip) and collective action determine survival or death. There is an aleatory connection between Furphy’s novel and his family name. A ‘furphy’ in Australian slang refers to an improbable story claimed to be factual by the teller. It comes from the name emblazoned on the side of water carts designed and constructed by J. (John) Furphy & Sons of Shepparton, Victoria. These cast-iron tanks were first manufactured in the 1880s for water storage on farms. John Furphy was the novelist’s brother. The author worked in the foundry most of his adult life. Furphy-branded carts were later used extensively by the Australian Army in the Great War, especially in the Middle East and at Gallipoli. They became a popular meeting place for Diggers to exchange gossip. A rumour became known as ‘furphy’ as a result. Loop back to Tom Collins. S’Life is itself a FURPHY (like Joyce’s Eumaeus) although the author was long dead by the time it was coined (he died in 1912). Its origin had nothing to do with Joseph Furphy. It is a pure coincidence; an example of what Freud termed the Uncanny [Das Unheimliche].
“Such is Life,” added Slick Ruins perfunctorily.
“Now there was another great Irish upstart,” replied Grogan adamantly.
“His father, Red, was a Tipperary pig thief,” retorted Small Cleft with a Galway snarl. Intimidation is central to social interplay amongst the underclasses in Connacht. The upper classes sound like Peter O’Toole. Originally, the Joyce family came from this county. His wife, Nora Barnacle, was born in a Galway workhouse. It is the site of Joyce’s great story, “The Dead”. It is also the place where underage Millie Blom is studying pornography on the date of Ulysses. She is the proposed recipient of Alec Bannon’s prophylactic in Oxen. Jabber Ladiesman inverts Furphy’s title in Chapter Seven. However, this pun is really the end of Ladiesman’s adventures in inter-textuality. The remainder of the novel is standard drug-slapstick as his anecdotes about addict sub-culture from Cunty are laboriously reprised. As with its predecessor, the novel finally resolves itself in equivocal moralising with woman-as-victim. This places it in the same category as the films, TS, PF and FC. To re-claim Australia’s Celtic spirit must be part of any negotiation with James Joyce.
“There’s a crude type of oppression lingering under that fair dinkum charade,” replied Grogan. “The Orangemen and Masons always kept us dowen. The first political prisoners were transported as convicts after the 1798 rebellion. We were not permitted to practice our religion until 1820. We were blamed for the conscription vote in 1917. Why, Catholics couldn’t even get jobs in a department store.”
“It’s a better shop today,” said the Supervisor.
“Better than the alternative,” added Psychopomp.
“True. Our Irish foundlings preferred the luxury of British cellars to starvation back home,” added Grogan, “where they were penned in darkness by John Bull’s window tax eight to a bed, head to toe like Molly and Leopold Bloom back in Dublin, one blanket covering their shame. No human being deserves to live in such squalor.”
“We can thank Mister Engels for that,” replied the Helpful Beast. “His factory in Levenshulme was a bloody gob of shamrock spittle on Manchester’s black bed linen.”
“He left a beautiful account of life in Irish New Town,” added Grogan caustically.
“Yes,” replied Chin. “He loved to promenade with sweet Mary Burns along the banks of the Irk down St George’s Road, where there was an Irish pub she favoured.”
“Harp or Lion, as the old song goes.”
“Pick a shamrock from the ruins or a rose from an English garden.”
Suddenly, a ballad sprang hard from Grogan’s cracked lower lip: Only think of Hugh O’Neill / Thundering down in furious style, / To assail, with lead and steel, / The rapists from our SISTER isle!
“Aodh Mór Ó Néill,” nodded the Supervisor. “He led Ireland in the Nine Years War.”
“They all fled,” exclaimed Stephen Joyce goading his sub-continental compatriots.
“To carry on the struggle in Spain,” replied Grogan vehemently. “They embarked at midnight on Lough Swilly. Driven by Atlantic gales. Ah, who would be an Irishman at sea? They took shelter on the Seine like Beckett and Joyce.”
In the cabman’s humpy in Monto, Bloom recounts his confrontation with The Citizen to Stephen. They discuss the Phoenix Park assassinations and Parnell. Bloom rejects The Citizen’s violent nationalism, again disclosing Christ-like tendencies. But he becomes better than Christ or pagan gods to Stephen. He is mortal, fallible and tempted to bad ways, yet always tries to transcend base tendencies. This makes him greater than the immortals, like one of Shelley’s fatal heroes. Stephen acknowledges this trait, which Joyce sees as essential to greatness. It is not enough to be well-educated and verbose like Mulligan or well-connected and polite like Russell. Joyce requires art to become a moral enterprise. Bloom is the vinculum for that ascent by Stephen. It was Bloom’s presence in Circe that enabled the reflection of Shakespeare’s face to appear over Stephen’s head. Bloom is the intermediary to get Stephen to extract the literary DNA from Shakespeare as his REAL father. He isn’t really interested in his biological one. His value has been played out. Stephen is quite prepared to disown Simon Dedalus, as he did in Scylla and does again here in Eumaeus. Eventually, however, Stephen gets bored with Bloom’s goody-two-shoes verbosity. He is anxious to move on. He needs to get the future rolling. He doesn’t believe that Ireland can be changed, except by his own heroic art. He says as much to Bloom. He needs to start right away if he is to make it happen. He needs to keep all these great new thoughts in his head. He doesn’t want his brain cluttered with more of Bloom’s information so he shifts the conversation with an abrupt command to Bloom to “change the subject.” Well, that got the whole crew started.
“On my first night back in Carrigloe,” said Murphy drily joining the conversation, “like Flaubert at Cairo, in dirty overcast weather, we boarded the S.S. Nil, a steam packet of 250 horsepower, which rolled like a drunken man as it made but little headway across Cork harbour. The city flickered and ceased under levin. Rain slid down the decks like snakes, perforating the ocean top. The fish sank deeper into mire until they were only buffeted by a slight swell from the hull above. My nametag read Odysseus Pseudangelos as per the Linati schedule, which literally means FALSE ANGEL in Greek, just as Murphy means “sea warrior” in Gaelic. What with my gnarled appearance and outlandish yarns, Joyce made me appear more like a real Odysseus back on Ithaca than his putative hero, Leoplod Loomb. That was my only significance to the novel. I came and went as a false double. I possessed no stench of brine about my person but rather the odour of a prison cell. This was what alerted Bloom, with his keen olfactory sensibility, to suspicions as to my authenticity. He had a great taste for perfume. Leer was my equivalent some ways back. It became clear from my landlubber anecdotes that I had no experience of seafaring. It was all tall stories garnisheed off books. In fact, I was terrified of the sea and could not swim. Once, I was rescued off the beach by a young dandy with seaweed hair called MALACHAN. I crossed myself in the storm on that old ferry. It seemed to suck in our vessel alive and consume its iron hull. I thought it was Fatal Woman! But I was still alive at the dock after this sixteen-minute epic, although swamped in gum. I had only my carpet bag and a harpoon. Like Ishmael, I scoured the sunken streets for food and shelter in Absolute Darkness. Ah was one very hungry and wet young mewt by now! The sky was godless mud, fireflights tingled through barbed-wire walls, Homer’s sea spewed food-flecked refuse in my face, Original Sin burdened me, I seemed to be someone else (Satan), from some other time (the Fall), and some other text (Paradise Lost) and the only sound left in the world was a few coppers that I rattled nervously in my pocket on my dromological wobble against. I passed up the Necropolis Hotel on Bachelor’s-Walk-and-Brine and settled on the St. Outer Inn for lodgings. My host, P. Coffin, offered me a double room with Bung. While he processed my papers, I studied a print of the Norwich School tacked up in the foyer. It was a landscape by Cotman in the style of Jacob van Ruisdael prior to his switch to rice-paste and pigment in 1831. The gloom and dust layers, which seemed to have been fastened onto the surface in the manner of Duchamp’s sieves in The Large Glass, I later learned by fly spray, completely doused the sun. It had become an image one step beyond Dutch Nihilism. Involuntarily, I thought of Sebastian van Storck brooding on some soft polder, his Hamlet-face gripped with torpor. This is further evidence of my campus pedantry and lack of real-world experience. When Coffin returned, I told him to clean the surface at once. He grinned. And told me it epitomised Old Dublin. Then he took me to my hovel. And left me. I put on all my clothes against the cold and lay down. After a while, my room-mate entered prefaced by a kerosene lamp. He laid it on the ironing board and stared through the pall without noticing me. Then he started to undress. I could see the dark imprint of inks on his body. He had been thoroughly marked by the Designer with the phrase, “thou shalt not (illegible).” The tail of this proscription had been hopelessly blurred by blunt needles. Thus, he was pockmarked but with effacement. I gave way in the bunk for him. Our backs simmered from touch and I slept. And dreamed of a metal girder inserted under the base of my spine and thrust up through my body until it protruded out my mouth. I would have asked somebody to tie a red rag around it and walk in front of me ringing a cowbell except that I was utterly unable to articulate language. I grabbed it with both hands but I didn’t know whether to push or pull. This is where Chaplin would have come in handy with his slapstick guile. I was left clasping it like an icon. So, what could I do when the sun came up next morning but get up, sun coming up my arse, dawn sicking on me with gold, and shave. I borrowed Bung’s cut-throat razor. It was brighter than a blaze as I held it against my cheek and gazed into the mica-wafer mirror at my face (link to Buck Mulligan). Like Mahood in Beckett’s Unnamable, I used to worry about waking up one day with my two retinae facing each other because of the crumpling effect of what Chidley called “corrugation”. I was thus reassured to see them pointing only slightly askew from straight-at-the-mark as usual. They watched with the vigilance of two shiny rocks stuffed into the sockets of old Oedipus as my gormless features were scythed off the map until a single asymmetrical ‘I’ stared back at me: ah was Cyclops! The floor teemed with vermin and louse. Felt one crawl across my soul. An enamel mask was fitted onto my face. My other eye was just left bobbing in the lukewarm basin-water, looking up, as if for God, at the sombre prospect of that “enormous dice blinking a mournful eye,” that Huysmans describes in an image by Odilon Redon.
