Sunday, 11 April 2021

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Online reading on Thursday, 1 April 2021 (11.224)

The reading stopped at "None nought said nothing. Yes."(11.224)


Joyce not only gave the name Sirens to the 11th episode of Ulysses but also defined music as its art. Music is present here in various forms; not just in the terminology, songs, arie, references to musical instruments, choice of verbs used but equally prominently in the structure of the episode. There are fragments of sentences that resemble fragments of musical motives, leitmotivs. (Example: Imperthnthn thnthnthn (11.2).) Music also connects Joyce’s Ulysses to Homer’s Odyssey.

The previous episode ended with a recapitulating of the 'rocks' we had encountered wandering around Dublin. This episode starts, on the other hand,  with 63 fragments of sentences. This part, serving as the introduction to the episode, is like the overture of a musical composition introducing leitmotivs that reoccur. It is fun to recognise them as one gets further into the episode.

The ‘concert hall’ is the bar of the Ormond hotel. The ‘concert’ begins at 4 pm. From the streets of Dublin encountered in Wandering Rocks, the previous episode, we have moved to the inside of the bar of the Ormond hotel. The major musicians here are the two barmaids - bronze-haired, Ms. Douce and gold-headed, Ms. Kennedy -, Lenehan, Boylan, Simon Dedalus, Father Cowley, Ben Dollard, and of course our Bloom!

 (Excerpted from Ulysses for the Uninitiated)

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Online reading on Thursday, 25 March 2021 (10.1236)

The last reading stopped mid-paragraph at: “made haste to reply.” (10.1236) 

Please note that the reading will continue over Easter: The group is convening as usual on April 1, Maundy Thursday (Gr√ľndonnerstag).

Next we meet Mulligan and Haines, sitting in D. B. C. (Dublin Bakery Company) enjoying melange with real Irish cream. They are talking about Stephen. Mulligan declares his personal judgement on Stephen: “He can never be a poet. . . . ” (10.1074) and adds, “He is going to write something in ten years (10.1089).  Mulligan's prophecy that Stephen is going to write something in ten years must be noted in conjunction with two dates: the year (1904) Joyce assigns as the year of his Ulysses and the year (1914) in which he starts to write Ulysses. Another hint that Stephen is the alter ego of J. J.

We also meet some Dubliners, whom we had met in earlier episodes: Stephen's teacher, Almidano Artifoni,  Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tindall Farrell,  and a blind stripling. 

The most engaging and moving section of the entire episode is the one where we meet Master Patrick Aloysius Dignam, whose father was buried just that morning. We experience death and its effects from the eyes and minds of a young boy. Seeing schoolboys, young Dignam wonders whether they notice that he is in mourning. He recalls how his dead father looked: His face got all grey instead of being red like it was and there was a fly walking over it up to his eye (10.1161)The finality of death strikes the young fellow when he thinks, that he will never see him again. Death, that is. Pa is dead. My father is dead (10.1169). Young Dignam finally hopes that his father is in purgatory now because he went to confession to Father Conroy on Saturday night (10.1173). 

The last section of the episode summarizes the passing of the viceroy's cavalcade through Dublin and how the Dubliners we encountered in this episode react to the sight of the viceroy and his cavalcade. Some of them greet the viceroy. Some of the greeters are noticed by those in the cavalcade, and some like Thomas Kernan are not. Some like Young Dignam, whose father was buried that morning, see the cavalcade but do not recognize the personages inside. Some like Mr Breen salute the wrong carriage!

 (Excerpted from Ulysses for the Uninitiated)

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Online reading on Thursday, 18 March 2021 (10.981)

The reading stopped at "... Parliament street." (10.981)


On this morning Tom Kernan is on his rounds to get orders for Tea. He has already secured an order for Pulbrook Robertson, his employer, and now he is talking to Mr Crimmins, a tea, wine and spirits merchant. After exchanging comments on the disaster of the ship, General Slocum, on the East River, in New York, the day before, and enjoying a thimbleful of his best gin before securing an order for Tea, Kernan continues on his way. Immersed in thoughts he misses a cavalcade that passes. 

We soon meet Stephen. Where Stephen is, there is the talk of literature and philosophy. Classical literature, Greek philosophy. And here it has many echoes from earlier episodes. Passing on along the powerhouse and Clohissey's book shop, he stops to look at the books displayed on a cart when Dilly comes along. She has just spent a penny she got from her father and bought a coverless book on French grammar. Stephen, looking at her,  thinks how she resembles him. He feels sorry for her but does not do anything to help his little sister.

