Sunday, 15 March 2020


Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, all reading groups are suspended until further notice.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 (6.707)

The last reading stopped at: “stared ahead.” (6.707)

Bloom and others have arrived at the Prospect cemetery. Among the many mourners we meet here are - apart from Dignam's elder son, brother in law - Ned Lambert, Corny Kelleher (who works for an undertaker), Father Coffey (Bloom recalls that he knew his name was like a coffin), Tom Kernan (a tea merchant), John Henry Menton (a solicitor for whom Dignam used to work), John O'Connell (superintendent of the cemetery), and a chap in the macintosh, etc.

These funeral service and burial are interspersed with Bloom's internal monologues. (One of the signature features of Ulysses is the use of internal monologue. Of Bloom, of Stephen, and most famously of Molly in the final episode.) While the other mourners are busy with small talk, Bloom is occupied with his own thoughts. Of widowhood (of Victoria and Albert), about how Dignam's wife and children would manage their life now, about the cause of the swollen belly of the priest, of the rituals of the funeral service, of the effect of reading the prayer in Latin, of none of it mattering to the person who is dead, about the superintendent's life, about the economy of using a separate coffin for every dead person, about what happens to the body that is buried and the soil in which it is buried, about the organ called the heart (A pump after all, pumping thousands of gallons of blood every day. One fine day it gets bunged up: and there you are) . . .

That Bloom is an outsider in the Dublin society is underlined here once again when one of the participants at the funeral, John Henry Menton, asks Kelleher, pointing to Bloom, "Who is that chap ...?" He knew Bloom's wife, Marion Tweedy. Remembering her to have been a good armful, John Henry Menton wonders what did she marry a coon like that for.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Tuesday, 3 March 2020 (6.543)

The last reading stopped at: “laugh at him now” (6.543)

Mr Bloom, Martin Cunningaham, Simon Dedalus and Mr Power travel in a creaking carriage to the funeral of Patrick Dignam. Bloom tries often to make conversation. He starts telling the awfully good one about Reuben J and the son. But everybody in the carriage already knows that story. Anyway this leads to the topic of death, to committing suicide, ... Martin Cunningham tries to stop others expressing their opinions about suicidal death as he knows that Bloom's father had taken his own life. Realising this, Bloom is grateful to Cunningham. Seeing a tiny coffin passing by, Bloom is once again reminded of his son, Rudy, who did not live long after birth.
After passing the statue of the hugecloaked Liberator (Daniel O'Connell) and Nelson's pillar, after coming to a temporary halt because of a herd of cattle being driven, and passing again the stonecutter's yard, the house where Samuel Childs was murdered, the group finally reach the cemetery. While getting down from the carriage, Bloom manages to move the soap from his hip pocket to the inner pocket. They enter the gates of the cemetery making small talk.

(Summarized from the book, Ulysses for the Uninitiated.)

Statue of Daniel O'Connell

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 (6.241)

The last reading stopped at: “expresses that.” (6.241)

Episode 6, Hades

It is finally time to leave for Patrick Dignam's funeral. Bloom enters the creaking carriage that was to take him, Martin Cunningham, Mr Power and Mr Dedalus. There are many hints in this episode to underline the fact that Bloom is an outsider in the Dublin society.
They all attempt to make conversation during the ride to the Prospect cemetery. But whatever Bloom says does not seem to interest the others. There is also little seriousness in the carriage. For instance, Mr Dedalus gets quite angry just by being told that his son and heir was passing by because he imagines his son, Stephen, in the company of Buck Mulligan, whom he refers to as a contaminated bloody double dyed ruffian by all accounts. Bloom, who witnesses this outburst, feels that he understands the feeling of the father as he himself had a son Rudy, who unfortunately lived only for a few days. The thought of his death makes Bloom think of the moment of conception of his son. Must have been that morning in Raymond terrace she was at the window watching the two dogs at it by the wall of the cease to do evil.
Just when Bloom thinks, he's coming in the afternoon, the others see and greet Blazes Boylan whom they pass. This leads to Mr Power enquiring Bloom about madame and the coming concert tour. They talk about the singers (Louis Werner, J. C. Doyle, John MacCormack) who are to participate in the tour.

(Summarized from the book, Ulysses for the Uninitiated.)

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Tuesday, 18 February 2020 (5.542)

The last reading stopped at: “God speed scut.” (5.542)

After getting rid of M'Coy, Bloom moves on, and comes near the open backdoor of All Hallows and enters the church. (All Hallows aka St. Andrew's is a Roman Catholic church on Westland Row.) The paragraphs that follow describing Bloom's observing the rituals which are being conducted involving members of a sodality, and his reactions to what he sees are some of the most hilarious paragraphs in Ulysses.

When the mass is finished, Bloom decides to leave before a person comes around with the collection plate. Outside, noticing that there is still enough time before Dignam's funeral starts, Bloom decides to go to the pharmacy, Sweny's in Lincoln place to get a lotion Molly wants. As he had not bought a bottle with him, Bloom tells the pharmacist to make up the recipe and that he will collect it later in the day. 