Skin the Goat Fitzharris now took up the taille with vigour. He was the most infamous man in Dublin, famed for his role as the Invincibles’ driver; the unusual manner of his arrest by Inspector Mellon; his long term of imprisonment which caused considerable public dismay; and his unannounced return to his brother’s home in Mullingar after sixteen years hard labour.
“It was a tempestuous winter’s night when the Dunbar arrived off Sydney Heads,” he commenced. “Heavy rain obscured the sandstone cliffs at the entrance to Port Jackson. Captain Green on deck misjudged the ship’s position. On the run into port, he thought they were approaching North Head. When the shout came, ‘breakers ahead,’ Green ordered ‘hard-a-port.’ The Dunbar crashed straight into South Head. It heaved broadside in the swell and broke up immediately. Waves sank the lifeboats.”
“That’s a FAR DISTANT TALE, Jim, what you could have only learned off,” said Corley. “It must be one and fifty years back by now. You were never there, old son. I mean, you could move that event twenty years forward or backwards like Cavendish’s murder and nobody would know the difference. Now, I myself personally was lying low on furlough in Hobart on the fateful day in 1975 when the Derwent Bridge collapsed.”
“Taking a break at Risdon, no doubt,” taunted Joyce.
“That was a terrible omen for Whitlam,” added Skin G. “Nature always turns against Titans shortly before their fall. Look what happened to Mao in 1976.”
The protests started in January with his obvious disrespect to the memory of Zhou Enlai. This unleashed a surge of popular feeling. The same thing happened after the death of Hu Yaobang in 1989. But Deng learned his lessons well. He cut Zhao Ziyang down and put him under house arrest. This was the same method that Jiang Jieshi had employed on the Young Marshall after the botched Xian coup in 1936. At Tangshan, earthquakes and aftershocks on 28 July collapsed the central districts of the city shortly before the Chairman finally died in Beijing. Everything crumbled dry and stiff like a Hiroshima groanbox. In all, 250,000 people died. It was the worst natural disaster of the twentieth century. The first time S. Dog went into a room on the twentieth floor of the Jin Jiang Hotel on Xin Xiang Road, he pulled back the thick night curtains to reveal dominoes of cheap apartment buildings stretching all the way to a steel plant thence to a field of inflected cranes where the horizon dissolved in a smear of yellow pollution.
“Wollongong took out two central pylons,” Corley continued ignoring the young eye-tie. “It was left swirling on the Derwent in impotent circles like Giambattista Vico with its cargo of silver phosphate spilling into the drink.”
“That’s ADJACENCY,” scoffed Grogan. “You probably watched it on TV. You might as well have been back on the mainland. Now, I had DIRECT EXPERIENCE of shipwreck. I was a crewman on Voyager when she got split in twain by the flagship, Melbourne. I woke up in agony on a stretcher in C Hangar at Albatross.”
He raised his work shirt to show the other drivers the sagging scar left by a molten burn. Tom noted a turtle tattooed on the back of one hand and a ship’s anchor adoring his forearm. Two swallows faced each other across the soft flesh above his pectoral muscles indicating ten thousand nautical miles of sailing.
“One hundred and twenty-one souls went down,” continued SGF sagely adjusting the Vellum parchment over his crumpled kneecaps. He was a broken man by 1904, working as a night watchman for the Dublin Corporation; which may be where a young James Joyce encountered him. “Only James Johnston survived. A cabin boy of tender years. He never spoke of that awful night. It remains the worst maritime disaster in Australian history.”
“Her captain was dumb as the dopey Yanks what sank Maru.”
“Now they’re selling-off the grand old girl for scrap.”
“Not before time. Melbourne was jinxed.”
“Yes. She was laid down in Forty-three, then the War ended. She sat offshore like a prison hulk for more than a decade. Finally, she was commissioned in 1955. That’s what let all the bogies get into her.”
“Largest vessel ever built at Sunderland. Duncan Dunbar paid thirty thousand quid.”
Hull and frames of British oak. It bore the British Lion on its figurehead. A three-masted clipper. In Proteus, Joyce combines imagery of such a ship with thoughts of death to induce a self-proclaimed moment of artistic epiphany for Stephen Dedalus, which he hurriedly transcribes on a torn corner of the envelope containing Garrett Deasy’s letter. In fact, this scrap of lyric is just another hackneyed piece of sub-Swinburnean poetics: “On swift sail flaming / Through storm and south / He comes, pale vampire / Mouth to my mouth.” Ulysses is ultimately a self-conscious story of arrested artistic development like the movie Fight Club. This image later links Stephen to the ambiguous figure of D.G. Murphy, who tells his audience in Eumaeus that he reached Dublin on board that very ship. “We come up this morning eleven o’clock,” he says, on that “threemaster Rosevean from Bridgewater with bricks.” This is a clear allusion to Odysseus returning to Ithaca. But it also places Murphy on a domestic boat as a local traveller rather than as an international voyager like Homer’s hero. Joyce returns to sea-faring and waterflow throughout Ulysses. This is natural for an island dweller. It is another reason why the selection of the Odyssey was apt as a governing trope for the novel. Ithaca was a minor island nation like Ireland. Yet both were self-sufficient. Historically, Ireland was big enough to sustain the development of the society, economy and culture of the Gaelic race. They had no need of overseas adventures. There was enough mystery and haunted climes on its craggy shores and foggy, damp meadows to invent a full panoply of myths, gods and heroes. Then the English came with their restless eye in the twelfth century. The sea was converted into an escape hatch for Irish youth. Joyce recognised this reality from an early age. In THE ENCOUNTER, the protagonist knows that good things, “do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.” But, like Des Esseintes abandoning his plan to go to London after enjoying British fare in Paris while he waits for a train, the leading character evinces a very confined response to this insight. He merely crosses the Liffey on a ferry with a friend and wanders on the opposite side of the river for a while. They are exposed to intimidating individuals in a debased landscape and quickly return to the known-confines of the city. Joyce was a minute diarist of human life like Pepys but it is the aspect of the market-place he knows, not the ocean. His characters are always near the shore observing the sea from without suspiciously. There is hardly any reference to the reality of life on board a ship in his work. This is actually tranche de vie fidelity by Joyce. He was an exponent of WHAT HE ACTUALLY SAW rather than a fantasist. Yet Joyce must still negotiate the disconnect between Homer’s brackish sub-plots and his own fixity-on-land to complete Ulysses. For the Odyssey is indubitably a sea-set tale. Its action is best understood by sailors. They are only too familiar with the changeableness of Neptune’s realm and vagaries of maritime life. Joyce turned the psychological dimensions of Conrad’s sea-stories to homeland purposes. His characters find their own version of the Congo at night in their own city, which becomes a strange foreign place of danger, risk, thrills and slaughter. Aside from Odysseus, mythical sailors mentioned in Ulysses include Sinbad, the Ancient Mariner, Robinson Crusoe and the Flying Dutchman. All these figures represent a single dominant trope which is also applicable to D.G. Murphy – that of the isolated sailor in exile striving against nature to return home. Every reader knows this trope. Its conclusion is always return to a homeland that is not the same place envisaged in memory. This is what Don Cane is enduring on this day. The sailor can no longer relate to, enjoy or reintegrate into life at home. The trope always ends with bitter death or relaunch on new adventures. Ulysses utilises many conventional symbols and motifs relating to water and travel but its sea journeys are always prospective trips, deferred excursions, derided caprices or idealised fables. It remains as rooted to the earth as Shelley’s PLANT. The single sea journey of significance in the novel is retrospective. This is the case of Stephen Dedalus returning by ship to Dublin-as-Hades for his mother’s death throes. As a result of this experience, the sea becomes inextricably entwined with imminent death for Stephen. The appearance of ships in Joyce’s work is usually linked to existential torpor. In PAYM, Stephen sees a feverish vision of a ship carrying the corpse of Parnell back from England over “long dark waves rising and falling.” At the start of Ulysses, he is urged by Mulligan to admire the sea. He goes up to the viewing platform of the Martello Tower and observes a “mailboat clearing the harbourmouth of Kingstown.” This is a clear image of transferral in which the boat represents his waning hopes of fleeing Dublin. Mail becomes an extended symbol for his writing and art. Mulligan looks at the same scene and sees “our moghty mawther.” It is a place he embraces with glee. He subsequently dives full forty feet to reach its waters and swim within wild rocky tides. It is the scene of his famous rescue of a drowning man – the exact opposite of what he does for Stephen Dedalus on land. Like Mulligan, Joyce was an excellent swimmer whereas Stephen is a self-confessed hydrophobe. This has political implications. The Imperialist Haines, of course, shares a highly positive vision of the oceans. The British Empire, after all, is “the sea’s ruler.” It controls the movement of trade and people globally. Ninety-eight per cent of Irish exports went straight across the Irish Sea.
