Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bloomsday and Father’s Day (2)

[From the “Circe” episode of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922).]

The scene: Bella Cohen’s brothel. Drunk, abandoned by his friends, Stephen Dedalus has insulted the king, and an English soldier has punched him in the face. Leopold Bloom, who knows Stephen's father Simon, has been following Stephen at a distance and comes to his aid. As Bloom assumes a fatherly role, he sees an apparition of his son Rudolph (Rudy), who died in infancy eleven years ago. Bloom : Stephen :: Odysseus : Telemachus. Father and son. This is one of my favorite passages in Ulysses.

Stephen is murmuring bits of William Butler Yeats’s poem “Who Goes with Fergus?” Bloom’s misunderstanding — “Ferguson, I think I caught. A girl. Some girl.” — is charming and quintessentially Bloomian.

Previous Bloomsday posts
2007 (S, M, P )
2008 (“Love’s Old Sweet Song”)
2009 (Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses)
2010 (“Bloom, waterlover”)
2011 (“the creature cocoa”)
2012 (Plumtree’s Potted Meat)

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