Thursday, 28 July 2022

Online reading, 28 July 2022 (18.1313)

 The reading stopped at ". . .  wait by God . . . " (18.1313)


- There will be no reading next week on 4th August 2022.

- Reading of Penelope, episode 18, will resume on 11th August 2022 at regular time.

Summary will be posted in a couple of days!

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Online reading, 21 July 2022 (18.1148)

 The reading stopped at ". . .  down at Lahore . . . " (18.1148)


Though Bloom, Boylan and others enter and disappear from Molly's thoughts, it is Milly who occupies most of her mother's mind on these pages. Molly muses about her relationship with her daughter, the stormy time both went through when she was still at home, and how alike both are. Molly guesses that it was on account of her and Boylan that Bloom sent Milly away to Mullingar to work in a photo atelier. In a way she is even jealous of the intimacy between Bloom and Milly even though she knows that it would be to the mother Milly would turn if she has any problem.

Meanwhile without stating it explicitly, Molly has moved to the chamber pot, where she notices that her periods have started. She is glad that he didnt make her pregnant as big as he is but O how the waters come down at Lahore . . . 

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Online reading, 14 July 2022 (18.953)

Stopped at " . . . bee bit him . . ." (18.953)


Apart from Molly's musings about Mulvey and how she used to entice him (her blouse was open for his last day), these pages contain multiple hints to Molly and Bloom's financial situation. For instance, while musing about her boyfriends, imagining what her last name would have been if she had married Mulvey and deciding that having Bloom as her last name is better than having Breen, Molly, feeling some wind insider her - just as Bloom did at the end of Sirens, episode 11 - wishes for even a bath itself of her own room, at least own bed so that she would not have to feel his cold feet on her. Releasing the wind in pianissimo, Molly wonders whether it was the pork chop that caused it and decides to buy a nice piece of cod in the morning. She does not like eels because of their bones and she is sick of that everlasting butchers meat from Buckleys

There are also typical Molly-spellings on these pages: Vatican instead of viaticum, 18 carrot gold instead of 18 carat gold, consumption instead of consummation, place instead of plaice . . .  

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Online reading, 7 July 2022 (18.747)

The reading stopped at " . . . bottom of the ashpit." (18.747)


At this point, Molly is mainly concerned about female and male anatomy, love making, her earlier life in Gibraltar and her loneliness in Dublin.

She thinks of her breasts in particular and breasts in general (curious the way its made 2 the same in case of twins theyre supposed to represent beauty . . .) In any case, it is obvious that Molly does not care much for the anatomy of the male either (they hide it with a cabbageleaf . . .) Still she feels as if she is on fire and can hardly wait for Monday when Boylan is supposed to visit her again. 

Molly fondly remembers the Stanhope couple she was friends with while she lived in Gibraltar. Mrs Stanhope had given her books such as Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, East Lynne as well as The Shadow of Ashlydyat by Mrs Henry Wood and many more. Mr Stanhope, who was older than his wife was also awfully fond of Molly. After they left Gibraltar, Molly was quite lonely. She thinks of the letter she had got from Mrs Stanhope and her sending a frock from Paris. Molly feels quite lonely in Dublin too. So lonely that she posts letters to herself, letters containing only bits of paper in themWhen frseeeeeeeefronnnngthe whistling sound of a train interferes her thoughts, Molly wonders about the poor men that have to be out all the night from their wives and families in those roasting engines . . . In this she comes across as quite a sympathetic person, caring, like Bloom, for people in unenviable.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Online reading, 30 June 2022 (18.534)

 The reading stopped at " . . . Im sure you were . . . " (18.534)


Molly's stream of thoughts we read about on these pages focus mainly on her sexual exploits (Bloom, Boylan, her former boy friends like Gardner in Gibraltar, the incidence in the carriage while on the way home from the Glencree dinner), on her figure, on her singing talent and as well as on the limits imposed on her life by their financial situation.

She recalls an evening she spent with Bloom (before their marriage) when she should have been at home getting dinner for her father. She thinks of her upcoming trip to Belfast with Boylan, her shopping expeditions there with him (...  it would be exciting going round with him shopping buying those things in a new city ...). She does know that she could get into trouble going alone with Boylan (... they might bell it round the town in their papers or tell the papers ...) but could not care less about such gossiping people (... O let them all go and smother themselves for the fat lot I care ...) She would like kidfitting corsets to reduce flesh because as she says her belly is a bit too big. Molly too has had enough of the restrictions brought on their life due to lack of money (I always want to throw a handful of tea in the pot measuring and mincing ...). 

In the early hours of the morning, lying awake in bed next to a sleeping husband, Molly ruminates on these and various other things . . .

Monday, 27 June 2022

Online reading, 23 June 2022 (18.306)

 The reading stopped at " . . . waistcoat pocket . . . " (18.306)


In this part of episode 18, famously known as the Penelope episode, quite a bit is about having sex. Molly comes across as being quite modern, quite uninhibited, something that is remarkable during the early 20th century Catholic Dublin. Her thoughts turn to God, church, soul - and Bloom's scoffing at the idea of the existence of the soul - and naturally to Boylan. She thinks of their first encounter. After having spent the afternoon with him, she gives a detailed description of Boylan's anatomy. Her reminiscence of the afternoon end with the thought, nice invention they made for women for him to get all the pleasure but if someone gave them a touch of it themselves theyd know . . . , which refers to the pains of child birth. She remembers too the days of her courtship with Bloom, how he had given her a book by Byron and three pairs of gloves as gifts and how he used to beg her to give him a tiny bit cut off (from her) drawers, .... 

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Online reading, 2 June 2022 (17.2194)

The reading stopped at "... inevitable, irreparable." (17.2194)


From reminiscences of his father, Bloom's thoughts move on to a consideration of departing from Dublin and moving elsewhere, and then to thinking of forces that would render departure undesirable . . . He thinks of everything that had happened to him - albeit in reverse order -that day. But Ulysses would not have been Ulysses if Joyce had resisted the temptation of adding a rich layer to these seemingly banal events. Adding words in parentheses to the events of the day, Joyce transforms the day into a quasi-schematic Jewish liturgical calendar.

Finally Bloom enters the bedroom where his attention is immediately caught by new clean bedlinen, additional odours, the presence of a human form, female, hers, the imprint of a human form, male not his, . . . This observation leads to a long list of Molly's admirers, potential occupants of her bed, starting with Mulvey, whom she had known in Gibraltar, and ending with Boylan, who had occupied her bed that very afternoon. Bloom feels envy, jealousy, abnegation, equanimity at the thought of his having been the last occupant of the bed.

The paragraph that describes why/how Bloom feels equanimity is for me one of the most wonderful paragraphs of the novel. These reflections/descriptions elevate Bloom (the eternal outsider, the person who in many ways is quite naive, the one to whom people hardly listen to, the one who truly cares not only for Stephen but also for a Mrs. Purefoy in labour, the one who cares more for science than for nationalism, . . .) to a special level, differentiating him from ordinary mortals! The adultery Molly commits with Boylan is for Bloom an act that is very natural, that is more than inevitable. He reflects on various kinds of crimes that one could commit, that are more heinous than adultery in the world.

(Excerpted from Ulysses for the Uninitiated)