“I went through school with Ben Lexcen,” interjected Raper, who had been silent up to this point. “Now there was a man who knew all about boats.”
“Benny’s mind games spooked the Yanks.”
“They’ve never been good at the soft stuff.”
“Yairs. They’re better suited to BIG BANGS.”
“His real name was Bob Miller,” said Corley explicating the words slowly. “I knew him when he raced skiffs.”
Rumors of Dutch masterminds confounded the American camp. Winged keels encased in canvas veils. Wax wings. It all came down to the final race. More officers died in the air than soldiering in no man’s land. The horizontal foil has aerodynamic benefits over a conventional shoal. Better resistance. Better downward lift. Decrease in draft. Higher aspect ratio.
“Benny was putting wings on eighteen footers back in 1959,” said Corley. “He used them on Taipan. Venom had a winged centerboard.”
“The Dunbar’s anchor rests at St Stephens’s Cemetery just over the way,” continued Goat pointing north-west across King Street.
“He changed his name when he went to work for Bond,” Corely concluded sagely.
They all nodded. Eumaeus is full of impostors. Cut-throats. Criminals in disguise. Fugitives on the run. West of Custom House. East end of King Street. A conventional style for an untrustworthy text. The neon throb of Salona’s Talking Tables stalled suddenly. Everything went red. Town Hall clock struck so many times that Hallem lost count. There is a basic disjuncture in Eumaeus between the candor of Bloom and Stephen and the misrepresentations and untruths of all secondary characters. The reader must see them as the only truthful ones, or else the chapter descends into ignominy.
Why did Bob Miller choose the surname Lexcen?
It was the least popular name in the Reader’s Digest mailing list.
Why is the anchor of the Dunbar in St Stephens’s cemetery?
Goat took up his pipe. Newtown was home to the main Sydney cemetery in the 1850s. It lay just beyond the city boundary stone. The land was originally owned by Captain Bligh. He named it Camperdown after the famous sea battle in which he distinguished himself. It was registered as an Anglican General Cemetery but took all denominations. Saint Stephens is home to Bathsheba Ghost. She was the Matron of Sydney Hospital. Sometimes, she is still seen sitting on William Ebbett’s grave in a brown frock coat. On moonless nights, a soldier views the stars with a telescope near the grave of Major Mitchell. Hannah Watson’s lover died on the Dunbar. She was wife of the Sydney Harbour Master. Later, her husband poisoned her out of spite. She emerges in the form of a grey lady and slowly drifts to her beau’s veined, marble bed. It lies near Miss Haversham’s headstone. Dickens based his character on Eliza Donnithorne. Her home was called Cambridge Hall. It was back down King Street a short hop nor-nor-east, pointed out Grogan. The Art Metal Workshop of James Castle & Sons now stands on the site. She was jilted on her wedding day and refused to discard her wedding gown nor have breakfast cleared from the table. It mouldered into dust and decay. She kept the front door of her mansion open until the day of her death. Penelope as a Currency Lass. Dickens’ son lived in Newtown in the 1850s. He had a room above a milliner’s shop where he wrote puff-pieces under the pseudonym DRUD. You can read about him in Household Words. His code name was Compeyson. Abel Magwitch worked for him as a forger. They were well-known Sydney convicts. Magwitch got fourteen years transportation. Compeyson seven. The cemetery closed in 1868. Bad air was rising from the communal pits, upsetting the local population. They buried the paupers in piles. Left mass graves open until each hole was filled then covered the corpses with a few inches of clay. Reverend Kemp was known as the pastor of sixteen thousand souls because of this practice. His ghost still haunts the cemetery. Stephen Joyce abdicated his hand face-down, got up and walked towards the cab bay. Tom Hallem was leaning on a pole. Australia is also an island of land-lovers, he thought. Once, everyone landed at port. Now they just fly over the sea like my father.
“Where are you going?” Stephen asked.
“Darlinghurst,” Hallem stated.
“It’s on my way home. Just wait while I fill up the tank.”
Tom walked to a red pay phone in the service station. He rang his mother. Long wait. Finally, a man’s voice. “Hi. Is mum home? OK. No message. Just wanted to chat. Bye.” He tried Bob Hensley. No answer. Maybe the old man sleeps. Suddenly, sharp headlights cut his gaze. The passenger’s side window dropped automatically.
“Get in,” said Joyce.
Rework the regal cavalcade in W.Rocks to Eumaeus (insert prolepsis).
The route selected by Stephen Joyce was as follows: proceed 1.7 kilometres along King Street > turn right at Cleveland Street > proceed 1.8 kilometres > turn left into Crown Street, Surry Hills > continue on Crown Street for 1.6 kilometres until you reach Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. You have now reached your destination. Insert the following characters crossing route but not in this order (sort according to poetics): Persian Jones admonishing a drug mule under the awning of the Native Rose Hotel on Cleveland Street; Blot pushing his shopping trolley down City Road against the prevailing storm; his wife drifting down a path towards Victoria Park swimming pool; D. Flight-Falconhurst pulling Jabber Ladiesman across King Street at the Queens Street traffic lights on course to her front first floor bedroom in an attached terrace on Forbes Street; Ana Lafei walking through Prince Alfred Park with her guitar towards the Musician’s Club on Chambers Street (Tom’s taxi passes the perimeter of this park, creating a symbol of their fated disconnection); trains crackling beneath the rail overpass; Francine Hackett waiting for a break in the traffic to cross Cleveland Street (she has just left her bedsit on Baptist Street); Leon Daniel driving a black BMW up Oxford Street as the taxi waits at the Crown Street intersection; entry into Darlinghurst down the steep dip next to Royal Court then turning into Burton Street then taking the second right into Palmer Street and parking opposite Riverina Flats at number two-sixty-five.
Billy Capri stood at his kitchen sink doing dishes. He looked out a tall window. Another wave of cars passed swiftly beneath him on Crown Street. A taxi turned into Burton Street below. He left his apartment and walked to the hardwood staircase. The red pay phone in the foyer was available. He descended a single flight of stairs. Do not disturb Stan the Caretaker, he thought. He rang home. No answer. He went back upstairs. Climb a tower. Lock yourself inside. Swallow the key. Don’t answer the doorbell. Only allow entrance to what you can see through the security hole. He sat on his bed overlooking Darlinghurst as it flattened into Woolloomooloo Bay. The spur-tips of the Opera House lifted above RBG. Odysseus’ ship was entering harbour. Sacred to the old god Phorcys. He came to the far side of Ithaca, where he would not be seen by informants through olive trees. What the Eora saw. Cook’s handkerchief. Warrawarrawa. You’re all dead. Ghost ships. Vaults of Utzon’s maze. The cave where Odysseus offered due sacrifice. Rising slopes like the smooth slopes of Neriton unfolding into a rich forest. Soon he would be gone from Sydney. To England. Odysseus also came from a remote island. Get inside the walls of Bloomsbury in a fucking great cape. Hide the facts under a purple chiffon dress. Disguises fit nicely into the Eumaeus episode. Meet Derek Attridge. Recently appointed at Strathclyde. Make up some stories. Fantasies of travel like Robert Louis Stevenson. Tusitala. A house is also a teller of tales. Tom going to Europe. Don coming home. Odysseus incoming. Telemachus outgoing. Shanghai Dog both. Nobody fits into a trope neatly. We are all and none of the above as well as the narrative to be disclosed. Letter of Invitation from Professor Krafter. Another surrogate. It would be easier to connect if he was still at Southampton. Never mind. Chance to visit Glasgow. We can talk Joyce and sport. READ some South African literature. Start with Olive Schreiner. Learn the names of leading figures in the Apartheid debate. A poignant allusion to Strijdom should impress. Mix in references to places like Bophuthatswana and Transkei. Work on my pronunciation. Both homelands. Vals nations. Passports. A sham. Might explain his interest in Joyce. Try to meet some black students. Maybe get an ANC badge @ Camden Markets. Too much? Billy went back downstairs. He telephoned again. Barry Capri answered.
