A Knowledge of James Joyce
— devised & compiled by Bruce Stewart —
UFRN Brazil / UU Emeritus
Are you celebrating the centenary of Ulysses - published on February 2nd, 1922? Well, RICORSO has created a series of tools and resources for the reader of Ulysses. The contents of this portal include a “Rapid Read” edition of Ulysses and a summary of individual chapters - with links to full-text copies of each in the Bodley Head 1960 edition - all via links lower on this page.
The main offering on this page is an Introduction to Joyce’s Ulysses with a chapter by chapter summary of the text - infra.
Viewing options: To reach the James Joyce Pages of RICORSO through the present portal (including Life, Works, Criticism, Commentary, Quotations, Reference, & Notes) - click here. To reach the whole RICORSO website and navigate to the James Joyce Pages, click here. To view the present page in a new window, click here.
Irish Embassy -Ulysses100 Edital [.pdf]. Appliction Form [Formulário] for Ulysses100 [.pdf]
Resources for Ulysses
Available at Ricorso...
Introduction to Ulysses with Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries for Ulysses100
Ulysses: A Rapid-Read Edition of Ulysses Ulysses: The Bodley Head Edn.(London 1960)
The Gilbert & Linati Schemas Joyce’s chapter-by-chapter plan for Ulysses

Looking beyond Ricorso

The Rosenbach Museum (Philadephia): The famous book collector’s web-page gives a short and snappy chapter-by-chapter summary of Ulysses - online.

Patrick Hastings, The Guide to Ulysses [2022] - afterwards published by Johns Hopkins UP - gives a very readable and scholarly outline - online [last accessed on 22.04.2022].

Michael Groden, Notes on James Joyce’s Ulysses from the student of the mansucripts - online [last accessed 25.04.2022 [Sadly Michael died in March 2021.]

Michael Seidel: Dublin Maps & Photos for the works of Joyce - a bit raw but incredibly rich - online [last accessed 23.04.2022]

A Rapid-Read Edition of Ulysses Full-length Text of Ulysses
[ Link to chapter-by-chapter INDEX at the bottom of this page. ]
Introduction to Ulysses (1922) with a Brief Summary of Each Chapter

[ The following paragraphs have been written in response to the Irish Embassy in Brazil’s edital on the subject of a proposed mural for each chapter of James Joyce’s famous novel Ulysses (1922) to be painted on each of the corresponding campuses of the Federal University of Brazil with the agreement of the administrations of those universities’ administration. The episode assigned to UFRN (Natal) is Chapter 15 (or “Circe”).
 But let me say a few words here about James Joyce and Ulysses. ...

You can download a copy of this Introduction & Summary in Word and Adobe files - here: .docx and/or .pdf]

The Irish writer James Joyce (1882-1942) lived in the time of the Irish Literary Revival (1890-22), a movement led by the Nobel prize-winning poet W. B. Yeats (1865-1939). His identity as an Irish Catholic and a graduate of the newly-formed National University set him apart from the predominantly Protestant leadership of the Revival, on the one hand, and the mass of Irish Catholic nationalists on the other. Joyce’s intellectual brilliance and irrespressible self-esteem caused him to go into ‘self-exile’, taking with him his unmarried and largely uneducated partner Nora Barnacle, the inspiration for Molly Bloom and much else in his writing. (In fact, the date of his first tryst with Nora, 16 June 1904, became the day of his great novel Ulysses.)
 Joyce settled in Trieste and there he worked as an English-language teacher and wrote Ulysses. In 1919 he moved with his family to Paris to enjoy his newly won fame as the foremost Modernist writer in English secured through the serialisation of the novel (to be published in 1922). His first book was the stories of Dubliners (1914), an epoch-making treatment of the life of a regional city, as Dublin was in 1904 when he left it. Publication was delayed for a decade due to the publishers’ and printers’ fears of censorship. With his next, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) he changed the way in which autobiographical fiction is written and issued a clarion-call for intellectual freedom against the authoritarian culture of “priest and king” - and the central character, Stephen Dedalus, later puts it in Ulysses (1922).
  With the composition of a story called “The Dead” in 1907, Joyce ceased to be Stephen Hero - the title of his draft Portrait. “The Dead”, which forms the last part of Dubliners, displays a more mature and all-embracing conception of humanity that the earlier, mordantly satirical stories in which the theme of ‘spiritual paralysis’ lies at the centre of each. Meanwhile, in an abandoned story of 1906 to be called “Ulysses”, he had already sketched an encounter between young Stephen and an older man who works as an advertising agent for The Freeman’s Journal. That new character who came to be called Leopold Bloom was actually based on a man called Alfred Hunter who had rescued Joyce in a fight with several “tommies” [British soldiers] when the younger man was passing the evening drunkenly in the brothel quarter of the city - a real episode excerpted from his last year in Dublin.
  Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses is a dejected version of his forerunner in A Portrait. He has gone to Paris and returned for his mother’s death - without, it seems, becoming the literary hero that he had hoped. Leopold Bloom, by contrast, is an ordinary city-dweller with none of Stephen’s education. On the other hand he possesses a keen mind packed with much random information and therefore a fitting type for the new Everyman. Yet, in order to enter literature, as he does in Ulysses, he needed to be recognised by an artist as a proper hero for a modern Irish epic. It is essential to the autobiographical scheme of the novel that Stephen does not recognise Bloom as a fit subject for art whereas the mature Joyce (who is actually nearer Bloom's age than Stephen’s) does. It is from this discrepancy in age, outlook and experience that the comic humanism of Ulysses arises.
  Ulysses is divided into eighteen untitled chapters to which the now-familiar tags, taken from Homer’s Odyssey, have been added by the critics on the basis of chart or ‘schema’ which Joyce supplied to the author of the first book-length study of Ulysses (Stuart Gilbert) and to the Italian translator of the novel (Paulo Linati). In it, he delineated the main points of the Homeric parallel and some other ‘arts’, ‘organs’ and ‘correspondences’ which adorn each the symbolic design of each chapter, taking the Adventures of Ulysses by Charles Lamb - a classic redaction of Homer written in 1808 and still read in Joyce’s schooldays - as his keenly-felt inspiration. This ordering device or template became the of much critical attention from the start - especially after T. S. Eliot’s essay, ‘Ulysses, Order, and Myth’ appeared in an issue of The Dial (Oct. 1922).
  Eliot’s idea that Joyce uses myth to give order to ‘the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history’ is not necessarily a true description of the spirit of the novel since Joyce was less daunted by modernity but the combination of such an apparatus with the liberal use of the stream-of-consciousness style of writing which was the chief technical innovation of Joyce’s novel found numerous imitators among writers such as Eliot himself, Virginia Wolff, George Faulkner, Thomas Woulfe and - in the most important Irish instance - Flann O’Brien.  Today the standing of Ulysses as the pre-eminent modern novel is undisputed.
  What is so remarkable about Ulysses? In it Joyce follows two characters’ travels through a single day in Dublin fully recording their thoughts from the inside by means the ‘interior monologue’ - these characters being Stephen and Dedalus along with Molly [Marion] Bloom in the magnificent chapter of eight unpunctuated sentences with which the novel ends. Molly is in bed when Bloom comes home. Pretending to be asleep, she reflects on her recent and less recent experience of woman’s life and men. Bloom, in his side, kisses her bottom in a sign of homage and acceptance and - the reader hopes - a renewal of their married life. (About that male gesture of affection she has mixed feelings too.)
  By means of the ‘itinerary’ form of the novel, Joyce captured an astonishing wealth of ascertainably-true details about the persons, places, businesses, institutions, entertainments and movements which characterised it on that day when, as we now know, Ireland was nigh-20 years away from Independence. In fact Joyce left Ireland before the revolutionary period properly began. The political humour of the novel is consistently anti-imperialist but it is not safe to assume that Joyce was pro-Independence in the form in which the modern Irish state actually emerged. On the contrary, he prove to be one of its sternest critics, recognising it as a reactionary country more than ever dominanted by clerical authority. The Roman not the Sassanach, he had earlier written, is the true tyrant of the country - meaning the Catholic Church more than the British Empire.
  Joyce derived many of the details of Ulysses from an annual city almanac called Hely-Thom’s Dublin Directory (1904) which he kept beside him as he wrote. Contemporary newspapers and information supplied by friends in response to epistolary request from him were also much in use. This very material aspect of the novel gives it a local rootedness unlike anything else in Western literature before. Joyce said that, if Dublin were destroyed it could be rebuilt brick by brick from his novel. Equally, in advancing from chapter to chapter - particularly after the serialised chapters became a literary beacon for many avant garde readers and writers - he greatly accelerated his experiments with style and form producing such tours-de-force as the synchronised and interspliced vignettes of “Wandering Rocks” (Ch. 10), the parody-history of English style in “Oxen of the Sun” (Ch. 14), the “Circe” episode (Ch. 15) where Joyce takes Stephen and Bloom to a brothel in the so-called Nighttown quarter of the city, and the Q&A catechism of “Ithaca”.