Later we meet Simon Dedalus and Father Cowley. (We had met another “Father”, Father Conmee, earlier in the episode.) Father Cowley’s is another portrait of the poverty prevalent at the time in Dublin. He owes money to his landlord and others. So two men are at his back to make him pay. As Father Cowley has no way of paying off his debts, he is waiting for Ben Dollard, who he hopes will get these bailiffs off his back for a while. 

Martin Cunningham and Mr Power are also out, as is John Wyse Nolan, who has a list of donations for Patrick Dignam's family. Bloom also enters the picture here though not in person. He had put his name down for five shillings (10.974). And had in fact put down [paid] the five shillings too (10.975). Seeing this, John Wyse Nolan quotes from act 1, scene 3rd of The Merchant of Venice, saying, “There is much kindness in the jew” (10.980). We realize then that this act of Bloom is acknowledged by others as a real kind one.

We also become here aware of new faces. Among these are Miss Kennedy and Miss Douce, whom we meet again in the Ormond hotel in Sirens, episode 11.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Online reading on Thursday, 11 March 2021 (10.716)

The last reading stopped at: “sister Monica!” (10.716)


We meet on these pages many more Dubliners: Tom Rochford, Nosey Flynn, Lenehan, M'Coy, Bloom, Dilly and Simon Dedalus, among others.

We follow the conversation between Lenehan and M'Coy as they walk down Sycamore street. Of the two, Lenehan is the one who has many tales to tell. To start with, he is full of praise for Tom Rochford, who had once gone down a manhole to rescue a worker stuck inside. They think of the Gold cup horse race that was to take place that afternoon at Ascot Heath. Under Merchant's arch, they see a darkbacked figure scanning books on the hawker's cart (10.521). This glimpse of Mr Bloom inspires Lenehan to quote the song, Leopoldo or the Bloom is on the Rye. He also recites in great detail how once he had shared a ride late at night with Bloom and his wife after the annual dinner at Glencree reformatory. Lenehan's description of how every jolt the bloody car gave had her bumping up against (10.558) him leaves M'Coy unmoved damping Lenehan's spirits.

We also observe how our Bloom turns over idly pages of many books in a shabby bookshop before deciding to buy for Molly the book, Sweets of Sin for Molly.

We see Dilly Dedalus waiting for her father in front of Dillon's auction rooms. We had known from an earlier scene with Katey, Maggy and Boody Dedalus that Dilly had gone to meet their father. Dilly wants to get some money from him. When Simon Dedalus finally turns up there, he tries at first to distract Dilly from her intentions. On being asked directly whether he got any money, he tells her, “There is no-one in Dublin would lend me fourpence (10.669).” But Dilly is an old hand at this game. She manages to extract a shilling and two pennies from her father. Simon Dedalus, not charmed by his daughter's insistence, walks off, murmuring to himself. After he hands over two copper pennies to Dilly, telling her, “Get a glass of milk for yourself and a bun or something (10.706)”, and walks muttering to himself about little nuns ... little sister Monica (10.716) - a reference to Sz. Monica's almshouse -, the viceregal cavalcade passes.

 (Excerpted from Ulysses for the Uninitiated)

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Online reading on Thursday, 4 March 2021 (10.396)

The last reading stopped at: “after five.” (10.396)

Summaries provided on this site are written by Chandra Holm. Please note that no summary will be posted this week. Thank you for your understanding!

Friday, 26 February 2021

Online reading on Thursday, 25 February 2021 (10.127)

The last reading stopped at: “smiled tinily, sweetly.” (10.127) 


Whereas the previous episode was one replete with heavy discussions, echoes and allusions, this one has movement as its main feature. It feels like a breath of fresh air after the heaviness of the vaulted cell (9.345), the room in the National Library. The episode, named aptly as Wandering Rocks, is highly cinematic. Here all kinds of people are walking around in Dublin; the paths of many, if not all, cross.

In the Odyssey of Homer, the sorceress Circe tells Odysseus of the ‘Wandering Rocks’ or ‘Roving Rocks’ that have only been successfully passed by the Argo when homeward bound. These rocks smash ships and the remaining timbers are scattered by the sea or destroyed by flames. The rocks lie on one of two potential routes to Ithaca; the alternative, which is taken by Odysseus, leads to Scylla and Charybdis (

In Joyce's Ulysses, the 'Wandering Rocks' seem quite harmless though. Apart from the very reverend John Conmee S. J. (he is the first one we meet), a bevy of 'rocks' are wandering on this day in Dublin: Corny Kelleher, constable 57C, a onelegged sailor, Ned Lambert, J. J. O'Molloy, Katey, Boody and Maggy Dedalus, Blazes Boylan, Almidano Artifoni, Stephen, Miss Dunne, a blond salesgirl, and a clergyman among others . . . 

 (Excerpted from Ulysses for the Uninitiated)