As he comes out, he hears the voice of Bantam Lyons hailing him.
Lyons wants to have a look at the newspaper Bloom is carrying. When Bloom tells him to keep the newspaper as he was going to throw it away that moment, Bantam Lyons leers, thrusts the newspaper back at Bloom and rushes off. Bloom does not understand his behaviour. Neither do we at this moment. But it will help not to forget this incidence.

Bloom walks with his soap to the baths around the corner from Lincoln Place. 

(Summarized from the book, Ulysses for the Uninitiated.)

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Tuesday, 11 February 2020 (5.287)

The last reading stopped at: To keep it up.” (5.287)


Mr Bloom leaves his house. He is to attend Patty Dignam's funeral at quarter to (4.549) that morning which means that he has enough time to do other things before going to the funeral. Sauntering along, he passes John Rogerson's quay, Windmill Lane, Lime street, Westland row etc., sees shops such as the Belfast and Oriental Tea Company (5.19) and meets/sees people - for example, the boy and the girl near Brady's cottages (5.5).
He goes into a post office and produces a card on which his name is given as Henry Flower (5.62) and gets a letter waiting for him. Before he could open it outside the post office, M'Coy hails him. Bloom has no interest in stopping and exchanging small talk with M'Coy but cannot get rid of him. As M'Coy stays on to chat, Bloom's attention is distracted by two people waiting near an outsider (a two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage) drawn up before the door of the Grosvenor (5.98) hotel. While Bloom is busy observing and admiring the rich silk stockings (5.122) of the woman and wondering from which side she will get into the carriage, M'Coy continues to talk explaining how he heard of Dignam's passing away. If she would in fact get into the carriage from the side he can see, Bloom would get to see her ankles as she would have to lift her skirt up to get into the carriage! But that does not happen as a heavy tramcar (5.131) goes by blocking his view just as she gets into the carriage! M'Coy finally moves away after telling Bloom, "My missus has just got an engagement. At least it's not settled yet" (5.148) and asking him to put down his name at Patty Dignam's funeral if he is not there because the drowning case at Sandycove may turn up (5.171). We had heard of the drowning case in episode 1.
Bloom is finally left in peace. He strolls towards Brunswick street. His eyes wander over the multicoloured hoardings (5.192) at the corner of Westland Row and Great Brunswick street. One of them is the playbill of the play Leah with Mrs Bandmann Palmer. (Mrs Bandmann Palmer (1845-1926) was a famous English actress.) Bloom recollects that she had played Hamlet the previous night. That a woman had played Hamlet, makes him wonder at first whether Hamlet was a woman. (Perhaps he was a woman. (5.196)) This thought leads to the next whether that was the reason that Ophelia committed suicide. Thinking of 'suicide' naturally makes Bloom remember his father, who had committed suicide.
Walking on, Bloom comes to a secluded spot near the Westland Row railway station, where he opens the letter he had collected earlier at the post office. The letter addressed to Henry Flower by Martha has a flower pinned to it. Now it is clear that Bloom is carrying on an affair under the assumed name of Henry Flower with Martha, whom he is yet to meet! Could meet one Sunday after the rosary (5.270). The pin which Martha has used brings back to his memory a song he had once heard, O, Mairy lost the pin of her drawers. . . (5.281)

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Tuesday, 4 February 2020 (end of episode 4)

The reading group has now reached the end episode 4 (“Calypso”).

He steps out after just pulling the door after him, without locking it. In the sunny morning, he walks in happy warmth, imagining some other place where it would be early morning as described in one of his books, in the track of the sun depicting a sunburst on the title page, then of the headpiece over the Freeman (a newspaper) leader of the homerule sun rising up in the northwest (4.103).
At the butcher's, he has to wait as the nextdoor girl gets served first. When it is his turn, Bloom wants to buy what he wants quickly so that he can catch up and walk behind her . . . , behind her moving hams (4.171). But outside, there is no sign of her. She is gone. Walking back along Dorset street, he reads the flyer of Agendath Netaim, planters' company, whose offices are at Bleibtreustrasse 34, Berlin, W.15. (4.190)
Back at home, Bloom finds that two letters and a card had come by post. One of the letters if from his daughter, Milly. The other letter is addressed to Mrs Marion Bloom (4.244). Taking up the breakfast tray to Molly,  who is still in bed, Bloom gives her the letter, and finds out that it is from Boylan, who will be bringing the programme (4.312). They are going to sing La ci darem and Love's Old Sweet Song (4.314). As Molly sips her tea, Bloom tries to explain to her the meaning of the word, metempsychosis (4.341) that she had found in the book she has been reading.
In the kitchen, he reads again Milly's letter, has his breakfast, feels a gentle loosening of his bowels (4.460). He goes to the toilet at the back of the garden, sits asquat on the cuckstool (4.500) and reads the story, Matcham's Masterstroke (4.502), by Mr Philip Beaufoy published in an old number of Titbits (4.467) he has taken with him. With the thought that he himself might manage a sketch (4.518), Bloom [tears] away half the prize story sharply and [wipes] himself with it (4.537)pulls up his pants and [comes] forth from the gloom into the air (4.539) as the bells of George's church (4.544) toll Heigho! Heigho! (4.506) . . .