* * *

Note for Subscribers to the Irish Embassy Edital Ulysses100 in 2022

Circe” : This chapter of the novel, which is set in the brothel-quarter of the city where Stephen and Lynch (followed by Bloom in a spirit of avuncular concern) have gone at midnight after an evening"s drinking. It takes the form of a vast psycho-sexual pantomime involving all the dramatis personae of Ulysses in keeping with Joyce"s stated conviction that, when he lowered a ‘bucket’ into the ‘sexual department’ of his own soul, he draws up the same dirty water as all the other men and woman in his native land in spite of their indignant denials (Letter of 13 Nov. 1906). While the “Circe” episode is perhaps outrageous chapter of the novel - and the only one to which he himself attached the word ‘indecent’ - it is also the one in which Joyce shows himself most attuned to the psychoanalytical movement in the Europe of his day.

When it comes to translating “Circe” into pictorial images we are often given Bella in corsets and carrying a whip as she appears in the brilliant and very daring sado-masochistic section in the chapter. [You can view her ‘entranceö - as attached.] While Stephen is preoccupied with drunkenly deducing the conclusion to his philosophical and aesthetic syllogisms in the earlier Library chapter (known as “Scylla and Charybdis”), Bloom is made the hero, victim, and scapegoat for a thousand accusations of personal immorality, failure as a lover and, finally, for being a Jew.
  Bloom is indeed Jewish and it is one of Joyce’s most salient and improbable interventions in Irish cultural politics to make the hero of an Irish epic in 1922 the son of a Jewish migrant. It is apparent from details in the novel that Bloom’s father converted to the Anglican [Protestant] Church of Ireland while his mother was a Catholic called Ellen Higgins, but his sense of difference from the normative Catholic-Irish community of middle-class Dublin insures that Ulysses is always looking at the Irish world and not merely speaking out of it.
  In this respect the novel undoubtedly struck chords with literary critics in American and especially the many Jewish scholars in American academia at that time. Joyce’s novel quickly came to be celebrated as an answer to anti-Semitism as well as a wider vindication of European Humanism against the murderous forces of Nazi Racism and the totalitarian regime in the Soviet Union (where he was, in fact, berated as a bourgeois writer). He was also read as an agnostic if not, in fact, an atheist. This is misleading, however. Joyce was deeply imbued with a knowledge of Christian tradition (even if he reviled it as a metaphysical belief-system), as he also was instilled with the classics of European humanism from Dante to Ibsen. Few writers are more pervasively literary yet, at the same time, few if any are such punctilious realists in their attention to ordinary experience of men and women in the midst of modern life.

  The summaries on this given page may help participants in the Irish Embassy’s Ulysses100 competition to find a subject but you are also free to explore the very many images and ideas representing the events in “Circe” - real and imagined - which are already circulating in internet. Indeed, the visual representation of the novel may just as fitly capture the popular notion of the chapter and its dramatis personae or pick up some less often noticed detail of the text. Don’t be afraid to browse the websites which mention “Circe” and Ulysses in seeking ideas for the esboça required by the edital!

For a fuller account of Ulysses and other works of Joyce, see an extract from James Joyce, by Bruce Stewart (Oxford UP 2007) - attached.
James Joyce’s Ulysses - Chapter Summaries
Chapter Summaries
Telemachus Nestor Proteus Calypso
Lotus Eaters Hades
Aoelus Lestrygonians Scylla & Charybdis Wandering Rocks Sirens Cyclops
Nausicaa Oxen of the Sun Circe Eumaeus Ithaca Penelope

[Note: The central character of Homer’s Odyssey is called Odysseus (meaning ‘all-capable’) but the Romans called him Ulysses - as in Virgil’s Aeneid - and it was this form of the name which Charles Lamb adopted for his Adventures of Ulysses (1808) which Joyce read at school, and which is the immediate source of the Homeric parallels in his novel. A link to the “Circe” episode of Lamb’s book is available in a new window - as attached. ]

