Accounting for ULYSSES: Test Yourself!


Oh my word! If there’s one thing worse than trying to understand this book – it’s got to be doing my annual accounts. However money does factor heavily in the novel so we must all grit our teeth and test our knowledge of money matters in Joyce’s ULYSSES. Since I haven’t read the novel in its entirety you may possibly forgive my 1 out of 10 score! I know — I must do better, but I’ve a feeling Stephen would have been sympathetic to my plight. How will you get on? Continue on to our first quiz. Complete it successfully or miserably (like me) and who knows? We’ll more than likely do another. We think you’ll enjoy these quizzes and to be honest we’ve not accounted (geddit?) for you not enjoying them so get on with it and let us know how you do! Continue reading

The Lotus Eaters – The Thin Plot Thickens!

Ulysses-Soup-1I say the plot thickens – but possibly more in hope than actuality! As I glance across the desk at my 1922 the bookmark looks unpleasantly close to the front cover – and I had thought I was making good progress! Still a long way to go.

At any rate I now join Leopold Bloom as he makes another journey – this time primarily to the Post Office to collect a letter, which it turns out is addressed to one Henry Flower esq. I can only take from this that our Mr Bloom is having or has plans for some kind of affair – with a lady of the opposite sex no less. I maybe assuming wrongly but is it not intimated that Molly Bloom might have something to hide also? I’m more than happy for this to be the case as I am by now desperate for a story to hang my hat on.

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The Inevitable Final Movement!

Ulysses-Leo-1As I wend my merry way through this ocean of words I find myself pleased with my own ignorance of anything that might happen. You can only read a book for the first time once I think. I’ll never read this again. I’m sorry. I meant I’ll never read this again for the first time. I’ll never be surprised by it in the same way. But hold. I hear you cry “there’s so much more to be discovered!” I don’t doubt it. No. Wait. I do doubt it. But what’s to do? I’ll carry on and we shall see what we shall see.

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Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

ulysses_gunkI forge ahead, but shortly after entering the forbidding jungle of meaning that is Chapter III, or part the third, or as I am reluctant to call it Proteus (I say reluctant as it seems the unnecessary addition of just one more word that escapes my understanding), I at last feel some sympathy for those who have indeed given up, lain down and expired on this Joycean journey.

Green Hell. I think it may be safe to say that everyone has a threshold for ‘this kind of thing’ and I can’t help feeling the desire for a sort of game-show type scenario (as at right) whereby readers are eliminated one by one. I myself have the uncomfortable feeling I’m about to take a short fall into the tank of gunge at any moment.

However, sheer meanness at the thought of wasting money prevents me from hurling the 1922 out of the nearest window. I am not a man to be defeated so easily. Well, not today anyway.

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School Dazed

ulysses_pyrrhusI plunge forward into Chapter Two, helpfully untitled – though I’ll get into all that later – in which we find Stephen apparently teaching Ancient History to a class of boys who seem to have uppermost in their minds a fast approaching game of hockey. At least the history gives me a chance to look up Pyrrhus, which I’ll admit I didn’t immediately recognise as the root of that familiar phrase “a Pyrrhic victory”, but which must have some relevance to Stephen’s state of mind. In this chapter we get to hear his thoughts as they tumble from one subject to the next, but all coloured by the same underlying theme.

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More Beginnings Than Endings

c_a001I’m sitting back on my first chapter and it’s good to make a start. Legend has it that this novels has many levels and more than a few nooks and crannies to explore – that might be the understatement of the year, but I’ll let you who have been there already be the judge of that. I’m thinking that this first chapter may be lulling me into a false sense of security as in itself it didn’t seem terribly difficult to read. I’m fairly sure I’m not picking up everything but it began and ended and made some familiar narrative sense, so I’m grateful for that at least.

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Where to Begin?

evo-1Where to begin indeed? I keep hearing that this Ulysses book is one of the most, if not the most, difficult novel in the English language! Hmmm! Difficult in what way? Difficult to read? Difficult to understand? Difficult to appreciate? All slightly different questions surely? As I said before somewhere – it is only one word after another. It is – isn’t it? It’s not, like … backwards or anything? It’s not in a made-up language like Nadsat or Elfin?

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The Linati Schema

19041There are many different ways to enter the labyrinth of Joyce’s text and, challenging bastard that he was, Joyce often left many well-intended but ultimately false breadcrumb trails for us to foolishly follow while he sat safely in the the shade of a forest elm  laughing at our academic and misguided assurances of correct navigation. He was, at the end of the day, a genius-prankster, a terribly devious minister of his own sense of modernism, who never missed out on the opportunity to lead pilgrims astray. Hell, he longed for that opportunity and set about finding more and more ways to reach it in the new and uncharted waters of “a fully modern novel.”

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Twitter for novels?

twitter-reading I’m not so sure about how I feel about this growing phenomenon, but I’d be ridiculously short-sighted to not have thought about it.

Twitter is, to my mind, a really perfectly balanced tool for many aspects of new media at the moment but, like facebook before it, twitter may easily take on a Walmart approach to buying and selling in high volume; to my mind that’s  the hell that any good new media application eventually starts building the low-cost paving stones for.

Twitter is no way to read a novel, but an undeniably fresh and arguably useful way to market one. Will this new approach to web 3.0 (god, I hate that term) mean that book groups can exist and thrive in an on-line environment better than they can from localized chapters of O Magazine subscribers? Will tweet-talk replace Thursday night at the local coffeeshop? And would that really be so bad if it did?