“Hi, Pup. How’re you doing?”
“I’m OK. Where have you been?”
“Your mother went to see Penelope. I closed-up shop.”
“Has he made contact yet?”
“No. Nobody knows what’s happening. I know it’s bad timing. Another 24 hours and you’d have been gone.”
“Would you have told me the truth today if he hadn’t come back?”
“When would you have told me?”
“We never had a plan.”
“Is Vanessa with you?” asked his father finally.
“No. She went home. I think she’s coming back later.”
“Are you going to wait for her.”
“No. I think it’s better if we’re apart tonight.”
“Would you like me to come get you?”
“That’d be nice.”
“I can help you pack. Give me one hour.”
“OK, Barry. Bye.”
Billy hung up the telephone and went back to his apartment. He was not able to say the word FATHER. Maybe he should add ‘yet.’ Maybe not. He didn’t know the answer. Everything felt stiff suddenly. He picked up the Aeneid and opened Book Two. It was the last book left in his apartment. Everything else had been packed into boxes. The story of the Trojan Horse does not appear in the Iliad, which ends with Hector’s funeral. In the Odyssey, it is only mentioned in the third song of Demodocus at the palace of Alcinous in Book 9. Odysseus never explains his method of defeating the Trojans. All he says is, “I left Troy and made for home.” This left a gap for Virgil. This was always the way with Classical literature. They reworked the same myths and legends to their own ends. We’ve been on a novelty drive since … the Enlightenment, he guessed. Billy wondered how Joyce perceived the Trojan Horse trope in structuring Ulysses. If the entry of Bloom to his marital bed represented the return to Ithaca then Molly’s monologue in Chapter III may hold the seeds of a Trojan Horse episode. This would enable Joyce to write BEYOND the end of Homer’s narrative, giving him hegemony over his precursor (H) and creating a linkage with his successor (V). Thus, Joyce would position himself inside the core Classical dyad: Hellas][Dublin][ Rome. HomerJoyceVirgil. Hell as Dublin, so roam. Now he can even reverse temporal notions of influence (see Harold Bloom). This is what Stephen Dedalus wanted to do with Shakespeare. To become his own father. Billy went on to speculate on Joyce titling his novel after the Roman god rather than the Greek. The Romans had a very different perspective on Odysseus. Virgil labelled him dirus Ulixes, pellacis and fandi factor. Billy wrote a note on the topic on the back of an envelope from the Electricity Commission then dozed. NARRATOR: The driver manoeuvred his taxi into a strait beyond the bowsers. Tom entered the cabin. They set off. The taxi sped down City Road. Hunger gnawed at Hallem. He was strapped in his seatbelt like plumbed Odysseus to the mast hot ears upbraided with Sirensound. Deep in a lop-sided dream. Meals recalled through shrivelled cellophane. Sitting with Les in front of the television waiting for Penelope to return home. Curried sausages lolling cold on a tray like severed cocks. Not father. Not son. Despite all those years in the same house. Taking his name. So what. All names are unstable. Murphy and Skin-the-Goat use pseudonyms. Murphy has different nicknames. Bloom is misnamed BOOM in the newspaper (see page 605). AEIOU is George Russell. Olive Schreiner was Ralph Iron (after Emerson). Add a letter to the end of any name changes it completely. Races morph new identities. Jews lived in Ireland disguised as Catholics. Everybody in Vietnam changed their family name to NGUYEN when the Ho Dynasty collapsed in 1407. Indigenous people were told to be Greeks in the Sixties. Hungarian migrants took names like Wright off Sydney street signs. Parnell transformed into the mysterious Dutchman, Jean De Wet. Ho used many fake names to avoid detection. Escape acts. Houdini. Simon Dedalus’ namesake was a carney marksman. Antonio the Greek. Rose is a name. Smellidiom. Odysseus always used different labels. Leopold Bloom also. I’ll be home as soon as I can, Penelope told Les from a noisy phone booth in the city. He leveraged himself into a dining chair and picked up rusty tongs. “I learned to make this dish on a one cube burner. Jungle banquet, we called it. Must have made Charlie drool. He always attacked at chowtime.” Achy Les (advertise pun). Fatal flaw in his foot. Bits of shrapnel commuting through his hip. Arrow stuck in bone. A long shot out of the blue struck his gilded heel. He expired plodding towards the shore. Bloody venom slithering into sand clumps on Cheviot Beach. Poison tips. Harold Holt striding into outflowing surf in flippers. Lone yachtsman passing from port. Leering Neptune. Careless love look how you carried me down. Faked his death to elope with Marjorie Gillespie. It was suicide by water. Zara had named a gentleman as co-respondent. It was all about to hit the news. Water is linked to volatility, instability and madness in Ulysses. Irrationality is feminine to Joyce. Women are seen as material like water, as opposed to the ethereal spiritual and intellectual tone of men. In this vein, he told S. Gilbert that Molly “is a manifestation of Nature herself, the antithesis of art.” Thus, Sirens become enemies of man’s reason. Mina Purefoy is called the “goddess of unreason.” Her fertility and the womb are associated with water. Bloom experiences the bath as “a womb of warmth.” He comes out of it like a baby in a blasphemy of birth (like Leer) that is then juxtaposed with death corpse of Dignam’s funeral. He must cross the four rivers of Hades to reach the cemetery. The Styx, Acheron, Cocytus, and Pyriphlegethon become the four Dublin rivers, the Dodder, the Royal and Grand Canals, and the Liffey. Water is always associated with mutability by Bloom. It becomes a form of FATAL WOMAN. This is a highly cliched association, which Joyce uses to display Bloom’s cosmic and intellectual limitations. He compares time to “holding water in your hand,” says that “life is a stream” and later, “always passing, the stream of life.” There is little doubt that Joyce was personally aligned with this thinking. He includes many minor allusions that reinforce this position such as the drowned man dying off Maiden’s Rock. Woman-as-water extends to gender patterns for Bloom. He says women are “as easy to stop as the sea.” It is the same for Stephen Dedalus. In fact, gender prejudice is one of their chief correspondences. They have little intellectual complementarity. This is quite different to the Odyssey in which women and female gods are active agents with a full aesthetic and intellectual kit. Stephen Dedalus sees women on the beach in Proteus as inhabiting their core element: “Tides, myriadislanded, within her, blood not mine, oinopa ponton, a winedark sea.” There is a clear link to (fear of) menstrual flow. Judy always stepped left foot first over the thick floor-beam that marked the entrance to the Mahavira Hall when she was menstruating. She bought incense and prayed silently over the steaming brass urns. I observed the Shakyamuni Buddha. It had been freshly painted for the Olympics in August. Its head-dress was Powder Blue. Gold leaf embellished the edges and folds of the Buddha’s robe as well as the lotus blossom on which he prayed. He taught a middle way like “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” Deng conceived this tactic on the walking trail to the Xinjian County Tractor Factory. Gautama. Not everyone can get rich at the same time, he said. Judy told me once that she would have just gone straight to the hospital and had a termination if she got pregnant. Tidal imagery is extended to association with the moon. This is a dominant yet hackneyed motif in the ill-advised Ithaca episode. It pairs Stephen and Bloom with men like W.J. Chidley and his perverted symbolism. The corollary of water and death is the act of drowning. Drowning is often mentioned in Ulysses. Stephen is always thinking about it, especially in association with his mother. By extension, this suggests that she drowned in the confines of her own gender. His sister Dilly, product of her womb, will share the same fate of a “salt green death.” Yet drowning also brings peace. Both Stephen and Bloom note that it is considered a relatively pleasant form of death. Stephen also notes its transformative impact on the body in the image of the drowned man’s eyes turning “saltblue.” It becomes an emblem of resurrection, which Joyce liked to associate with his novel, Ireland and himself-as-Jesus. Derrida called suicide (“S”) a gift to death. As if Hades needed more tribute. He was already known as the Rich One by his peers. Current affairs investigation into events. Another coup d’état was brewing in the corridors of power when Holt went home that Xmas. Things would have been different if he hadn’t drowned, said Les emphatically gaping a spoonful of mashed potato. We got Gorton because McEwan wouldn’t cop McMahon, he hissed at the television greedily. I was in Saigon anyway. It didn’t matter to me. Intense conversations in the change rooms at Manuka squash courts. Sporting a fresh black eye in the chamber. He told the press, I got hit with a squash ball. An arrangement had been reached at Beppi’s in 1966. Penelope sired three colts with ten different men. Pan was the birth-product of all the suitors. Their daughter was actually the only biological son of Harold Holt. Gay-beat in Kingston was where they met to seal the deal, so to speak. Blazes Boylan was leading a double life. Les passed me the bowl. Coleslaw on his palms. Christmas suicides on the rise, according to a new report commissioned by the AMA. Rock-black writhing sea. White foam spinning around his head. Bubbles of diminishing return. Reaching for the surface with a wrinkled fist without vim. Full water tank in his gut. Furphy brand. Foetus in brine. Downword sinking apace. Secret love letters. Names spelled backwards as codes. Broken palindromes. Message in a mirror. Trying to impress Nausicaa with goofy-foot moves in Poseidon’s odious surf. Odysseus would have been 45 years old by the time he returned to Ithaca. Ripe age by Classical standards. Seen all corners of the known world. Quick death at the hands of a stolen Claymore like Bobby Horne better than a slow death at home by stealth. Blind rage raging at my hampered body. You could see it in their stares after a few shots. Disconnected Titans. We left mum’s portion in jelly on the dining room table then Les hobbled-up Shaftesbury Road to the RSL. I went to bed. He was still absent when I heard the door lock crack. Lemonscent. My mother entered my room. Smell of fresh motel soap. I can’t go back there, thought Tom Hallem leaning back in the taxi seat. But I can’t begrudge her, muttered Oedipus. Bloom like John Joyce still supported Parnell even after the scandal with Kitty O’Shea. He visits the “dead king’s” grave in Hades. Menelaus and Helen were ultimately reunited. There are conflicting accounts about what happened with Penelope and Odysseus. Hard to press. Marriage is like different hemispheres. Water going down the sink the wrong way. No air. Only water. Then water by darkness overtaken. Body washed ashore. Place yourself at the mercy of Poseidon. The city skyline became apparent as they passed along the edge of Prince Alfred Park.