1: Telemachus
8 a.m. - The Martello Tower (Sandycove): Stephen Dedalus is living in the Martello Tower in Sandycove, near Dublin city, with his medical-student friend Buck Mulligan and an English guest called Haines who has enlisted in the Irish Literary Revival as a cultural sympathiser. Stephen anticipates that Mulligan will ask for the key and he will have to find new accommodation. The events of the day on which the novel is set - 16 June 1904 (or Bloomsday, in modern parlance - are roughly those of Joyce’s own time in Dublin excepting that it was Mulligan not Stephen who paid for the rental of the tower and sundry other details that it suited him to alter. Stephen discusses literature and history with the Englishman and offers some opaque but telling answers to questions about atheism and nationality. The chapter opens with a parody of the Catholic Mass conducted by Mulligan which sets in motion the theme of Stephen’s guilt about his refusal to pray at the bedside of his dying mother - as actually happened in Joyce’s case. He feels conscience-stricken but unrepentant. And, while he professes to be a ‘servant’ of the British Imperial State, the Catholic Church and ‘a third who wants [him] for odd jobs’ (meaning Ireland) he is in fact a rebel against all of these forces, much as in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) the character with the same name rebels against the trinity of ‘nationality, language, and religion’ which he sees as ‘nets’ flung at the soul ‘to hold it back from flight.’ Haines is an Irish-Revival sympathiser who sports a cigarette case studded with an emerald - an expensive symbol of his adopted Irishness which will lead him to spend the day searching out Douglas Hyde’s bilingual collection of Irish poetry in the National Library and later joining the literary clique for a party at George Moore's house to which Stephen is pointedly not invited. (The prevailing distinction is less between English and Irish than Protestant and Catholic and - perhaps more pointedly - the affluent and the socially-marginalised since Stephen has already distinguished himself as a cadger of loans (‘A.E.I.O.U.’). Indeed, the similitude of Chapter One of Ulysses to Joyce’s time in Dubln in 1904 is more striking than the differences with certain telling adjustments to suit Joyce’s purpose in the novel. Notably, 16 June was actually the date of his first walking-date with Nora Barnacle yet, in the novel, Stephen is unfriended by an female and even asks, ‘When me?’ (Joyce told Frank Budgen that Stephen has ‘ shape that can't be changed’ - that is, his identity as we meet it in A Portrait - and in Ulysses the emphasis increasingly rests on Leopold Bloom as the hero of the novel and the counterpart of its legendary title-figure. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
2: Nestor
10 a.m. - Mr Deasy’s School: Stephen is teaching Classical History in a classroom at Mr Deasy’s Preparatory School in nearby Dalkey and reflects on the question of history in an Irish context, continuing in the vein of his thoughts on that thorny subject in conversation with Haines. Stephen takes pity on the weakling in the classroom who reminds him of himself in Clongowes Wood and the Anglo-Irish milieu is depicted for the only time in this chapter - albeit the Protestant schoolboys are very junior versions of the then-governing class in Ireland. In an interview with Mr Deasy in his office when he collects his quittance pay, he tells the headmaster and proprietor of the school that ‘History [...] is the nightmare from which [he is] trying to escape.’ Deasy’s office is decorated with relics of the Battle of the Boyne (1690) in the Williamite War when the new Protestant monarchy of England defeated the English Catholic King James II on Irish soil resulting in the century-long suppression of Catholic religion and citizenship. The Irish reaction to the resulting colonial regime ultimately led to the independence movement of the twentieth century - the activities of whose cultural ‘wing’ plays such a so conspicuous part of many episodes of Ulysses. But Stephen’s attitude isn’t simply that of an Irish nationalist since, looking from the classroom window at the long stone piers of Kingstown Harbour [now Dun Laoghaire], he describes them as a ‘disappointed bridge’. That might be taken to mean that the Union of Britain and Ireland has been a failure but it hardly means that the conquest of Ireland was a evil deed which must be reversed soon and at all cost (such as insurrection). In fact, Stephen Dedalus is no Irish nationalist, still less a physical-force separatism, and his affinity with English and continental European literature is stronger than his share in the Irish Revival which is taking place around him. It is possible to conceive that Joyce - who professed socialist opinions in the 1900s - intended his lack of political opinions to be a mark of weakness. At the same time he maintains a scornful attitude towards the imperial conqueror in Ireland as represented by Mr Deasy - who is himself a more complex kind of British Unionist than the usual stereotype (he remembers that the Orange Lodges were against the Union). He is thus a very isolated figure, more metaphysician than historian, and hardly political in any practical sense. He considers himself a poet (see “Scylla and Charybdis”) and for the moment an impoverished one since he is taking his last wages from Deasy and will spend them rapidly on ‘a druidy drink’ with his medical-student friends of whom Mulligan is the chief. Stephen agrees to carry a letter to the papers from Deasy about the Foot and Mouth disease, an obsession with him and this business will take Stephen to the office of the Evening Telegraph at noon, as we see in “Aoelus”). [Open Ulysses full chapter - here.]
3: Proteus
11 a.m. - The Strand (Sandymount): Stephen is making his way into the city via Sandymount Strand and turning over in his mind his thoughts on philosophy and art, including crucially the question of perception which relates to the Thomistic and Aristotelian basis of Joyce’s own aesthetic ‘science’ centred on the theory of epiphanies which he launched in this draft novel Stphen Hero and substantially reiterated in A Portrait of the Artist - though without mentioning the word ‘epiphany’ itself. Yet Joyce’s early epiphanies - a genre involving short, impersonal records of seemly inconsequential moments when people gave themselves away - are mentioned in this chapter: ‘Remember your epiphanies on green oval leaves, deeply deep, copies to be sent to all the great libraries of the world, including Alexandria?’ The tone of that reference and much else in the chapter shows him to be despondent about his career and jealous of others whom he thinks have stolen the literary honours which are his by right. (These are the usurpers of the “Telemachus” chapter - and it is easy to see that an interloper like Haines [Chenevix-Trench] has less entitlement to hospitality among the writers than Joyce/Stephen himself. Stephen’s interior monologue throughout the chapter forms a dense fabric of literary allusions and darting lights of intellectual brilliance combined with the acute observation of natural objects - including a rambling dog who might well be sniffing at the corpse of the drowned man (not yet recovered), and a ship entering Dublin Bay laden with bricks from Bridgewater, the same which Leopold Bloom will later see and with which the present chapter ends. The mutual observation of a single entity from remote points is styled parallax in the novel and constitutes a fundamental node in its epistemological strategy: fiction as perception in the intersubjective matrix exactly tied to time and place. Stephen’s mind is busy with other matters. He sees some women on the city shore-line and imagines them to be midwifes, which triggers reflections on his own parenthood and also on the question of paternity which will occupy him more extensively in his ‘lecture’ on Hamlet in the Library Scene (’Scylla and Charybdis’), already scheduled for later in the day. Stephen writes a poem on a piece of paper which turns out to be a call-slip purloined from the National Library to save him stationary expenses. The poem is also purloined since it includes a line from another by Douglas Hyde, founder of the Gaelic League and later - much later - first President of Ireland. Joyce’s view of Stephen is difficult to pin down since he is the vehicle of much autobiopraphical information but at the same time a clearly frustrated writer who considers himself undervalued by other writers in the city. Joyce said of Stephen that his mind is full of bric-à-brac, meaning all the lore that he himself had gathered and combined, but also that Stephen had a ‘shape that cannot change’ - and in here in the last of the first three chapters known as the “Telemachiad” in Homeric terms, Joyce is preparing to introduce to the real hero of the book: Leopold Bloom whom we meet in the next chapter (“Calypso”). [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
4: Calypso
8 a.m. - The House (Eccles St.) Bloom, an independent advertising canvasser, enters the novel in the uxorious role of a breakfast-maker for his wife Molly who is an amateur contralto with a contract to perform in a tour being organised by one “Blazes” Boylan who is coming to visit her this day. A letter that Bloom carries to her from the hall-door letterbox appears to convey to her that news. That she is the counterpart of Princess Calypso, who entrances Ulysses, is apparent from the oleograph painting of the that mythological personage above her bed - naturally, nude. Bloom’s morning trip to the pork butcher at the end of the street for some kidneys to fry at home reveals that he is part-Jewish and he recognizes Dluglacz as one of the same immigrant stock as his own father whose suicide in a Clonmel hotel visits his mind during the day. (His mother was a Hegarty and a Catholic, complicating his descent.) He also notices that wrapping paper from a Jewish newspaper advertising the purchase of land Turkey as part of the Zionism project and he builds a vision of that Middle-Eastern region into his repertoire of exotic scenes triggered by a dream of oriental delights which he attempts to interpret all day long. (An oneiric parallel between Bloom and Stephen is part of the structure of the novel.) Meanwhile the sight of a housemaid ‘whacking’ a dusty carpet arises him and his mind is filled with visions of the Orient where Ottoman pashas enjoy the favours of dusky harem women. Reference is made of the Zionist scheme to re-establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine by means of a ‘flyer’ used as a wrapping from Bloom’s pork kidney. After his repast, he takes himself to the outside toilet and void his bowels (‘it was something quick and neat’) - thus giving us the first toilet episode in modern English literature, and a hook on which to hang the censorship verdicts which were laid against Ulysses later on. Molly, who reads soft-porn fiction, asks Bloom to pick up another one by Paul de Kock (‘Fine name he has). The couple have a daughter called Milly who is presently in the midland town of Mullingar acting as a photo-model, and a has lost a son called Rudy at birth - since which time the Blooms have had no sexual relations. Leopold receives a letter from Milly (copied here). Over Molly’s bed is a reproduction of a classical painting of Calypso, the beautiful daughter of Titan, who seduces Odyssey in Homer’s epic. A native of the island of Ogygia - sometimes allegorically compared with Ireland - she cannot prevent him leaving her to journey home to Ithaca at the end of seven years. Bloom is wearing a black suit because he’s going to a funeral in the morning (see “Hades”). Though he doesn’t realise it, he has left his house-key in the pair he took off. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
5: Lotus-eaters
10 a.m. - The Turkish Bath: Again, the chapter is modelled on a Homeric episode if though rather vaguely: the view of religion is distinctly opiated while the last line featuring Bloomְs genitals floating in the bath-water is amenable to such a botanical interpretation. Bloom’s morning itinerary in the region of Westland Row where he goes to visit Sweny’s pharmacy on an errand from Molly, but also to pick up the latest round in his correspondence with a certain Martha Clifford who has responded to an advertisement placed by him in The Irish Times. This is a purely epistolary flirtation in the course of which she writes, ‘I do not like that other world’ - simultaneously revealing her pious doubts and her prudery about some word that Bloom has used in his letter to her. (She also asks about his wife’s perfume suggesting that she does not intend to forget that he is a married man.) Bloom collects the letter at the Brunswick (now Pearse) St. Post Office and makes his way to the Jesuit Church of St. Andrew in Westland Row where he settles in a pew to read it but allows himself to be distracted by the thin congregation of female worshippers (apparently Sodality members) and to dwell on the meaning of the Catholic Eucharist in progress which he envisages as a kind of cannibalistic ceremony well suited to the African missions. This is an early glimpse of the kind of true-false thinking that Bloom indulges in - sometimes called ‘Bloomisms’ - where some inherently erroneous conclusion is couched in terms that reveal a genuine intuition. (His misunderstanding of the initials INRI on the priest’s vestments as an acronym for ‘iron nails ran in’ of the same kind.) But Bloom has other business in the locality since Molly wants a bar of lemon soap from the chemist Sweney at the junction of Westland Row with Lincoln Place. While making his way through the streets he is accosted by an acquaintance called M’Coy who is notorious for ‘borrowing’ suit-cases and asks him to subscribe his name to the funeral he will not attend. Later in the chapter, Bloom runs into M’Coy’s drinking companion Bantam Lyons whose request to see the newspaper still held by Bloom (‘I was just going to throw it away’) give rise to a misunderstanding that dogs Bloom later since Lyons mistakes it for an allusion to the racehorse Throwaway who actually won the Gold Cup at Ascot on 16 June 1904 as a rank outsider. Joyce’s artful and exhaustive use of newspaper facts relating to the day in question is in evidence here. Bloom is later called a ‘dark horse’ in the “Cyclops” chapter because he is supposed to have kept the information to himself although in fact he doesn’t know what M’Coy means when he says, ‘I’ll risk it’, nor places any bet himself. Bloom concludes the chapter with a visit to the Turkish Baths on Lincoln Place - although the visit is imagined in as a luxurious prospect rather than described in the present-tense of the novel. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
6: Hades
11 a.m. - The Graveyard (Glasnevin Cemetery): Bloom makes his way to the Prospect Cemetery in a cab in company with other mourners including Martin Cunningham (a Castle official), Jack Power (also known with Cunningham from “Grace” in Dubliners), and Stephen’s father Simon whose unguarded reference to the sin of suicide is not taken by Bloom to be pointed (‘they have no mercy on that here or infanticide’) in view of his own father’s demise. The mortgaged condition of Paddy Dignam’s insurance policy is discussed by the men and later Bloom will try to persuade the Company to allow it. (He sets out to visits Dignam’s house on a mission of kindness in the evening (see “Nausicaa”.) At the cemetery, Bloom watches the funeral service much as he observed the mass and speculates about the fate of the corpse after the obsequies are over. His thoughts on rats and grave-gas are morbid but good-natured and he takes note of the proximity of the Botanic Gardens to the cemetery. The grave of his own son, Ruby, is noticed here, as is that of Charles Stewart Parnell - the Lost Leader of the Home Rule Movement and here called ‘the chief’ - and, finally, that of Stephen’s mother Mary Dedalus, thus triggering a fit of self-commiseration on the part of his father. (This involves some added irony for those who know about the shocking conduct of Joyce’s father during his wife’s last illness.) A journalist takes the names of the attendants and accidentally include the name of a certain ‘M’Intosh’ which we recognise as a mis-transcribing error for ‘the man in the Macintoch [rain-coat]’ and this non-existent persons will later appear along side ‘L. Boom’ and all the others in the newspaper report on the funeral. The quaky relation between reality and printed versions of it is thus underscored - not for the first or last time in the novel. The Homeric parallel is with Elpenor who fell to his death while drunk and broke his neck. Odysseus later returns from Hades to give him a proper burial since, without it, he is doomed to misery in the underworld. The Homeric parallel in the chapter is actually an extrapolation of the Hades scene in “Circe&148; of the Odyssey where Ulysses descends to the Underworld to learn his fate from Tiresias and meets with the dead who walked the earth in his own time (including his mother - a detail played on in terms of Joycean biography in the “Circe” chapter of Ulysses). [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
7: Aeolus
12 (noon) - The Newspaper (Freeman’s Journal and Evening Telegraph): The mythological ‘bag of winds’ given to Odysseus by the God Aoelus in Homer’s Odyssey figures in Ulysses as the offices of sundry newspapers in the city of Dublin. The comparison hardly requires explanation but Bloom adds a characteristic note when he reflects inwardly that ‘those newspaper men veer about’ like ‘weathercocks’. The chapter begins in the Freeman’s Journal, a moderate nationalist organ, and then moves to the Evening Telegraph where Bloom intends to place an ad for a tea-merchant called Keyes, hoping to persuade him to accept the idea of using the crossed-keys motif of the Manx Parliament as a logo. (The idea is of course a visual pun.) The floor-manager - a City Councillor called Nanetti who was a leading trade-unionist at the time and was afterwards elected Mayor of Dublin - cuts out a prior copy of the ad and Bloom informs him that he intends to get the keys motif from a Kilkenny newspaper which he can find in the National Library, where in fact he goes after lunch. Nanetti agrees to print the ad if Keyes will supply a three month’s renewal and sends Bloom on his way with the hope of successfully closing this small bit of business (his only lucrative transaction of the day). The journalist Hynes turns up to place his notice of Dignam’s funeral which both have attended in the morning and Bloom attempts to recover a small debt from him with a hint about the paper’s cashier which the other cannily ignores. Bloom now heads for the offices of the Telegraph where, on arrival, he finds that a group of convivial Dubliners including Simon Dedalus, J. J. Molloy (a failed barrister), Ned Lambert (a fellow-Corkman and friend of Mr Dedalus) and a certain Professor McHugh are discussing oratory in the editor Myles Crawford’s office, contrasting the poor speech made by the nationalist Dan Dawson on the previous day and a brilliant one made by the barrister J. F. Taylor at the Royal Commission on the Irish Language in 1903. Bloom asks permission to use the telephone to check in advance if Keyes is at his Ballsbridge premises and learns that he can catch him at an auctioneer in town if he hurries. Crawford is casually rude to Bloom when he mentions the Keyes ad saying, ‘He can kiss my royal Irish arse.’ Bloom quits the newspaper building hastily and is mocked by the newspaper boys as he battles with the wind in the doorway. In so doing, he narrowly misses Stephen who now enters to deliver Mr. Deasy’s letter on Foot and Mouth. Stephen - whose father has already departed for the Oval bar with Ned Lambert - is just in time to hear MacHugh recite Taylor’s words in ringing tones, seemingly from memory. Taylor, a lawyer and an ally of W. B. Yeats, argued that, if the Hebrew language had been lost during the Jewish Captivity in Egypt there would be no ‘tables of the law written in the language of the outlaw’ (i.e., the Ten Commandments). Stephen - who has been thinking is own thoughts - now leads the group out for a drink in Mooney’s pub and is persuaded to tell his own story about two old women who climb to the top of Nelson’s Pillar at the nearby city centre and eat a bag of plums as they gaze at the view. He calls it “A Pisgah Sight of Palestine”, as a cynical rejoinder to Taylor’s allegory. (The sense is that ordinary Dubliners have nothing to do with such high-flown analogies.) Crawford compares his bitterness to Anisthenes and suggests he would make a good journalist but Stephen has other ideas about his future. The windy operation of the printing machines and the skills of the printers are rendered in some detail in the chapter and the text is broken by witty newspaper headlines. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
8: Lestrygonians
1 p.m. - Lunch (Davy Byrne’s) This episode embodies most exact attempt to trace an itinerary across the city from O’Connell St. where Bloom finds himself on leaving the Telegraph Office to the National Library of Ireland in Kildare St. and its near neighbour the National Museum. He needs to visit the Library to find another image to complement his make-over of the Keyes advertisement but also to inspect a statue of Venus out of randy curiosity about the anatomical accuracy of classical sculpture in the lower regions. (An actual exhibition of Greek goddess in 77 plaster models was actually in place there in 1904.) During his walk he is plague by thoughts of Blazes Boylan’s meeting with his wife in the late afternoon and is shocked to see the man himself at the National Museum. Trying to pretend otherwise, he searches his pockets for ‘lost’ objects. (What he doesn’t know is the Buck Mulligan sees him when he is peering at the Venus Kallipyge’s ‘mesial groove’.) Bloom’s thoughts as he proceeds along the route so carefully measured out by Joyce in time a space turn on the reasons for Molly’s affair which he locates in the ten years since their last sexual experience - a lapse caused, it seems, by his own sense of loss at the death of Rudy. As he walks, Bloom meets a certain Mrs Breen whose husband is being driven mad by nightmares and who is currently visiting a solicitor about a card he has received with the insulting (if unintelligible) message: ‘U.p: Up’ - probably a sexual affront. Bloom similarly passes several Dublin well-known characters of the day such as the brother of Charles Stewart Parnell and the oddly-dressed Cashel Boyle O’Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell who walks outside the lampposts on the pavement, or the men who troop through the city centre with the letters H-E-L-Y-S on sandwich-boards. His curious eye catches everything including Stephen’s emaciated sister Dilly who is waiting at the auction room where some more family furniture is being put up for sale. Reaching Burton’s Restaurant, his intended lunch-spot, he is disgusted by the diners and moves on to Davy Byrne’s where he orders a light lunch of gorgonzola cheese on bread with a glass of Burgundy wine and encounters a certain Nosey Flynn. In his absence at the toilet, Flynn and others discuss his character and mention his tip for the Ascot Gold Cup which will be used against him later. His good nature is revealed when he helps a ‘blind stripling’ [boy] to cross the road. In this chapter the essential decency of Joyce’s hero is clearly portrayed along with his frailties and a general sense of depression at his diminished marital happiness, which he bravely fends off. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]

