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Bloom’s Day 2010 – James Joyce, Ulysses And Me   Leave a comment

Bloom’s Day 2011 Blog Post Here


Today is (or was or will be)  June the sixteenth, 2010.   June sixteenth is Blooms Day wherein we celebrate James Joyce’s Ulysses. This massive missive is set in Dublin and takes place entirely on June 16, 1904.

Well, not completely on June the 16th, the last three  chapters  (including Molly Bloom’s soliloquy) take place during the wee hours of June the 17th.  You can hear the last chapter here . Molly actually delivered the speech in English not Spanish. But Spanish is SO much hotter! Molly Bloom of Ulysses is not to be confused with the banjo tune ‘Molly Bloom’ here played on guitar. Here is the last chapter in American English (just as the big dog intended). Still confused? One could do worse than to take a look at the overlooked Irish version of Joyce’s Ulysses, Bloom (2004). An excerpt can be seen here. Some say this work has to be seen to be believed, so here it is, one word at a time.

Joyce structured his Ulysses around Homer’s Odyssey and symbols therein (Dante’s Infernal, the Latin Catholic Mass and Hamlet  are also built heavenly into the work also) . Don’t know your Homer, you say.    Brush up by trying this 1954 movie, The Adventures of Ulysses. Kirk Douglas IS Ulysses. Still confused, try the comic book version. Even Firesign Theatre gets into the act. Their 1960’s records (RECORDS) are full of Joyce/Ulysses references. Most notably:  “Everything you know is Wrong” and   Don’t Crush that Dwarf Hand Me The Pliers“.

And he said the word,
(what was the word?)
Hot Dog!
and we ate it.
Hot Dog!
And what was the word?
Hot Dog!
Yes, Dear Friends:
A Might Hot Dog is Our Lord.
Hot Dog!

Ok Let’s get serious…

Literary Comments

“I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.”  James Joyce

Not everyone agrees that Ulysses is the greatest modern novel. No less a literary figure than Virginia Woof bad mouthed this work.   But, we will note that Virginia made her negative comments only after Joyce criticized her massive nose!  Joyce later stated later that he had been misquoted and claimed he actually said “knows” not nose.  D. H. Lawrence was also a critic.  The Poet  Yates and author Thomas Mann jumped to defend the work.

Freud, Jung and Campbell

In 1927, as a young Ph. D. student, Joseph Campbell traveled to Paris, obstetrically  to study Medieval Philosophy.  Ulysses had just been publish and had been quickly banned in both England and the United Snakes.  Paris was one of the few places where an English language version of Ulysses could be legally purchased.  The rest is history. Reading Ulysses changed Campbells intellectual path.   Campbell abandoned his academic studies and a book on Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake was one of Campbell’s first published works.  He was later to say (and we paraphrase because we have lost the reference): “Joyce seems to know every symbol and to have read every book.”  A late work collects Campbells writings and speeches related to Joyce, Ulysses and Shenanigan’s Wake :  Mythic Worlds, Modern Words.

I was jung and easily Freudened. Finnegan’s Wake

To see how much Campbell relates to Joyce compare Campbell’s schema for his “A Hero with a Thousand Faces” with the schema for “Finnegan’s Wake”. Questions?

Both Campbell and Joyce share a distrust of Freudian analytical methods and theory.   While Freud looks to the symbols of the dream to unlock the historical past of the individual, Campbell and Joyce look beyond the dream symbol to the unhistorical, everyman (or nobody’s) archetypes and structured archetype patterns (myths) to provide meanings.   That is, rather than the unconscious , the key, is in the stream (of consciousness).

Joyce’s daughter Lucia was treated by Jung.  He declared her to be schizophrenic.  After reading Ulysses, he concluded that Joyce was also.  Jung noted that Lucia and her father were two people heading to the bottom of a river, except that he was diving and she was failing.  But then again, Jung also treated Wolfgang Pauli and declared him ‘fully cured”!

