Someone named Betlamed commented on one of my videos. He (or she) wrote:
“What always trips me up, usually somewhere in Aeolus, is just the overwhelming number of allusions I don’t understand. A lot of those, especially those to do with Irish history and geography, are just terribly hard to grasp if you didn’t grow up within that culture. It always has me frustrated.”
Well, you comment on a video of mine and you’re going to get a reply. Unless of course it’s not actually a comment but mere troll bile, in which case it’ll just be summarily muted.
I can’t help myself. This stuff isn’t an intellectual exercise, it’s an enthusiasm, a passion.
Make our entire learning life an enthusiasm, a passion, that’s what I say! That’s what the Omphalos Cafe is all about.
Anyway, here’s what I fired off in reply:
“Thanks for the comment, but I’m so little interested in the whole ‘Homeric Parallel’ business that I don’t even know which episode ‘Aeolus’ refers to.
For me, [Ulysses] is more about the men and woman, boys and girls and even infants who populate the city, just as they populate the city I inhabit.
There’s Buck, Haines and Dedalus to begin with, then other twenty-somethings discussing what else but girls, and priests who drift in and out of focus, the young boys Stephen tutors and Deasy the headmaster.
Then Bloom and Molly, at odds for the moment (but why?), and then more citizens, shopkeepers, acquaintances, politics of colonialism, history. And Joyce chooses his characters and settings carefully, representing so many aspects of city life, professors and news editors and writers, lawyers and failed artists (Simon Dedalus), etc.. And the women, not just Molly but Mrs. Breen with her nutty obsessed husband, Mrs. Purefoy giving birth (taking her three days, just as the moon takes three days to be reborn), not just Gerty on the beach but the two other young women, the lively Cissy and sterner Edy (the British soldier by the way will knock Stephen down ((death and resurrection theme)) over a silly misunderstanding with Cissy at the centre.) Plus the barkeeps all dolled up, ignoring Bloom of course, even making fun of him, but making eyes at Boylan, who just about hits on any woman with two legs.
Who is the better man? In their eyes, in everyone’s eyes, and in Molly’s eyes?
The whole gamut, every stage of our lives from infancy to senility and death. As Bloom imagines, people dying and people being born continually, as actually occurs in the book with Dignam and Purefoy. The stream of Life, as he puts it. That’s at the heart of the book, that’s what the budding artist Joyce/Stephen is brooding upon along Sandymount Strand, Life!
Ack, that’s enough!”
Jeeze, no wonder few people bother to comment.