9: Scylla & Charybdis
2 p.m. - The National Library: In “Telemachus”, Mulligan tells Haines (and us) that Stephen is going to prove ‘that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father’. In the National Library at three in the afternoon he does something of the kind before a small audience comprised of Richard Best (Librarian), J. W. Lyster (Assistant Librarian), John Eglinton (a literati), George “AE” Russell (poet, economist co-founder of the Irish Literary Revival with W. B. Yeats), and Buck Mulligan who steps in at the end. Stephen’s creator, Joyce, spent much of 1911-12 studying the life and works of the most famous English playwright while preparing public lectures on Hamlet in Trieste. His talk is an astonishing salad of all such references, eliciting corresponding snippets of Shakespearean lore from his listeners who mainly disagree with his thesis the characters, themes and mood of Shakespeare’s successive plays follow course of his personal life between his early seduction by, and marriage to, Anne Hathaway, a woman somewhat older than he in his native town of Stratford-upon-Avon. (In Joyce’s view his manhood pride has been injured by the fact.) The later loss of his son Hamnet from diphtheria as a young man is also stitched into the attemp to show that Shakespeare become his own father in the sense that the murdered King Hamlet, not the avenging Prince Hamlet, is his counterpart in the famous play. He is thus his own creator spinning his art out of his experience - both the the facts and the larger psychological pattern of his life. Here Joyce is building on the main idea of George Brand’s Study of Shakespeare (trans. into English 1898), a book written by the biographer of Ibsen which strongly dispossessed him to endorse it. When, at the close, Eglinton asks Stephen if he believes his own theory he denies it yet the evidence is that Joyce himself did and certainly Stephen seems to to when, in “Circe”, he perfects his notion about the artist as a self-creating agency who fulfils his destiny by becoming himself - that “Self which it itself was ineluctably preconditioned to become”. There the sense begins to emerge that Ulysses is the fulfilment of the artist in keeping with words attributed here to George Sigerson (an elder Revivalist) who said, ‘Our national epic has yet to be written.’ The irony is, of course, that Ulysses IS that epic even if none of Stephen’s auditors can imagine that he will be the Homer of the newly-emerging Irish nation. Stephen fails to convince his Library audience who are all of Romantic school of thought that predominated in Dublin and elsewhere in the period. In philosophy they are Theosophists and Idealists preferring Plato to Aristotle, contrary to Joyce’s attachment to Realism in both philosophy and aesthetics. (Joyce laid his aesthetic ideas out in student orations (“Drama and Life”, 1900, and “James Clarence Mangan”, 1902), a pamphlet “The Day of the Rabblement” (1902) and later in his verse-satires, “The Holy Office” (1904) and “Gas from the Burner” (1909). On the personal front, moreover, Stephen learns that all of the literary clique among whom he finds himself at the Library are invited to a party at George Moore’s house later in the week to where he will not be welcome although Mulligan’s guest Haines will (see “Telemachus”). Throughout the episode he scores points against each of them in turn on account of their intellectual ineffectuality but also their appearance and personal failings including bachelorhood and self-love. When Buck Mulligan arrives, he characteristically reprises that seedy allegation in a mock play about masturbation and warns Stephen about the ‘wandering Jew’ whom he has seen peering at the bottom of the Crouching Venus exhibited on the Museum porch. This, of course, is Leopold Bloom on his way to the Library to gain access to a design in copies of the Freeman Journal to complete his advertisment for his client Keyes. Ireland’s epic will be written when Stephen and Bloom are united in a single work though unbeknownst to each. The Homeric parallel in the chapter concerns the Rocks and the Whirlpool between which Ulysses has to sail in the Odyssey. Here those two mythological monsters are equated with Idealism and Realism, Romanticism and Classicism, Theosophy and Common Sense. In order to pass through safely on his way the artist has to keep each at equal distance - or, rather, to make equal use of each (as Joyce does in the novel). [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]