The Works

“The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole life to reading my works,”  James Joyce

One of my best loved chapters is Chapter 12 ( The Cyclops).   Here are two excerpts.

Finnegans Wake was one of Campbell’s first published works.  He later to say (and we paraphrase because we have lost the reference):  ” target=”_blank”>Excerpt One. The Citizen:

The figure seated on a large boulder at the foot of a round tower was that of a broadshouldered deepchested stronglimbed frankeyed redhaired freely freckled shaggybearded wide-mouthed largenosed longheaded deepvoiced barekneed brawnyhanded hairylegged ruddyfaced sinewyarmed hero. From shoulder to shoulder he measured several ells and his rocklike mountainous knees were covered, as was likewise the rest of his body wherever visible, with a strong growth of tawny prickly hair in hue and toughness similar to the mountain gorse (Ulex Europeus). The widewinged nostrils, from which bristles of the same tawny hue projected, were of such capaciousness that within their cavernous obscurity the field-lark might easily have lodged her nest. The eyes in which a tear and a smile strove ever for the mastery were of the dimensions of a goodsized cauliflower. A powerful current of warm breath issued at regular intervals from the profound cavity of his mouth while in rhythmic resonance the loud strong hale reverberations of his formidable heart thundered rumblingly causing the ground, the summit of the lofty tower and the still loftier walls of the cave to vibrate and tremble.

He wore a long unsleeved garment of recently flayed oxhide reaching to the knees in a loose kilt and this was bound about his middle by a girdle of plaited straw and rushes. Beneath this he wore trews of deerskin, roughly stitched with gut. His nether extremities were encased in high Balbriggan buskins dyed in lichen purple, the feet being shod with brogues of salted cowhide laced with the windpipe of the same beast. From his girdle hung a row of seastones which dangled at every movement of his portentous frame and on these were graven with rude yet striking art the tribal images of many Irish heroes and heroines of antiquity,


Conn of hundred battles,

Niall of nine hostages,

Brian of Kincora,

the Ardri Malachi,

Art MacMurragh,

Shane O’Neill,

Father John Murphy,

Owen Roe,

Patrick Sarsfield,

Red Hugh O’Donnell,

Red Jim MacDermott,

Soggarth Eoghan


Michael Dwyer,

Francy Higgins,

Henry Joy M’Cracken,


Horace Wheatley,

Thomas Conneff,

Peg Woffington,

the Village Blacksmith,

Captain Moonlight,

Captain Boycott,

Dante Alighieri,

Christopher Columbus,

S. Fursa,

S. Brendan,

Marshal Mac-Mahon,


Theobald Wolfe Tone,

the Mother of the Maccabees,

the Last of the Mohicans,

the Rose of Castille,

the Man for Galway,

The Man that Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo,

The Woman Who Didn’t,

The Man in the Gap,

Benjamin Franklin,

Napoleon Bonaparte,

John L. Sullivan,


Savourneen Deelish,

Julius Caesar,


Sir Thomas Lipton,

William Tell,




the Bride of Lammermoor,

Peter the Hermit,

Peter the Packer,

Dark Rosaleen,

Patrick W. Shakespeare,

Brian Confucius,

Murtagh Gutenberg,

Patricio Velasquez,

Captain Nemo,

Tristan and Isolde,

the first Prince of Wales,

Thomas Cook and Son,

the Bold Soldier Boy,

Arrah na Pogue,

Dick Turpin,

Ludwig Beethoven,

the Colleen Bawn,

Waddler Healy,

Angus the Culdee,

Dolly Mount,

Sidney Parade,

Ben Howth,

Valentine Greatrakes,

Adam and Eve,

Arthur Wellesley,

Boss Croker,


Jack the Giantkiller,

Gautama Buddha,

Lady Godiva,

The Lily of Killarney,

Balor of the Evil Eye,

the Queen of Sheba,

Acky Nagle,

Joe Nagle,

Alessandro Volta,

Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa,

Don Philip O’Sullivan Beare.