“First time I saw really tall buildings was here in Sydney,” said Joyce. “The tallest structures in Ireland are church steeples.”
“It’s true. The Church of Saint Augustine is 250 feet high. There used to be Nelson’s Needle back in my father’s day. In the end, they had to blast that bastard down. The tallest modern building in Dublin would be Liberty Hall. It was built in the 1960s on the site of the rebel stronghold in the Easter Rising. It was called James Connolly’s fortress in 1916. The rebellion started on its very steps. It was the last redoubt. The British levelled it with an artillery barrage.”
Billy was awakened by the buzzer. He got up groggily and went downstairs. The caretaker’s door opened a crack. Billy jerked in acknowledgment. It closed. Enter Barry. He handed Billy a paper bag.
“Sandwiches,” he said. “I was worried you hadn’t eaten.”
“I got take-away in Newtown.”
“They’ll keep,” he babbled. “Hammondjeez. Nice toasted. I’ll eat them tomorrow for lunch. After you’re gone. I’m parked on Liverpool Street. What have you got left to move?”
“Just some bookshelf parts and a few boxes. I’ve broken it up. I’m leaving the rest of the furniture and kitchen stuff.”
“Why did she go home?” he asked.
“I wanted some time alone.”
“But it’s your last night in Australia.”
He patted his son on the shoulder. They climbed the staircase together. Flat Ten was sparse. Billy turned on a lamp. Khaki-board boxes were stacked around the walls like quarried sandstone. Bronze bars cunningly stowed. Ship it all off to Alexandria because they’re burning everything in Rome. Fahrenheit 451. Bob sat on a blacksmith’s stool. A carved wooden screen above the kitchen doorway was hung with novelty lights. On this day, both Tom and Billy have been de-homed.
“We can strap the beams to the roof rack,” he said. “Probably fit four boxes across the back seat. The rest in the tray. You don’t need those bricks. I got heaps behind the garage at home.”
“OK,” REPLIED HIS SON. “Look there’s no rush. Let me buy you a beer after we finish packing.”
Shanghai Dog left Xiao Fang lying flat on her belly. Billy Capri pulled on an elastic strap and stretched the exposed hook until it caught under the roof-rack. The bookshelf beams were compressed into a solid rectangle. The car undulated. Its suspension groaned. He let go. Everything relaxed into place.
“How about that beer?” asked Barry. This image can be seen as the flipside of Leer and Tom sharing a drink earlier in the chapter.
“Let’s try the Lord Roberts,” his son replied.
They walked down Crown Street picking up speed on its precipitous slope. It flattened-out near Bar Reggio. They passed a sentry box with stones, brazier et cetera where the municipal ranger was wrapped in the arms of D.B. Murphy dreaming of automated systems. There was still some life along Stanley Street. John Hughes and Bruce Currie were discussing Crust outside Bill & Tony. Julie Cunningham walked towards the Palmer Lane squats with her three-legged dog, Sparrow. She had been scripting Double X. These works represent the tail-end of the avant-garde epoch. Billy nodded acknowledgment. The Lord Roberts was vacant, damp and threadbare. Likewise, Joyce’s style in Eumaeus is utterly stale after 40 pages, just as his catechism structure in Ithaca ultimately failed as ART (increase font size). These chapters become a matter of “seeing-it-through” to closure, regardless of critics who claim that Eumaeus was a cunning ruse intended to mirror the characters’ own tiredness. In fact, Joyce’s Euphuism has shown no sign of flagging in this episode. It remains as disciplined at page 533 as when Chapter III was launched. He rigidly executes yet another of the panoply of styles which make up Ulysses. This was an act of hardcore will which cut against any comfort in reading. But that was Joyce’s whole purpose. He took the scattered components of Modernism picked up on his personal journey around the European diaspora from Ireland (subjugated colony) to Paris (wild republic), Trieste (bordertown of a dying Central Empire) and Zurich (Dada) and fused them into a cyborg like Hephaestus. This exercise had already been started in the visual arts (see Duchamp), but literature had lagged up to this point. The Large Glass and Ulysses were finished almost simultaneously. They both parodied confidence in the power of technological progress. Joyce, in fact, started Ulysses as Europe itself cancelled out this delusion with the First World War. Ulysses is the tombstone of Enlightenment shibboleths. It also became the Joan of Arc of Modernism. Joyce rejected gunpowder, its diplomacy, Malthus, workhouse hypocrites, secrecy codes, social etiquette and good form (in both its custom and literary senses). “Let’s walk on,” said Barry Capri. “I need somewhere with a touch of life about it.” The men turned into Lower Riley Street. “We’ll go to The Bells,” replied his son. “Some cold air off the harbour will freshen us both up.” Watters Gallery sat black across Stanley Lane. Mike Brown’s exhibition had just closed. A Hamilton-like sample still hung in the feature window, teetering on plagiarism. Billy compared this work unfavourably with Tom Hallem’s nervy pleasure signs. It was also the home of James Gleeson’s psychoscapes. Perhaps the greatest art produced in Australia since S. Nolan. Matta meets Bosch. Seafood machinery (see MD, TLG above). They passed an unmarked warehouse where Billy used to work for a gangland pirate breaking-up boxes of pornographic magazines and videos (see Leer), sex toys (including the Bona Constrictor in C5), bondage outfits and novelty prophylactics for distribution across the LOVSTUFF chain of adult stores. This was the type of low-life venue that disseminated Ulysses for many decades while it was banned (see The Most Dangerous Book). Joyce would have enjoyed the irony of his work being hidden from plain view like Sweats of Sin, although his desire for fame and profit would have tempered his glee. Ulysses was banned in Australia in 1929–1937 then 1941–1968. The full list of prohibited books was not made public by Customs until 1958. They wouldn’t even give Curtin a copy when he was PM. An archive of 793 boxes of proscribed items was finally discovered by Nicolle Moore, author of The Censor’s Library, seven levels underground in a government book repository in WS in 2005. Cast iron toilet-pipes jutted out the back of Jazz Age apartment blocks. Some wept rusty bracelets. Two drunks were urinating hard in penumbra against a backcloth of rock posters in Yurong Lane. Joyce uses elaborate, almost technical language to describe this scene in Ithaca, harking back to the Euphuism of Eumaeus. It is his own ironic blasphemy against father-son bonding. L. Bloom (Archer House – RED) was capable of the highest arc of trajectory amongst 210 students competing in the senior school. This is almost the only time that Bloom is held up by Joyce as a champion in the whole of Ulysses. Otherwise, he remains mediocre, unscored. The companions turned from each other to allow safe passage to earth for the timely jets that were now evacuating their distended bladders of ale. It would be worthwhile tracking the use of single words like “distended” and say “evacuat(e-/-ed/-ing)” through the course of this work with NAVIGATION function (this is a linguistic equivalent of sea-faring). We can check to see if the author has embedded any strings of meaning or symbolism out of word re-utilisation across different plot zones. There may also be instances of antonymy and juxtaposition. This approach employs digital technology to treat individual words with the same intensity as motifs. “Lamp” could be another useful term to audit in this fashion. It appears over fifty times over the course of this work, culminating in its recurrence as part of a primary – albeit sardonic – statement of HOPE in the invocation to “Light the lamp!” in Appendix A. At this moment, one individual male rocked back gazing up the sheer wall-face. There was no sky, stars or moon here. All the astronomical terminology employed by Joyce in Ithaca to displace emotion was negated (this is about to be challenged by Bob Capri’s candid sentiments below). Just carmine clouds swirling orange vapors around buttered lamps. Our heroes reached William Street. This journey exhibits a rough correspondence with the progress of Bloom and Stephen after they leave the taxi shelter. We are trying to reach a tentative moment where the father–son bond is revealed as resilient despite the shock of its biological cancellation at 1pm today, a mere nine hours previous in text-time. They waited for a hiatus in what was really sporadic traffic flow to cross to the elevated median strip. Barry Capri turned to look at Billy, whose face was dark against the brilliant backing of an advertising halo for Coke, which evinced the famous white wave symbol across a brilliant red flag [HEX COLOR: #F40000; RGB: (244,0,9) CMYK: (4,100,95,0)].