10: Wandering Rocks
3 p.m. - The Streets of Dublin: The Homeric parallel is limited to the fact that Odysseus’s direct way home to Ithaca is strewn rocks which seem to clash together and wreck ship if unprotected by the Gods, so he sails through Scylla and Charybdis instead (as we have seen). Thus this chapter represents an adventure that never happened but it does provide Joyce with an opportunity to navigate Dublin city and chart all the characters moving through it on their different and intermeshing itineraries - all timed to the minute in terms of cross-referenced sights and scenes of the living city. The chapter opens with Fr Conmee’s stroll in the city during which he spots a bargeman resting at a canal quay and reflects on the Providence of God ‘who had made turf to be in bogs [...] to make fires in the houses of poor people.’ He also sees a couple coming through the hedge in some disarray, and this is Lenehan and his girlfriend Kitty as we later learn. The progress of the cavalcade as the Lord Dudley makes his way from the Viceregal Lodge in Phoenix Park to Sandymount to open Mirus’ Bazaar provides a sort of metronome for the other characters. To this effect, sentences from one scene re interpolated in another to show the exact rate of advance. Joyce’s estimate of British power in Ireland can be measured from the fact that the underground Poddle river where it enters the Liffey in the quay wall ‘hung out in fealty a tongue of liquid sewage’. Stephen runs into his sister Dilly, who is awaiting her father Simon Dedalus on business having to do with the sale of household goods to raise money for the family, and pities her inwardly (“Misery! Misery!”) but decides not to help out. Bloom, meanwhile buys a soft-porn novel called Sweets of Sin, as requested by Molly. Among many other characters familiar from other chapters of the novel, “Wandering Rocks” tracks the movements of the funeral director Corny Kelleher from “Hades”, Blazes Boylan in a fruit shop where he ‘roguishly’ steals a rose for Molly (she guesses it later), and his secretary Miss Dunne who actually supplied the date of the novel when she types ‘16 June 1904’ at the head of a business letter. Mulligan is seen with Haines and is heard to speculate that Stephen will writing write a book in about ‘ten years’ - hardly guessing that he will be in it. “Wandering Rocks” with its extraordinary details and precisions is justly regarded as a kind of intermission in the novel and a miniature of its all-embracing relation to the city of Dublin. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
11: Sirens
4 p.m. - The Concert (Ormond Hotel): In “Sirens” Joyce tried to pull of his most elaborate stylistic experiment, a chapter written in the form of a classical piece of music - the fuga per canonem, in fact. This form requires the composer to set out all the motifs at the beginning and to join them up melodically in the ensuing piece - a contrapuntal device of the utmost complexity which Joyce matches with some extraordinary sentences expressive of the effect of music on mind and body. The sirens of the episode are the barmaids Miss Douce and Miss Kennedy in the Ormond Hotel, perhaps no more than that. Equally, they might be symbols of music in its seductive aspect since the chapter is also called The Concert and features much talk about operatic music and a performance by Simon Dedalus in his fine tenor voice which Leopold Bloom, separated by the partition of a “snug” hears with appreciation and sadness. He has other reasons to be sad. This is the hour of day when Blazes Boylan is due to spend time with his wife in his home and matters are aggravated when Boylan arrives on notice from his secretary that Lenehan wishes to speak with him there about a friend’s invention for use in the entertainment business. Boylan receives the flirtatious homage of the barmaids, buy drinks and then departs for his rendez-vous with Molly (‘jingle jaunty’). Bloom, unseen, where he has settled with the solicitor Richie Goulding for a much-need meal after his non-lunch. Ben Dollard, a rotund man renowned for his baritone (‘barreltone’) voice arrives with Father Cowley - both met with in “Wandering Rocks” and they ask Simon Dedalus to sing “M’Appari” from von Flutow’s opera Martha which, as a song of adultery, strikes several chords with Bloom recalling Boylan’s mission and his own epistolary liaison with Martha Clifford for which he has bought letter-paper early in the episode. Ben Dollard sings “The Croppy Boy”, a moving Irish ballad of the 1798 Rising, and when Bloom departs as the song ends and is noticed by the others, who pass remarks about him (‘The wife has a fine voice’). Suffering wind, he passed before an engraving of the Irish patriotic martyr Robert Emmet and releases a fart (‘Pprrpffrrppfff’) which is ironically matched with Emmet’s dock speech ending, ‘I have done.’  “Sirens” is a tour of Irish musical culture and a vignette of the life of Dubliners in pubs which - so far as Ulysses relates - is their chief occupation. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]