A couched spear of acuminated granite rested by him while at his feet reposed a savage animal of the canine tribe whose stertorous gasps announced that he was sunk in uneasy slumber, a supposition confirmed by hoarse growls and spasmodic movements which his master repressed from time to time by tranquillising blows of a mighty cudgel rudely fashioned out of paleolithic stone.

Excerpt Two. The Romantic Hero

Quietly, unassumingly, Rumbold stepped on to the scaffold in faultless morning dress and wearing his favourite flower the Gladiolus Cruentus. He announced his presence by that gentle Rumboldian cough which so many have tried (unsuccessfully) to imitate – short, painstaking yet withal so characteristic of the man. The arrival of the world-renowned headsman was greeted by a roar of acclamation from the huge concourse, the viceregal ladies waving their handkerchiefs in their excitement while the even more excitable foreign delegates cheered vociferously in a medley of cries, hoch, banzai, eljen, zivio, chinchin, polla kronia, hiphip, vive, Allah, amid which the ringing evviva of the delegate of the land of song (a high double F recalling those piercingly lovely notes with which the eunuch Catalani beglamoured our greatgreatgrandmothers) was easily distinguishable. It was exactly seventeen o’clock. The signal for prayer was then promptly given by megaphone and in an instant all heads were bared, the commendatore’s patriarchal sombrero, which has been in the possession of his family since the revolution of Rienzi, being removed by his medical adviser in attendance, Dr Pippi. The learned prelate who administered the last comforts of holy religion to the hero martyr when about to pay the death penalty knelt in a most christian spirit in a pool of rainwater, his cassock above his hoary head, and offered up to the throne of grace fervent prayers of supplication. Hard by the block stood the grim figure of the executioner, his visage being concealed in a tengallon pot with two circular perforated apertures through which his eyes glowered furiously. As he awaited the fatal signal he tested the edge of his horrible weapon by honing it upon his brawny forearm or decapitated in rapid succession a flock of sheep which had been provided by the admirers of his fell but necessary office. On a handsome mahogany table near him were neatly arranged the quartering knife, the various finely tempered disemboweling appliances (specially supplied by the worldfamous firm of cutlers, Messrs John Round and Sons, Sheffield), a terracotta saucepan for the reception of the duodenum, colon, blind intestine and appendix etc when successfully extracted and two commodious milkjugs destined to receive the most precious blood of the most precious victim. The housesteward of the amalgamated cats’ and dogs’ home was in attendance to convey these vessels when replenished to that beneficent institution. Quite an excellent repast consisting of rashers and eggs, fried steak and onions, done to a nicety, delicious hot breakfast rolls and invigorating tea had been considerately provided by the authorities for the consumption of the central figure of the tragedy who was in capital spirits when prepared for death and evinced the keenest interest in the proceedings from beginning to end but he, with an abnegation rare in these our times, rose nobly to the occasion and expressed the dying wish (immediately acceded to) that the meal should be divided in aliquot parts among the members of the sick and indigent roomkeeper’s association as a token of his regard and esteem. The nec and non plus ultra of emotion were reached when the blushing bride elect burst her way through the serried ranks of the bystanders and flung herself upon the muscular bosom of him who was about to be launched into eternity for her sake. The hero folded her willowy form in a loving embrace murmuring fondly Sheila, my own. Encouraged by this use of her christian name she kissed passionately all the various suitable areas of his person which the decencies of prison garb permitted her ardor to reach. She swore to him as they mingled the salt streams of their tears that she would cherish his memory, that she would never forget her hero boy who went to his death with a song on his lips as if he were but going to a hurling match in Clonturk park. She brought back to his recollection the happy days of blissful childhood together on the banks of Anna Liffey when they had indulged in the innocent pastimes of the young and, oblivious of the dreadful present, they both laughed heartily, all the spectators, including the venerable pastor, joining in the general merriment. That monster audience simply rocked with delight. But anon they were overcome with grief and clasped their hands for the last time. A fresh torrent of tears burst from their lachrymal ducts and the vast concourse of people, touched to the inmost core, broke into heartrending sobs, not the least affected being the aged prebendary himself. Big strong men, officers of the peace and genial giants of the royal Irish constabulary, were making frank use of their handkerchiefs and it is safe to say that there was not a dry eye in that record assemblage. A most romantic incident occurred when a handsome young Oxford graduate, noted for his chivalry towards the fair sex, stepped forward and, presenting his visiting card, bankbook and genealogical tree, solicited the hand of the hapless young lady, requesting her to name the day, and was accepted on the spot. Every lady in the audience was presented with a tasteful souvenir of the occasion in the shape of a skull and crossbones brooch, a timely and generous act which evoked a fresh outburst of emotion: and when the gallant young Oxonian (the bearer, by the way, of one of the most timehonoured names in Albion’s history) placed on the finger of his blushing fiancée an expensive engagement ring with emeralds set in the form of a fourleaved shamrock excitement knew no bounds. Nay, even the stern provostmarshal, lieutenantcolonel Tomkin-Maxwell frenchmullan Tomlinson, who presided on the sad occasion, he who had blown a considerable number of sepoys from the cannonmouth without flinching, could not now restrain his natural emotion. With his mailed gauntlet he brushed away a furtive tear and was overheard by those privileged burghers who happened to be in his immediate entourage to murmur to himself in a faltering undertone:

