Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Bloomsday!

It's a single day, following the ordinary life of Leopold Bloom in Dublin...told over 18 chaotic episodes (or 265,000 words)...

in [ULYSSES] written by James Joyce in 1922.

I have yet to read it but respectfully, I know of it's existence.

I even own a beautiful hardback copy from 1946, which goes for $45-$100 on eBay every now and then. (I found mine for...$2 at a local second-hand bookstore)

Included in the forward, is a copy of the district court decision to lift the ban on the book in December 1933.

Ban? Yes, it was seen as "pornographic," written for the purpose of "exploiting obscenity." This made it illegal to own in the United States for over ten years. Gem from the decision:

"Each word of the book contributes like a bit of mosaic to the detail of the picture which Joyce is seeking to construct for his readers." (John M. Woolsey)

As much as I like the idea of people smuggling books across borders because they aren't "allowed" to read them. I do not agree WITH the need to do so, i.e., if it's offensive to you--don't read it.

One of my favorite sites allows you to search for words in the text: RIGHT HERE They let you search the text of several works, not just James Joyce. This comes in handy when you know you know a quote but can't remember WHERE it appears (I have this problem with Shakespeare).

What I do know well is the last episode in which we hear/read Molly Bloom's internal monologue ending with beautiful words and feelings:

"...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. "


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