08 April 2010

Past the quarter-mark

Stephen Dedalus spent the early afternoon regaling his friends with a number of wild theories about William Shakespeare. I'm just over the 200-page mark in Ulysses. The entire section is filled with wordplay, rhymes, and jokes. Buck Mulligan provides much of the silly banter, but also spots Leopold Bloom and makes anti-Semitic remarks about him. Mr Bloom is an acquaintance of Stephen's father, Simon, but unknown at this point in the story to Stephen. It seems like Joyce is cramming everything he knows into this one book--foreign languages, history, philosophy, politics--and taking every opportunity to show off his erudtion and arcane humor. I'm still surprised I'm enjoying the trip inside his head, as it is often tough going and impossible to follow. There's just something compelling about the whole thing. Perhaps when I'm done I'll understand why I took the plunge in the first place!

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