“I was thinking we might not see you tonight.”
“Well, it’s all a bit much really.”
His mouth tightened. Words trailed. Cars crossed them both ways; behind and afore. Billy contemplated his father against Hyde Park’s dark woodland. Barry’s gaze, by contrast, rested askew, seemingly fixed on a sequence of illuminated signs lining the north face of William Street.
“Why did you marry mum?” asked Billy frankly.
Bob looked away as he spoke.
“She was in trouble. She needed help. It was my big opportunity.”
“Did you love her?”
“Oh yes,” he said producing a blind grin. “But I was a shy bloke. I didn’t have lots of girls like Don. I wouldn’t have had a chance with someone like her under normal circumstances.”
“So, everyone knew the whole time except me. And Tom.”
“Not everyone. Just close family. Penelope forgave your mother pretty fast. She was big like that. She wanted you boys to be like … brothers. It was easy when you were both small. Then she married Les and moved. That made it even easier.”
They crossed William Street. Classical literature is filled with stories of separated brothers and heroes who did not know their true ancestry. This is especially true where a god was involved. It was a trope handed all the way down to the creators of Jesus. Joyce doesn’t explore this aspect in Ulysses, although it is pertinent to analysis of the Odysseus myth. I guess you could argue that Joyce has Stephen Dedalus father-shopping in Eumaeus. But he has solid bloodlines (see C5, E1: B. Turk). Many scholars have propounded theories about Odysseus’ genealogy. We know that he was short, hairy and dark unlike typical Greek champions. I think of him as a nuggety chap, maybe a light middleweight fighter (147–150 pounds weight range) or a tough rugby league second row forward who punched above his weight through ball-skills and superior tackling technique like Steve Folkes. This division has produced countless champions and crowd favourites since its formation by the Austrian Boxing Federation in 1962 including Nino Benvenuti, Manny Pacquiao, Roy Jones Junior, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Durán, Oscar De La Hoya, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. We don’t know much for certain about Odysseus’ heredity. It is a messy bloodline, as reflected in the characters in this work. According to Pseudo-Apollodorus, his supposed paternal grandfather – or perhaps step-grandfather – was Arcesius, who was the son of either the god Zeus or the Aeolian hunter, Cephalus, whose name means “head (of a great family)” in Ancient Greek. Cephalus had a tempestuous and ill-starred marriage with Procris, the daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens. He was kidnapped by the goddess Eos for eight years and became her reluctant lover in a precursor of Odysseus’ own ‘bonded’ relationships with Circe and Calypso. Eventually, he returned to Procris but their relationship was beset by jealousy and shame. He inadvertently impaled her on a javelin when she pursued him to the forest in the mistaken belief that he was going to see a new lover. Hyginus argues that Arcesius was the son of Cephalus and Procris. But this is disputed by most other accounts. One legend argues that Cephalus remarried Clymene, a daughter of Minyas, and that Arcesius was their son. Eustathius and scholia to the Iliad attest that Arcesius was actually a grandson of Cephalus via Cillus or Celeus. Aristotle even claims in his lost work, The State of the Ithacians, that Cephalus was told by an oracle to copulate with the first female animal he encountered and mated with a she-bear, which turned into a woman who then bore Arcesius. There is a lot of animal-fucking in the Classics but its infamy has been exacerbated by the prevalence of scenes depicting bestiality in Renaissance art. Ovid, Eustathius and scholiasts claim that Zeus was the father of Arcesius, through a woman called Euryodeia. There is no further information about her in any Classical text. Things become much clearer after this point. Zeus mandated that Arcesius’ line would only produce only-sons. Arecesius’ son was thus Laertes, whose only son was Odysseus, whose son was Telemachus. We know nothing of Telemachus’ children, although the tales of his marital status have been documented in Chapter One. The maternal line of Ithaca’s rulers is more interesting. Arcesius’ wife was Chalcomedusa, whose name means chalcos (“copper”) and medousa (“guardian”). She was probably a protector of Bronze Age technology. The story of Odysseus’ magical helmet, stolen by his maternal grandfather, Autolycus, probably enters the myth through this family talent for metallurgy. He was the son of the god of logistics and propaganda, Hermes, and Chione, the beautiful daughter of either the warrior Daedalion or the god, Boreas, of north wind fame. She was drugged and raped by Hermes and ultimately killed by Artemis. Such is life for women in the Classics. The guile of Odysseus comes from his maternal line. His father, Laertes, was a nondescript king, who retired to a hovel on the far side of Ithaca leaving Penelope to her fate with the suitors. His pusillanimous behaviour has not received due analysis in classical literature. He reminds me of my own father. It is hard to reconcile this weak figure with Odysseus, given the direct link between human character and DNA in the Classical cosmos. This has led to claims that Sisyphus was Odysseus’ father and even that Laertes purchased the baby from Sisyphus. Such paternity would strengthen the cunning gene in Odysseus. Sisyphus was renowned for his tactical deceit of the Gods to avoid death. Laertes’ wife was Anticlea, daughter of Autylocus. She was Odysseus’ mother. Her name means “without fame.” Her grandfather was Hermes, the trickster god. Aeschylus’ lost tragedy, The Judgment of Arms, recounts her seduction by Sisyphus when he goes to retrieve some cattle stolen by her no-good dad (see C3 for allusions also Polk-Salad Annie). Odysseus actually meets Anticlea in Hades in Book XI of the Odyssey. There is little emotion in this reunion, reflecting Chapter Three of this work as well as Penelope’s barriers to intimacy with Telemachus. Odysseus is visiting Hades to see Tiresias when he encounters Anticlea. At first, he has no interest in seeing his mother or visiting local tourist attractions. He is all business like the eponymous father in Cat Steven’s famous story song of 1970. Finally, he schedules a meeting with his mother after work. At this exchange, he whines about his misfortunes constantly. She tells him that she died of grief during his protracted absence. He milks her for information about the state of things on Ithaca. This is useful IP for our hero. Joyce creates a clear correspondence to the condition of Mary Dedalus in Ulysses in Anticlea’s maternal heartbreak and death as well as the burgeoning angst and guilt of her son. In the end, Odysseus tries to cuddle his mother three times before he leaves hell. This is impossible because she is a ghost. His arms pass right through her incorporeal aura. This is a metaphor for many mother-son relationships.
“Billy,” said Bob Capri stopping on the footpath outside the Boulevard Hotel. “I want to say something. I’ve been proud to be your father. To be honest, I never wanted you to know the truth. I wanted to keep being that man. I know it was weak. But I’m only human.”
