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Read Nausicaa

In “Nausicaa” Bloom takes a quiet interlude on the beach at Sandymount, the same beach on which Stephen meditated in “Proteus.” Cissy Caffrey, with her two younger brothers Tommy and Jacky; Edy Boardman with her baby and Gertie McDowell are also on the beach. Gertie and Bloom indulge simultaneous fantasies about each other as the others move off to view a fireworks display. Gertie casts hers in terms of romance fiction, leaning back farther and farther to let the dark, sad (he is in mourning) stranger have a clear view of her legs and eventually her knickers. Bloom, meantime, masturbates through his pants pocket as he looks on. As the fireworks climax, so does Bloom. Gertie settles her clothes and begins to leave, revealing to Bloom’s dismay/excitement that she is lame. Overcome with lassitude, Bloom lingers on the beach revisiting his first encounters with Molly and the events of his day. He falls asleep briefly, before repairing to Andrew Horne’s Lying-In (Maternity) Hospital to see whether an old acquaintance, Mina Purefoy, has delivered her latest baby yet.

Stylistically, “Nausicaa” provides the last respite from the varying difficulties of Joyce’s stylistic experiments by turning to the style of women’s magazines and romance literature. As a result, the prose is more limpid though the access it affords to characters’ interiority is compromised in turn. The second half of the chapter returns us to interior monologue and stream of consciousness, leaving behind the sort of transparency that makes parts of this chapter feel almost as if they do not belong inUlysses. From here on out, fasten your seat belts, place your seat backs and tray tables in the upright and locked position, and turn off all electronic devices: we are about to take off.

Amanda Hansen

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