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Read Eumaeus

Bloom and Stephen take refuge in a cabman’s shelter possibly run by one Fitzharris, or “skin-the-goat,” the driver of the getaway vehicle in the Phoenix Park murders carried out by a band of nationalists known as the Invincibles in 1882. As Bloom tries to sober up Stephen with a stale bun and bad coffee, he also tries to forge a stronger connection with him. He sees in Stephen the young man his dead son might have become, and deplores the severance between Stephen and his own father, Simon. As Bloom works over this new relationship and its possibilities, he and Stephen are regaled with (tall) tales by a returned sailor with the alias W. B. Murphy. When Fitzharris joins in the conversation, and the topic turns to nationalism, Parnell, and infidelity, Bloom decides he and Stephen should leave.

Stylistically, “Eumaeus” returns us to the realms of interior monologue and stream of consciousness, as well as quasi-realism. The interaction between Bloom and Stephen resumes centre stage, and the prose gets correspondingly less opaque though there remain more than enough misdirections, misidentifications, and misunderstandings to keep things interesting.

Read “Eumaeus” now.

Read Circe

Bloom and Stephen, accompanied by Lynch, have made their way to Nighttown, the red-light district of Dublin. The hour is late – approximately midnight – and the whores are plying their trade in full voice. Bloom buys a sheep’s trotter and a crubeen (pig’s foot) from a butcher’s shop and is nearly run over by a tram in the street. The bulk of the chapter is taken up with Bloom’s visions, in which he is repeatedly and alternatingly put on trial for obscene thoughts and deeds, and celebrated as a hero – perhaps even the messiah himself. Bloom’s deepest desires and kinks are explored here, Read more

Read Oxen of the Sun

In the Maternity Hospital, Bloom runs into Dixon, the doctor who had treated him for bee sting a couple of weeks previously. Dixon invites Bloom to join him and some other medical students at a party within. There, Bloom again encounters Stephen, who leads a winding discussion about fertility, contraception, abortion, the rights of the mother versus those of the child, and the Church’s position on all of them. Bloom drinks but little, while the others get very drunk. All the while, Mina Purefoy labours in a room above, her cries and occasional admonishments from the nurses disrupting the party and dampening down its boisterousness. Mulligan appears again, with Haines the Englishman in tow; he will lose Stephen at the tram station en route to Nighttown later in the night, and not appear again. At last Dixon is called for: the baby boy is born, and the partying crowd rush out into the streets on their way to Burke’s pub for last call. “Oxen of the Sun” is divided into nine sections, each corresponding roughly to a month in the gestation of the human embryo. Stylistically, it is even more various, beginning with pre-English Latinate sentences, and proceeding through Anglo-Saxon alliterative lines, a range of medieval, early modern, reformation, eighteenth-century, gothic, sentimental, and realist styles before culminating in the apparent collapse of style altogether into nonsense with the arrival of the twentieth century.

Read “Oxen of the Sun” now.

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.