Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Third Connecting Link Between Them

Links and trivia for Bloomsday:

The text of Ulysses, all 264,942 words of it. (It doesn't say, but presumably this is the original, 1922 edition, not the revised text put out in 1984.)

Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses.

• The first ten spelling mistakes in Ulysses, according to the 2004 Microsoft Word dictionary working on the text linked above:
jesuit [should be capitalized]
But two of those are proper names, and two are part of a Latin sentence, so just for completeness's sake, here are four more:
And, yes, all 14 of those are flagged by blogger's spellcheck too. (As is "blogger's".)

• My first-ever post on this blog -- actually, my first three posts -- were five years ago today. So today is my five-year blogoversery. Happy blogoversery to me. (And yes, the third of those three posts was about the fact that it was Bloomsday -- actually, that's why I chose that day to finally start the blog I'd been contemplating.)

Ulysses: the comic. Hey, the did it with Proust, why not Joyce?

...This sounds ridiculous, I admit, but it's actually well done. I somewhat doubt if it will hold up as an independent work of art which happens to be an adaptation of another work (as so many great films are, and some great comics are too). But it is an interesting interpretation of Ulysses, read in conjunction with the text. Above all, I can imagine it being used by readers and entrance into a great but very difficult novel. For example, this page makes very vivid the sheer basics of what is happening (i.e. how Stephen is thinking as Buck is talking):

Compare that to the original text this adapts:
Buck Mulligan suddenly linked his arm in Stephen's and walked with him round the tower, his razor and mirror clacking in the pocket where he had thrust them.

—It's not fair to tease you like that, Kinch, is it? he said kindly. God knows you have more spirit than any of them.

Parried again. He fears the lancet of my art as I fear that of his. The cold steelpen.

—Cracked lookingglass of a servant! Tell that to the oxy chap downstairs and touch him for a guinea. He's stinking with money and thinks you're not a gentleman. His old fellow made his tin by selling jalap to Zulus or some bloody swindle or other. God, Kinch, if you and I could only work together we might do something for the island. Hellenise it.

Cranly's arm. His arm.

—And to think of your having to beg from these swine. I'm the only one that knows what you are. Why don't you trust me more? What have you up your nose against me? Is it Haines? If he makes any noise here I'll bring down Seymour and we'll give him a ragging worse than they gave Clive Kempthorpe.

Young shouts of moneyed voices in Clive Kempthorpe's rooms. Palefaces: they hold their ribs with laughter, one clasping another. O, I shall expire! Break the news to her gently, Aubrey! I shall die! With slit ribbons of his shirt whipping the air he hops and hobbles round the table, with trousers down at heels, chased by Ades of Magdalen with the tailor's shears. A scared calf's face gilded with marmalade. I don't want to be debagged! Don't you play the giddy ox with me!
The comic, it seems to me, clarifies for the beginning reader (of a difficult novel, even if that reader is a very advanced reader indeed) the order of events.

I was able to find my way into Ulysses because of a high-school trip to Ireland that took us on a tour of the James Joyce Museum in the Martello tower where the first episode of Ulysses is set. Being able to picture the place, physically, as I worked my way through the text helped me greatly. (Of course, around episode 7 I surrendered and took a (quite fabulous) class to help me. But the tower helped me get to that point.) I can easily imagine this comic doing likewise for other readers. (Not that that's all it's good for -- it's also a fabulous midrash on a fabulous text -- but that purpose above all seems valuable to me.)

The comic also includes reader's guides which talk about the text of the pages they show (here, for instance, is the one for the page shown above) which should help farther. A fascinating and fabulous project (with, I think, quite wonderful art to boot).

Good thing it's not the 1920's anymore, and this project won't be censored by anyone (unlike, that is, Joyce's original novel).

Ulysses censored again! Drat. So much for that. At least this time it's a 21st century censoring: not done by the Government, but by Apple... keeping it from the iPad and iPhone and iOtherstuff too presumably. This is the age of the free-market, folks: we outsource our censoring now.

So much for my getting an iPad.

• And yes, the title of this post is a quote from Ulysses. And yes, I'm lazy, and just searched the text for "link". Sue me.

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