Phi Fic #24 “Ulysses” by James Joyce

If Socrates leaves his house today he will find the sage seated on his doorstep. If Judas go forth tonight it is to Judas his steps will tend. Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves. –Ulysses

As Nathan notes, Ulysses is “the historically difficult read,” and Daniel agrees, following with his finding of this formative novel, “a great puzzle, that is exhausting but incredibly rewarding.”

Follow us on this brief journey as we dig through some of the themes within the Ulysses universe: Cyclical history. Epic of return. Absent figure. Impotence. Failed Love. The Self and the Not Self. Universal Love. One Step forward, One step back. Identity in flux. No inner sanctum.

Based on The Odyssey by Homer, Ulysses takes place in Dublin and follows three characters: Stephen Daedalus, Leopold Bloom, and Molly Bloom. The events in the novel take place over 24 hours and parallels the journey home by Odysseus after the Trojan war, as well as delving into Irish history through a day of life in Dublin. Even more profound, Ulysses is considered the seminal stream-of-consciousness work—making it known as the great arduous read, but changing the course of literature as it was known at the time, and since.

She would follow, her dream of love, the dictates of her heart that told her he was her all in all, the only man in all the world for her for love was the master guide. Come what might she would be wild, untrammeled, free.” –Ulysses

This recording is an archived episode from our Not School group, long before we became a podcast, so please excuse any audio problems. In this discussion, Nathan, Laura, and Daniel are joined by Phillip Cherny. Many thanks to Phillip for his wonderful thoughts!

There have been many visual interpretations of Ulysses, but try a look at Bloom (2003) directed by Sean Walsh, or Ulysses (1967) directed by Stephen Strick, loosely based on the novel.

And check out the Great Courses Study:  Literary Modernism: The Struggle for Modern History.

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Thanks to Chrisopher Nolen for our music.