12: Cyclops
5 p.m. - The Tavern (Barney Kiernan’s): “Cyclops” turns on the identification of an implacable Irish nationalist called Michael Cusack with the one-eyed monster of the Homeric epic whom Odysseus defeats by putting out his single eye with a burning brand and escaping from his cave with his men clinging to the wool of his enormous sheep. In the chapter, the burning brand is represented by a cheroot (‘knockmedown cigar’) and Bloom does flee from Barney Kiernan’s pub after his humanitarian and liberal words about war and nationhood arose the temper of ‘the Citizen’ to the extent that he hurls a biscuit tin after the hero of the novel as he departs in a horse-drawn cab (or, more likely, a side-car). Cusack was the founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association and all his talk is about regaining Ireland from the English ‘Sassenach’. Joyce employs an inflated language which he calls Gigantism and which is based on the Victorian translations of ancient Irish myth concerning Finn MacCool and other Irish mythological heroes. (Attempts to turn these in to the heroes of the literary revival were ultimately less successful than Joyce’s realism vein of writing.) The main strand of the narration is conducted but a sardonic individual who remains nameless but who is identified with Thersites in Homer’s Iliad. (Thersites is the foul-mouthed character who says what everyone else is thinking.) His contempt for the over-wrought nationalists is hardly less than that for Bloom whose supposed slyness and ingenuity are amply described in the chapter (‘he’d have a soft hand under a hen’). In fact, Bloom’s accidental racing tip given to M’Coy in “Lotus-Eaters” about the chances of Throwaway in the Cheltenham Gold Cup comes home to roost in this chapter. Cusack and the others round on Bloom and treat him as an alien - thus raising the spectre of xenophobia and anti-semitism. Bloom retaliates by talking about the persecution of the Jews in Morocco which is in the newspapers. In the key dialogue, he informs Cusack that Ireland is his country and that Christ was a Jew ‘like me’. It is this which leads to his flight, followed by Cusack’s dog Garryowen and the flying biscuit tin.  The chapter stands as a permanent affront to nationalist opinion in Ireland since it seems to suggest that the obsession with Irish cultural autonomy is really a form of blindness, given the complexity of modern life but Joyce is careful to supply a tally of information about the ills of colonialism in Ireland and there is nothing in Blooms attitude that can be regarded as a defence of imperialism or the British administration in Ireland - albeit he has a furled Union Jack behind his door at home, as we learn in a later chapter. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]