In Ulysses, LB starts to see SD as a full person at this point. Not merely Simon Dedalus’ son. Stephen for his part notes Bloom’s unmusical rejoinder. It is a significant symbol of Bloom’s impossibility in filling the role of Stephen’s father. Simon Dedalus is a fine singer. Like father, like son.
“What a fuck up,” Bob added laughing incredulously.
“A tall tale but true,” replied Billy Capri with resignation. They turned down Bourke Street together. It was a straight run now to water. Woolloomooloo dropped to a broad shore-plate. History pressed out of its close-built chambers and gusts. You could feel it rising like time against a slow floodmarker. Homer’s sea gasped last rites (Poem 10). Our host, Chris Brennan, was lingering alone at the dock drunk on waterdust. Dirty old townscape. A ghastly shore (Poem 5). Men poured though sewage looking for scraps. Ophelia’s face was bobbing through a rusty carapace of brine. Fat and strange-eyed urchins scraped at thick waste. Mirror of mutant waterlife welling always welling in tide unstilled tide. A regretful guest crept past a smoldering gin palace (Poem 4). Tremulous in wake. Just another pack-dog crawling like a broken lizard amongst meaningless stone masts. Billy and Barry Capri paused on the verge of The Bells Hotel to wipe their soles. Yellow gas was burning in the street lamps. Sclerotic walls. Dead temples. Just then, Cassandra got pulled down Temple Lane by her flaming mane. No one can help her down there. They’ll force strong spirit down her throat. Apply the razor. Skulk off when it’s done. Day taken at the throat by Achilles and stuffed full of uncreated mud. Dawn will never really follow. Upturned Nature all matt. Bells of the colonial fleet quired. Liquid crystal. Sweet silence. Stasis. A sublime instance. Incantatious. Dead ships of the line. Voyager. Dunbar. The second Sydney. It was tricked by Kormoran’s subterfuge. Burnett took her recklessly close. The Germans brought all their guns to bear. Six hundred and forty-five sailors drowned. It was the largest Allied warship lost with all hands in World War Two. Those wrecks have never been found, said Murphy. A murmur passed from Captain Cat. His crew were pressing through the slate halls of the massive outer deep of his mind. Odysseus’ crews all gone under. He alone reaches shore. A single grey destroyer was moored at Garden Island. Barry Capri entered the main bar suspiciously. Bright light caught his sharp profile. Regulars studied him from the bar suspiciously. Athene drew near in the likeness of a barmaid. She waved a sparking tea towel. They clung to their stools in supplication. A dog knows its master. Billy examined his father from beneath. His fallow beard, dark cheeks glistening with sea-sweat and drizzle, burnished, wrought of bronze. His massive chest-cage, laden with age, burst against the confinement of his grey overalls.
“You’ve certainly got them marked,” said Billy.
“Kind with kind,” answered Barry Capri as he pulled a black stool at the bar in front of the draught taps.
HERE IN THIS UNLOVELY STREET
“Burton Street please,” said Tom Hallem. “Just past the Boundary Street flyover.”
“You mean Macdonald Street then.”
“You’re the expert.”
The meter started ticking in haste. My drunk patter commenced. The taxi driver was an implacable hearhole of receipt. Eventually, he started reminiscing about his boat passage to Sydney through Suez, Colombo, Singapore, Hong Kong like a bloodystiffturdthrewintestines. The Telemachiad took place over a period of one year. Those months felt like daggersinthebackof Caesar to his mother yet she never betrayed her emotions. I struggle against Joycess’ st.yell like a surfer thrashing in a sharkbag. Lightless shopfonts rented no revealment: frosted pub glass showered nonternal: curving steepscrapes plined the route: tenses change gears all the time in a replica of manual transmission sequences during this fare: I imitate Joyce’s method for a few necessary lines: we are moving to the end of Eumaeus: the Blots proceed on their implacable journey to Appendix A: past corrugated sheds of tin dance troupes: the driver ignored the ferris-wheel fun of Cleveland Street and slammed straight down the guts at the twin illloominated bawlbells of Grace Brothers (symbol of Tom/I): the Australia Hotel’s front bar spills print workers: John Fairfax & Sons gone blackned: Tooths brewery stage right: putrid wort is leveraged inside back-lane terraces: tumberling Chip-and-ale alleys: Central clocktower registers Nine sixteen. We proceed under low-bred arches: residual travellers in bus shelters loitered or, homeless, leant on roughcut Yellowstone sipping goons. The taxi rose up Wentworth Avenue. Hallem rested tired eyes on Hyde Park. Dellit’s Agora. They swerved in a giant arc onto Liverpool Street stymying a stream of pedestrians in front of the Burdekin Hotel. Someone swore at them. They freewheeled down Liverpool Street. Red lights bleated in wiry white curtains along a row of cheap terraces. Madames offered their rind. Shemale street walkers scattered along Darlinghurst Road. The taxi reached the shattered lego of Saint Vincent’s Hospital. Tom Hallem called halt. “I want to clear my head,” he said. Time to get into character. He spondulicks had. He extracted Leer’s ill-gotten notes. Sponc. A nixer. Redistribution of wealth. This motif inverts Bloom’s retention of the bulk of Stephen’s salary. The younger man is a thief, albeit extracting tribute from a false father. Dublin like Sydney had experienced the dead hand of British oppression. Payback was long overdue. It had been the fifth largest city in Europe in Georgian times. By 1904, there was virtually monopoly trade with Britain. The first visit of the Famine Queen to Ireland for thirty-seven years was to drum up fodder for the Boer fight. Joyce was inevitably close to the battle for Irish independence by virtue of his family connections. “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” is set on the anniversary of Parnell’s death. The dinner scene in PAYM clearly discloses Joyce’s political allegiance. His friend, George Clancy – Michael Davin in PAYM – was arrested in 1916 during the composition of Ulysses. He went on to become Mayor of Limerick but was murdered by Black and Tans in 1921. Joyce desperately wanted to do justice to his friends and family with his great work. He felt that art lived in the vanguard of rebellion and reform, like a Constructivist or Suprematist artist in Russia. Ulysses should always be seen as a tract. This work doesn’t have the same graphic sweep. Australia is a mild nation. Yet it embarked on its best series of economic and social reforms since Federation in 1984. Characters are negotiating the revitalisation of a redundant economy over the course of the day. Joyce dealt more extensively with the reality of Dublin’s economy in PAYM compared to Ulysses. The opening scene of Chapter Five is a brilliant depiction of life in a failing household as Stephen eats the dregs of breakfast, sorts through pawn tickets and is bathed by his mother. This strain is tempered in Ulysses by the fact that the text is confined to a single day when Stephen is flush with a full month’s salary. We can’t register the full extent of his profligacy. He will descend quickly back into poverty, denying any aid to his sisters. In addition, Leopold Bloom is a solid provider who maintains a middle-class household with all its accoutrements and pretensions, albeit with piecemeal and heavily competed work. Many young characters are living on the Dole in TMAC. Jobs are scarce. Ana has a temporary position cleaning railway carriages. Low-level drug-dealing is common. Professionals are doing well. The art market is buoyant. Gambling on the Melbourne Cup reached record levels in 1984. Yet there are cracks in the machine. Elizabeth is over-leveraged. Penelope Hallem is trying to attract new clients. She has been threatened with redundancy from Besley’s Stationery if the downturn persists. She is cultivating a wealthy local businessman, Dick Stone. Stan Welles is trying to pull off a big deal with foreign investors to prop-up WIG. His sons act as poles. One lives on welfare hand-outs from a family trust. The other displays all the signs of stress from trying to hold a family business together. He is unpredictable, bombastic, coarse and cruel. He uses money as a tool. This is not just a function of resentment at his illegitimacy. Shakespeare was more complex in his characterisations. In King Lear, the central struggle between the brothers is physical, economic and political. The tragedy assesses the merits of inherited wealth against the self-made man. Only if the nobility gets real-life experience, implies Shakespeare, can they take their place as national leaders. That is the message of Edgar’s odyssey. He must be tempered by a FALL and remake himself from the flattest conceivable base. By contrast, Edmond is ultimately undone by his over-indulgence in intrigue. He gets stuck in a power/sex bubble and consumed. Joyce was determined to NEVER let his work lose its political edge. He would never have been satisfied with esoteric greatness like Proust. Ulysses was a revolutionary work in all senses. I can never compete with that. Just showcase the abandon of Sydney’s cultural elite in Chapter Nine. Tom told the driver to keep the change from ten. They parted on good terms. He commenced crossing the overpass. This is a simple symbol. A Rubicon moment. Tom passes back to the business side of art. This puts him squarely in the same camp as Edmund Welles. He is