— God blimey if she aint a clinker, that there bleeding tart. Blimey it makes me kind of bleeding cry, straight, it does, when I sees her cause I thinks of my old mashtub what’s waiting for me down Limehouse way.

Ok that’s about it. Here is Molly’s soliloquy, once more with feeling. Don’t forget to wave (and wash) your hands.

Nes! Yo!

Philip K. Dick – Mental Health And God   4 comments

The standard rap on P.K. Dick can be read here. If you are of a certain age you read Dick in short story form in pulp SF magazines like “Amazing Stories” and most importantly the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (1968) and the now lesser known  novel “The Man in the High Castle” (1962).

The official PK Dick Site can be found here. A very good  UNOFFICIAL site can be found here.  Several films have tried with different degrees of success to move Dick’s work to the silver screen. Ridley Scott  took on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” and got the art and the feeling right (if not the story line) in the classic American SF film Blade Runner 

Seven wives and repeated brushes with alcohol and methamphetamine abuse were ghosts which haunted his life and writing.  According to the official web site:  In February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of visions and auditions including an information-rich “pink light” beam that transmitted directly into his consciousness.
This experience was documented by R. Crumb in the 1986 Comix: Weirdo No. 17 .
A packaged PDF version here in this blog post.  Dick died in 1982…or did he?


A Scanner Darkly

Radio Free Albemuth

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Bardo Thodol In Nineteen Simple Steps   5 comments

Now here is a jewel and mystery.

I found  Thomas Scoville’s amazing comic book version of the Bardo Thodol around Christmas session 2009.

It was available under this link: (this link is dead)

I was ready to leave the office so I did a quick, and not very successful,  color print of these 19 pages and saved the link.

Over Christmas break I read and re-read this version of the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.

I was without internet over the break (don’t ask) and lo Scoville’s link to these beautiful images was dead.

But the link remains as of January 31, 2010 dead.

Web searches turn up three additional sites where these images can be found.

A more academic approach to the Bardo Thodol can be found using the classic and ubiquitous

Evans-Wentz Edition of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (with a GREAT introductory essay by Jung)

(Amazon has used copies for for $0.76).

Many other sites exist on the web to popularize and discuss the Tibetan Book of the Dead,

here is one example.

And now a special bonus for those who have read all the way to the end of this post:

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he Complete Thomas Scoville  Bardo Thodol in full color PDF format.

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