13: Nausicaa
8 p.m. - The Rocks (Sandymount Strand) Half of the “Nausicaa” chapter is Gerty McDowell, an equivalent of the the princess in Homer’s epic who pities Odysseus when he is washed up naked and soiled from his trials at sea. The style of the first part of the chapter - which characterises her in the “namby pampy” language (Joyce’s own term) of feminine journalism at that time - develops the idea of a romantic young women who is much preoccupied with cosmetics, female medicines and fashionable attire who believes that the function of women on earth is to offer emotional and physical shelter to the ‘stormtossed heart of man’ - an ironic echo of the Greek epic here where Homer’s Nausikaa assumes that role in relation to Odysseus. In spite of the intensity of her devotion to this philosophy it turns out that she isn’t very well-adapted to this task when Bloom discerns after a bout of masturbation inside his trousers that the girl is lame. The comic nature of the feminine parody comes as a relief after the sombre political matter of “Cyclops” and it appears that Bloom has left Barney Kiernan’s pub apparently to seek out Paddy Dignam’s widow living at Sandymount in the hope of putting the deceased husband’s insurance policy to rights (no chance). It happens that Gerty knew Dignam through her father whom she loyally attends at home although he too is an alcoholic. Bloom puts the home-visit on the long finger as matters proceed with Gerty on the beach. He watches her from a distance and enjoys the exhibition of her underwear as she cranes to see the fireworks at the Mirus Bazaar which has been opened by the Lord Lieutenant - early spotted by Gerty in “Wandering Rocks” where she is prevented from seeing ‘what Her Excellency had on’ by a tram and a furniture van halted in the traffic to let the dignitaries pass. Bloom’s fascination with the girl - which resembles that of Stephen in another beach episode in A Portrait - ends in orgasm just as the fireworks explode. From Gerty’s look of ‘shy reproach’ we understand that she knows what has been going on in his pocket (and possibly Cissy too who approaches him to learn the time). The remaining half of the chapter is occupied by Bloom’s thoughts about love and marriage with particular emphasis on Molly’s present infidelity which possibly accounts for his detour to the beach at this hour (from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.) when return home would be the obvious choice. Deflated, Bloom scratches the words ‘I AM A’, before ‘let[ting] it go’ for lack of room. He has previously said, ‘I am a fool perhaps. He gets the plums and I the plumstones’ - but the usual guess is that he was going to write the word ‘cuckold’. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
14: Oxen of the Sun
10 p.m. - The Maternity Hospital: This chapter represents Joyce’s first essay in extended literary parody taking thirty-two distinct period of English prose from Middle English to modern times as illustrated in George Saintsbury’s History of English Style (1908) to narrate Leopold Bloom’s visit to the National Maternity Hospital where Mina Purefoy is enduring a difficult labour. The chapter reflects the story of the Sacred Oxen of Zeus which Odysseus and his men encounter on the island of Thrinacia in Homer’s Odyssey. Inspite of their captain’s warning the men devour the beasts and die as a result, only Odysseus surviving the wrath of Zeus who kills the crews on shipboard with lightning. Late in the episode lightning does break the summer sky to lend terror to the scene. Stephen Dedalus is already present when Bloom arrives and Buck Mulligan arrives later to contribute his characteristic flair for literary indecency. Throughout the chapter, Joyce builds upon the idea that the killing of the oxen was a crime against the sacred principle of fertility and much of the chapter is concerned with embrylogy and obstetrics - both treated with a distinctly orthodox reverence and a corresponding antipathy to onanism, contraception and abortion. (Joyce remained a Catholic in this respect and held such views himself.) The scene is set the interns room at the hospital where the medical students engage in ribald conversation and some drinking - and are reproved by Nurse Quigley and Bloom when the level of noise gets to high. When the company turn to discussing the nitty problem whether the child or the mother should be saved in a case of choosing between the two, Bloom ducks the question and Stephen pronounces that artistic creation is more exalted than the biological creation: ‘In woman’s womb word is made flesh but in the spirit of the maker all flesh that passes becomes the word that shall not pass away.’ A good deal of information about the sexual history of the characters is supplied in the chapter - such as Bloom’s lost of virginity with a prostitute called Bridie Kelly and Lynch’s tryst with a certain Kitty in the bushes (from which he is seen emerging by Fr. Conmee in “Wandering Rocks”). Bloom perceives that Stephen has already spent much of his recent earnings on drink and worries about his welfare, seemingly because of his ‘fast friendship’ with the young man’s father Simon. (In reality, Simon Dedalus is no friend to Bloom (see “Hades”.) At the close of the chapter, the young libertines troop off to Burke’s pub nearby and onward at closing-time to ‘Bawdyhouse’ [Nighttown] after more of Stephen’s cash is spent. The waste of young talent is as much a topic of the chapter as the ‘proliferent continuance’ of the race in the purely biological sense: the cast of “Oxen” are examples of the ‘spiritual paralysis’ that Joyce berated elsewhere in his fiction. Joyce planned the episode in nine sections corresponding to the months of gestation and kept a diagram of the womb on his desk during its composition - a process that took him an unprecedented 1,000 hours to write. [A list of Joyce’s parodic styles is given in Don Gifford’s Ulysses Annotated (2008 edn.) - as attached. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
15: Circe
12 (midnight) - The Brothel (Nighttown): This episode is set in the red-light district of Dublin 1904. Bella Cohen’s brothel in Tyrone Street is the destination of Stephen Dedalus and his friend Lynch (familiar from A Portrait). Stephen, who is unfed and drunk, is followed there by Leopold Bloom out of concern for his friend Simon’s son. (According to Buck Mulligan, he has set his eye on Stephen.) Once inside brothel, a series of hallucinatory scenes take place in which the unconscious fears and anxieties of the main characters come to the surface - for Stephen in the form his dead mother whose dying wish to pray at her bedside he refused, and for Bloom the loss of his son Rudy in infancy which brought an end to full sexual relations with Molly (avoiding risk of pregnancy), who is now reinitiating her sexual life in an affair with her musical manager, Blazes Boylan. Stephen discovers the solution to the question artistic creation which he has earlier made the topic of his discourse in National Library (“Scylla & Charybdis”) At the moment when he does so, he strikes the lamp in Bella’s living room with his ‘ash-cane’ stick and breaks the lampshade. Bella demands payment and Bloom makes a financial settlement, ushering Stephen out into the street. There, Stephen exchanges words with two British soldiers and is assaulted by one of them when he taps his forehead and says, “It is here that I must kill the priest and the king.” When Bloom helps Stephen rise and leads him off to the cabman’s shelter for refreshment (and thence to Eccles Street), he is repeating a kindness actually performed by Mr Alfred Hunter, a travelling salesman, when Joyce was in a similar condition. Bloom himself undergoes a testing psychoanalytical trial in similarly hallucinatory scenes when Bello Cohen - the transgender version of Bella - subjects him to sado-masochistic handling and accuses him of sexual misdemeanours such as his suspected misconduct with a housemaid called Mary Driscoll whom Molly fired for that reason. Given that his wife is having an affair with another man, Bella is also able to accuse him of surrendering ‘a man’s job’ to Boylan. Several other accusations are levelled at him including mismanagement of the city in his imaginary capacity as Mayor and (more oddly) defecating in a bucket on a public street. In each case he is defended by an educated character met earlier in the novel - one a failed lawyer (J.J. O’Molloy) and the other a university professor (Prof. McHugh)- both familiar from the “Aoelus” chapter. Bloom pleads that he is being made a ‘scapegoat’ but the overall effect of revisiting such shameful scenes is to lift him to the plane of moral ‘equanimity’ which is described in the ensuing “Ithaca” chapter.) The whole episode takes the form of a play-script with lengthy stage directions in italics, rendering it like the Walpurgisnacht in Goethe’s Faust - or perhaps an Irish pantomime. To prepare for writing “Circe”, Joyce made a 2-page list of the characters who had already appeared in the novel, evidently intending to subject all of them to the same psychoanalytical review. (Gerty’s appearance as a prostitute does seem, however, out of character and obviously belong to a different kind of literary arrangement from the strain of social realism to be found even in such a stylistically inventive chapter as “Nausicaa”.) Accordingly, the numerous persons in it undergone strange and comical transformations while many inanimate things are also given voices - including, famously, Bella Cohen’s fan and the quoits [springs] of the Blooms’ marriage-bed. The prostitutes’ interjections are generally obscene but none of the characters engage in sex during the episode and, curiously, water is the only drink consumed (by Stephen after he faints.) The Homeric parallel consists in the fact that Odysseus’s men were changed into swine by the witch Circe whom Odyssey overcomes using moly, a magic potent given him by Hermes, and goes on to have an affair with her which lasts until his men drag him off to resume their voyage back to Ithaca, where Penelope patiently awaits him - having passed the afternoon with a ‘man of brawn’. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
16: Eumaeus
1 p.m. - The Cabman’s Shelter (Butt Bridge): After he helps Stephen to stand up Bloom considered how to get some refreshment into him and leads off towards a wooden hut under the railway over the Liffey (Butt Bridge) which serves as a lowly diner for night-birds. It materialises that Bloom has taken Stephen’s remaining cash into safe keeping, to be returned when he is in a more able state of mind. The style of the episode is a soup of clichés sustained exhaustively throughout - whether because Bloom thinks it fitting to his colloquy with the younger literary friend or because his mind is tired and therefore apt to describe a few coins ‘the last of Mohicans’ in a foolish effort to impress. There is much disconnected talk about common acquaintances, notably Stephen’s father and later on Bloom’s wife Molly about whose womanly attributes he boasts. In the shelter we learn that the proprietor is one James Fitzharris, identified as “Skin-the-Goat”, the driver of a carriage used in the Phoenix Park Murders when the Irish Secretary of State was assassinated by the Invincibles in 1883. A garrulous sailor called W. B. Murphy engages them in conversation with yarns of his maritime life in remote parts although he is actually a crew-member on the Rosevean, a ship glimpsed early by both Stephen and Bloom in a case of the novel’s repeated play with parallax). Bloom suspects him of lying with good evidence from the memorabilia the sailor shows. Bloom reads M’Coy's report on the morning's funeral in a spare evening newspaper and notices the mispellings and mistakes (including his own name, given as ‘L. Boom’.) When an ageing prostitute enters he shows signs of embarrassment and it seems likely that she’s Bridie Kelly with whom he had his first sexual experience. He then adverts to his altercation with the Fenians in the “Cyclops” chapter of the novel as an illustration of universal prejudice, going on to recall an occasion on which he handed Parnell’s hat back to him after it was sent flying in a political fracas. All of this makes him a Home Ruler in Irish politics and it is even mooted by John Wyse in the midst of the “Cyclops” episode that he ‘gave the idea’ of Sinn Féin to Arthur Griffith on the basis of the Hungarian model doubtless known to him through his father’s conversation. Stephen encapsulates his own view of politics with the conjecture that Ireland will be important because of him and not vice-versa - seemingly an exaggerated show of self-esteem but true enough of Joyce the wider literary world. Bloom then forms the idea of taking Stephen back to his home Eccles St. given that both Stephen’s parental home and the Sandycove Tower are equally out of the question. (Bloom knows that there has been an altercation at Westland Row when Stephen met Mulligan and returned the key.) The title-reference to Eumaeus recalls the shephard who recognises Odysseus on his return to Ithaca while the ‘art’ of the episode is navigation. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
17: Ithaca
2 a.m. - The House (Eccles St.) In Homer’s Odyssey, Penelope faithfully awaits Odysseus’s return on his island-kingdom of Ithaca, stalling her suitors by weaving a tapestry which she unweaves at night. Reaching home, Odysseus slays them all and hangs the maidservants who abetted them. Leopold Bloom, returning to Molly (having delayed the event all day), knows perfectly well his wife has had sex with Blazes Boylan in his marriage bed. He now finds evidence of fore-play in some give-away moisture spots on an armchair also guesses that Molly had Blazes re-arrange some heavy items of furniture to tire him out. When, at the close of the chapter, he lies down beside her in bed, he kisses the ‘plump mellow yellow smellow melons of her rump’ in a sign of reconciliation.   Bloom, accompanied by Stephen, finds that he has left the door key in his other trousers which he changed for the morning’s funeral and now gains access to the home by dropping into the front basement (‘area’) to enter by the unlocked kitchen door - a strategem worthy of Odysseus himself. He has formed the idea of adopting Stephen in some fashion and employing him as an Italian teacher for his soprano-wife, an offer which Stephen will refuse. The two converse at length though at no time do they make any real juncture in thought and feeling, Their existence, like their path homeward from Cabman’s shelter to Eccles Street, are ‘parallel’ but never meet. Meanwhile, an encyclopedic quantity of information about their personal backgrounds and their ambience - local and global - is supplied by means of the Question-and-Answer format of the chapter which Joyce identified ‘catechism (impersonal)’ in the Gilbert schema. At the centre of the chapter is the disclosure that Bloom has reached a settled state of mind about his wife’s affair with Boylan: ‘Envy, jealousy, abnegation, equanimity’ - an attitude very different from that of Homer’s hero. In keeping with the scientific bent of the chapter, the account given of the physical circumstances involved takes the strangely mechanical form when the sexual act is described in terms of ‘energetic piston and cylinder movement’. This raises the question why a catechical style is used. One answer might be that it conveys a sense of ‘tranquillising spectrality’ (as Joyce wrote of it in a letter) in place of the usual passions in stories of such betrayals. Secondly, it reveals the world in which the characters live as an essentially objective sphere. Finally, it reflects the actual composition of the novel itself which achieves its astonishing verisimilitude by scrupulously assembling actual details Dublin life in 1904 on a seemingly exhaustive scale. Joyce is known to have had such pedagogic encyclopedias in mind as Richmal Magnall’s Historical and Miscellaneous Questions for Use of Young People, which is cited in the childhood scenes of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and can be regarded as a determining influence on Joyce’s mind just as Charles Lamb’s Adventures of Ulysses (1808) which featured prominently in his childhood reading. (Lamb also wrote Tales from Shakespeare in which all the plots were give.) That work - written by a woman - boasted prefatorily of its ‘level, plain, humane’ judgements’, a description that neatly fits the penultimate chapter of Ulysses in which we say farewell to Leopold Bloom. [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
18: Penelope
The Bed: In “Penelope”, Joyce composed 8 very long unpunctuated sentences in which Molly Bloom revisits the events of Bloomsday and earlier days in her life in an unexpurgated stream of consciousness based on the epistolary manner of his barely-educated partner Nora Barnacle and wife after 1931. If the chapter has a narrative focus it rests upon the fact that Bloom has apparently asked her to serve him breakfast-in-bed on the morrow, much as he has served it to her on the day just passed, and many times before. She likes the sound of him ‘falling up the stairs’ with a tray laden with china but she is less fond of the kiss on the bottom which he has administered at the end of the last chapter and we also learn that she considers he ‘does it all wrong’ when he attempts cunnilingus. Whether she will accede to his request in the morning is uncertain just as it is hard to decide whether she loves him or despises him more. Much depends on her feelings for Boylan whose brute energy she finds attractive (‘he must have come 3 or 4 times’) although she also remarks that Leopold has ‘more spunk in him’ in the literal sense. All of this, together with talk about the resemblance of the male organ to a ‘hatrack’ in one place and a ‘crowbar’ in another makes it a highly indecent writing by common literary standards but it is also a compelling celebration of female sexuality and feminine good sense about sexual relations. When he read the chapter, the great psychologist Carl Jung said it was ‘non-stop run of psychological peaches’, accrediting Joyce with a better understanding of women than ‘the devil’s grandmother’. Since then, the critics has argued back and forth about Joyce’s feminism in the practical and the philological sense (viz, écriture feminine). Writing to Frank Budgen in August 1921, Joyce said it was ‘the clou [nail] of the book’, with further details about its structure considered as a ‘huge earthball’ with four ‘cardinal points’ - these being being breasts, arse, woman and sex [i.e., vagina] - and beginning and ending with the word ‘yes’. Here he quoted from Goethe’s Faust: Ich bin das Fleisch das stets bejaht [I am the flesh that always affirms].’ Molly, who is confident about her physical attractions, reflects on all of her associations with men but leaves it open as to whether has had as many lovers as Bloom images at his more paranoid moments. The many details of her history given in the chapter indicates that she has had less female friends than male ones. As the daughter of a British Army Sergeant-Major called Tweedy serving in Gibraltar and a Spanish woman called Lunita Laredo whose Jewish looks she has inherited, she is something of an alien in Dublin - and actually more Jewish than her husband. The interior-monologue device allowed Joyce to illustrate in the rudest terms what a woman might see in a man and also to affirm that, after all the turmoil of the day, she still holds to the view that her husband-to-be ‘understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him’ when he courted her ‘among the rhododendrons’ on Howth Head 15 years before. It seems, in future, that Blazes Boylan may have his way with her during their forthcoming tour but she will extract as many benefits from him as possible without paying him back in the coin of love. On the other hand, she does entertain the idea of an affair with young Stephen whom she momentarily imagines as ‘clean compared with those pigs of men’ - little realising that he has gone without a bath for quite some time. Reading the pages of “Penelope” is a unique literary experience and no summary can do justice to what it really feels like. It is also a challenging text from the standpoint of gender politics and it is well to remembers that Nora Barnacle answered Jung’s assertion with, ‘He doesn’t know anything about women at all!’ [Open Ulysses chapter - here.]
The Rapid-Read Ulysses [short samples of each chapter ]
Chaps. 1-3: Telemachus - Nestor - Proteus
.pdf / .doc Chaps. 11-14: Sirens - Cyclops - Nausicaa - Oxen of the Sun .pdf / .doc