jettisoning friends and family. The tightrope walker falls alone. This is quite different to the status of Stephen Dedalus when he leaves Ulysses. Talking with Bloom is seen by critics as a breakthrough for Stephen in both his development as a person and career. He witnesses Bloom’s no-strings empathy. He is impressed by the apparent commitment to decency and candour of the older man. Bloom is careful and attentive, in contrast to most characters in Ulysses who misunderstand, goad, abuse or dismiss Stephen. Of course, Bloom is leading a double-life. He is an adulterer and cheat. But as far as this story goes, Stephen’s search on this day is, for this day at least, laid to rest. Regardless of whether he later capitalises on this new personal connection (something left ambiguous at the end of Ithaca), this is the moment to which the text has been building. The noise of Dublin all day finally gives way to silence. As they leave the cabman’s shelter, Stephen allows himself to lean on Bloom as they walk toward his home. The climax of Joyce’s great epic is simply a moment of humane attentiveness, the basic kindness which will save us all. Thus, Stephen Dedalus leaves Ulysses on a note of hope. “Und alle Schiffe brucken,” he chimes at the end-point of Eumaeus in mangled German, altering Jeep’s refrain in Dulcia, “das Shiff in Ungluck bringt.” This is a polysemous linguistic pun by Joyce, predicting the intensified melding of languages in F(W)ake. Gifford notes that, literally, Stephen sings: ‘and all ships are bridged.’ But he really means ALL SHIPS BRIDGE. Clearly, this is a positive metaphor for the eventual making of human connections. Its direct source comes from the phrase, ‘Schiffebrucken uber den Hellespont,’ in the German translation of Herodotus, referring to Xerxes construction of floating bridges between the Dardanelles (Troy) and Thrace in 480 BC. It brings together the two methods for humans to negotiate water: by transport upon and by dry passage over. Ships like the Rosevean in C3 pass underneath bridges (unless they hit a pylon and become ‘bridged’ as per Corley’s tale earlier in C8). The command centres of ships are also known as bridges. The phrase thus contains both direct reference as well as indirect resonance to the maritime themes of the Odysseus myth. It closes the emotional loop for Stephen Dedalus, who talked about piers as “disappointed bridges” in C1. At the end of his appearance in the novel then, Stephen is able to move from an isolated image and pun about a pier to a sincere, euphoric affirmation of the communality of a bridge. The significance of an apparently oblique joke all the way back at the start of the novel is now revealed at the end. Stephen is no longer “disappointed.” He has moved from feeling like a jetty to “becoming” as a conduit. Joyce must have been delighted to recall Dulcia as he wrote Ulysses. You really need to read all four verses of Jeep’s lyric but Don Gifford has translated the key section thus: “From the Sirens’ craftiness / Poets make poems / That they with their loveliness / Have drawn many men into the sea / For their song resounds so sweetly, / That the sailors fall asleep, / The ship is brought into misfortune, / And all becomes evil.” This passage clearly alludes to the Sirens episode. It is the perfect musical accompaniment to the Odysseus myth in terms of Joyce’s own theories of art. He becomes the Baudelaire of Modernism. This is the last time that Joyce has a formal character quotation in Ulysses. From this point, he uses Q&A in Ithaca and Molly’s internal monologue in Penelope. Thus, the last SPOKEN WORD utterance in Ulysses is the plural form of BRIDGES in German … sung.
REFLECTIONS IN A STILL POOL | LOOP
How does the Eumaeus episode end in the “Odyssey”?
Tom Hallem walks towards EA Times. Elizabeth is waiting at the threshold. Odysseus reveals himself to Telemachus in Book Sixteen. Eumaeus leaves the compound. Athena draws Odysseus outside. She touches him with a wand. He receives an instant makeover. His son perceives him to be a god. But Odysseus answers: “I am not a god … I am your own father, the very man for whose sake you have grieved long and borne much and suffered the violence of men.” This is the most moving moment in Classical literature. As the last of the great texts about the last hero, it can be seen as the climax of the entire Classical enterprise. The Gods now subside. The chilling time-clock of human mutability steps into the spotlight. Joyce never attempted to compete with the pathos of this exchange in Ulysses. He just let Stephen go.
It is impossible to put the interaction between Bloom and Dedalus into the same category. Leopold Bloom assumes a much more equivocal role as a father-figure. There is no revelation in Ulysses. Joyce is considered by most critics to have insinuated Bloom into the role of Odysseus. I would argue that Bloom is semi-assessed for this role and rejected by Stephen Dedalus in a straight shoot-out with his genetic father. Bloom is mild, measured and intellectually constrained. He cannot sing or drink. Stephen has no way to respect Bloom. He hardly even knows the man. He is just a slight acquaintance of his father. Stephen mocks Bloom’s utopian vision of Ireland. There is nothing he finds more galling than political naivety. It is even worse than bad art. By contrast, Simon Dedalus – like John Joyce – was an extreme character with a pungent wit and virile mind who exhibited a clown’s loneliness and a drunk’s lack of shame. Stephen – like James Joyce – identified strongly with his father. He must have found Bloom lame in comparison. For all his sins, Simon Dedalus will always remain Stephen’s father. James Joyce carried his father’s portrait across Europe loyally almost as a talisman. There is no doubt about paternity as there is with me, Odysseus and even Telemachus. For better and worse, but mainly worse, he is his son’s role model. They are both self-obsessed figures squandering funds, borrowing freely, getting drunk, abusive, abused, comical, the butt of jokes and always desperate to please. They seek out any stage where they can cast off their inhibitions and go crazy. They act like fools for the entertainment of cynical boon companions. They soak up jibes that come their way timorously. They crave human attachment. But it can never be achieved due to their fundamental self-hate. They reject family. They have no true friends. They are cultural insiders who have become outsiders by will. Bloom is actually much closer to being an insider in Dublin by the end of Ulysses. He has conducted daily life effectively. He has interacted with integrity with other people. He has provided munificence and comfort. He is largely selfless. He is flawed in a different way. A secret sinner. A furtive type. An EVERYMAN across the full range of human traits. Simon and Stephen Dedalus by contrast see themselves as anything but ‘everymen.’ They want to be larger than life. They are wide open and always on display. Indeed, their paths around Dublin are remarkably similar. Stephen’s Telemachiad is recognised as a core part of the plot of Ulysses but there is a SHADOW journey undertaken by his father further around Dublin on that day which remains largely undisclosed. He is always adjacent to his son at all times in the plot. Occasionally, he bobs to the surface. But he never comes into focus. Simon Dedalus is the ghost of Odysseus on Ithaca. He is Hamlet’s father lurking on the parapets. At the end of the novel, Stephen Dedalus walks away from Bloom to go find the swineherd’s hut. This will be his father’s latest rented house in the relentless downwards spiral of his family. Eumaeus is the lowest of the low. That is where the real re-union of father and son in Ulysses will finally take place.
183 SCRIBBLER: The Eumaeus episode concerns the return of Odysseus to Ithaca. It is the beginning of Chapter III of Ulysses. Now Bloom is himself again, as Cibber said of Rich. He has recovered from the hallucinations of Circe. Bloom and Stephen are alone at last. They take sustenance in a cabman’s shelter. An old seaman tells apocryphal tales. They proceed towards Bloom’s home. Always revert to the following themes – family, homecoming, imposters, deception. Insert idioms. Detach emotions through convolution. Employ Euphuism (see Lyly). This style involves extended verbiage; self-contradiction; narrative redundancy; recycled language; misplaced phrases; puns, clichés, errors and inconsistencies; rhetorical questions. Blend techniques from different episodes. Selective use of Strine. Also misspelling and misnaming. Mix first person (direct but limited to single POV), multiple first person (broader) and third person narrative (boundless POV). Disrupt chronology (XF/SD, TH). Note that Eumaeus in Ulysses is set after midnight. Here, it is still early evening. Make Shanghai Dog prominent in this episode. He represents Odysseus back on Ithaca. Judy = Circe. Xiao Fang (Su) is Calypso. Bring out the sadness in this equation. Allusions to Narcissus reflect the basic self-possession of all characters in Eumaeus in both Ulysses and the Odyssey. They interact productively – and may even become closer in spirit – but there are no true emotional connections. In fact, all revelations make them more self-focused. This annotation represents a segue with C7. It is the last footnote.
Table 11. Word counts of famous literature (edition not specified)
Le Temps Perdu
Poor Fellow My Country
War and Peace
The Brothers Karamazov
The Sun Also Rises
Term of His Natural Life
Portrait of the Artist