Chaps. 4-6: Calypso - Lotuseaters - Hades

.pdf / .doc Chaps 15-18: Circe - Eumaeus - Ithaca - Penelope .pdf / .doc
Chaps. 7-10: Lestrygonians - Scylla & Charybdis - Wandering Rocks
.pdf / .doc Extra: Joyce’s best-known comments on Ulysses .pdf / .doc
How to: The above files consist of three or four chapters of Ulysses each - in much-abbreviate form (i.e., longer classroom extracts). The PDF files can be viewed in this browser. The DOC files will be downloaded for saving to your own folders.
[ Follow this link to ‘The Plan (Chart or Schema) for Ulysses - as attached. ]
Full-length Text of James Joyce’s Ulysses (chapter-by-chapter)
Telemachus Nestor Proteus Calypso
Lotus Eaters Hades
Aoelus Lestrygonians Scylla & Charybdis Wandering Rocks Sirens Cyclops
Nausicaa Oxen of the Sun Circe Eumaeus Ithaca Penelope
Click each title to reach a full-text copy of the chapter (Bodley Head Edition of 1960).

Telemachus  Nestor Proteus Calypso Lotus-Eaters Hades

8 a.m - Martello Tower (Sandycove). Stephen, Buck Mulligan, Haines. Oscar Wilde

10 a.m. -  Mr Deasy’s School  (Dalkey); Stephen, Mr Deasy Act of Union; Famine

11 a.m. -  Strand (Sandymount). Stephen; Aristotle; Bishop Berkeley - their theories of perception; Stephen’s epiphanies and poems; ship with bricks from Bridewater.

8.00 a.m. - House (7 Eccles St.); Leopold Bloom, Molly Bloom; Dlugaz (pork butcher); Molly’s rendezvous with Blazes Boylan; lavatory; cat; first ‘Bloomisms’.

10:00 a.m.; - Turkish Bath; Pharmacy (Sweny’s); Post Office (Brunswick St.), St Andrew’s Church (Westland Row.  Bloom, McCoy, Martha Clifford.

11 a.m. -  Cemetery; Bloom, Bloom, Simon Dedalus, Martin Cunningham, Jack Power, Corny Kelleher, et al. [characters from “Grace” in Dubliners].

Narrative (Young)

Cathecism (Personal)

Monologue (Male)

Narrative (Mature)



Aeolus Lestrygonians Scylla & Charybdis Wandering Rocks Sirens Cyclops

12. Newpapers Offices (Freeman’s, Telegraph). Bloom, Nanetti, “Red” Murray, Mr Crawford [editor], Prof. McHugh, Simon Dedalus, Ned Lambert,  Stephen.

1 p.m. - Lunchtime (Streets & Davy Byrne’s). Bloom, JH Parnell, George Russell, Mrs Breen,  (Davy Byrne’s:) Nosey Flynn, Paddy Leonard, Tom Rochford, and Bantam Lyons

2 p.m. -  Natonal Library (Kildare St.). Stephen, JW Lyster, Richard Best, George Russell, John Eglinton, Mulligan. Shakespeare

3 p.m. - Streets of Dublin. Viceroy (Lord Dudley); Fr. Conmee, Corny Kelleher, Stephen, Bloom, Boylan, Dilly Dedalus, son of Paddy Dignam (RIP), et mult. al.

4 a.m. - Ormond Hotel (Concert Room). Misses Douce & Kennedy, Si Dedalus, Lenehan, Boylan, Bloom, Ben Dollard, Old Pat (waiter) and ‘the blind stripling’. Music.

5. p.m. - Tavern (Barney Kiernan’s pub). Anon. Narrator (Thersites); Michael Cusack, Leopold Bloom. Irish mythology; heroic style; Nationalism and antisemitism.


Peristaltic Prose

Whirlpools, dialectic


Fuga per Canonem


Nausicaa Oxen of the Sun Circe Eumaeus Ithaca Penelope

8 p.m. - The Rocks (Sandymount). Gerty McDowell, Bloom; fashion; women’s medicine; masturbation; fireworks.

10 p.m.- Maternity Hospital (Holles St.). Stephen, young doctors, Bloom, Mrs. Purefoy, Nurse Callan, Mulligan. Historical English prose styles.

12 p.m. - The Brothel (Nighttown). Stephen, Bloom, Bella Cohen, et al. Psychoanalysis; sado-masochism (Bloom). Egoism (Stephen)

1 a.m. - Cabman’s Shelter (Butt Bridge). Stephen & Bloom; James Fitzharris, W. B. Murphy Invincibles (Phoenix Park Murders);

1 a.m. - The House (7 Eccles St.) Stephen & Bloom. Kitchen & Garden. Conversation, cocoa and urination. Personal finances.

The Bed. Molly. Thoughts of the day and earlier life (including Gibraltar); marriage, men and husbands;




Narrative (old)

Catechism (impersonal)

Monologue (female)

[ top ]