Prof. Avishek Parui
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
Lecture - 45
Ulysses - Part 6
(Refer Slide Time: 00:15)
So, hello and welcome to this NPTEL course entitled Twentieth Century Fiction. We were looking at and examining James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses. So, we have seen already certain sections where the streams of consciousness technique is used very effectively by Joyce, and how the mindscape or the landscape they correspond with each other.
And obviously, this is a story about one day in Dublin, but this one temporal frame is actually quite deceptively simple because what is buried in this one day is a series of different temporal narratives, is a series of different stories, crisscrossing each other in a very postmodernist kind of a way. So, there is hyperlinked quality about Ulysses where each story connects to another story and the different characters crisscrossing each other in different points of time.
Now, obviously, Leopold Bloom who is a Jewish, Irishman in Dublin over here, he is someone who is works in advertising company. He is someone who is canvassing for advertisement all the time, so he is a canvasser essentially. So, advertisement plays a very important role in Ulysses. So, we have some advertising slogans booming in every now and then. But what that also means is this everything can be turned into something flippant because the whole idea of advertisement is to make things catchy, so condense meanings into a simple narrative which can be dished out and consumed very very quickly.
So, if you remember the earlier section in Ulysses where Bloom and his wife Molly Bloom, they talk about a very spiritual term metempsychosis which is a transmigration of souls. And obviously, metempsychosis you know it becomes a spiritual metaphysical kind of a conceit, but that very quickly cuts into you know the change of a kidney, you know the kidney which is being cooked in the kitchen which becomes overcooked and over burnt, right. So, the burning of a kidney into something else, something non-edible, is very interestingly conjoined and juxtaposed with this whole idea of metempsychosis which is this transition or transmigration etcetera.
Now, in this section that you know we look at today is Bloom realizing how you know he the whole idea of his country becomes important over here. The nation becomes important over here, and how suddenly the imagination of a nation becomes like a glimpse in his advertisement, you know soaked imagination. So, everything is an advertisement for him.
And suddenly he sees he thinks of Ireland as a nation, and he realizes how he has not really seen his country except in little glimpses. And this is the section which should be on your screen. This is Leopold Bloom, you know reminiscing about this nation and you know thinking about how he has not seen most parts of his own country. And this is you know on the screen and from which I am going to read out.
Strange he never saw his real country. Ireland my country. Member for the college green. He boomed that workaday worker tack for all it was worth. It is the ads and side features sell a weekly, not the stale news in the official gazette. Queen Anne is dead. Published by authority in the year one thousand and. Demesne situate in the townland of Rosenallis, barony of Tinnahinch.
To all whom it may concern schedule a schedule pursuant to statute showing return of number of mules and jennets exported from Ballina. Nature notes. Cartoons. Phil Blake’s weekly Pat and Bull story. Uncle Toby’s page for tiny tots. Country bumpkin’s queries.
Dear Mr Editor, what is a good cure for flatulence?
(Refer Slide Time: 03:33)
I would like that part. Learn a lot teaching others. The personal note. M A P, mainly all pictures. Shapely bathers on golden strand. World’s biggest balloon. Double marriage of sisters celebrated. Two bridegrooms laughing heartily at each other. Cuprani too, printer. More Irish than the Irish.
So, you know the whole idea of stylization becomes important over here, the reason why I read out these random sections from Ulysses, here is a series of different kinds of advertisement politics or advertisement narratives which are at play with each other over here. And obviously, what that means, is that you know the entire idea of meaning becomes stylized, meaning becomes sliced into small pieces, and dished out, right. And obviously, the stylization makes you know something more Irish than the Irish.
This is a very important line over here which is something that I want to spend a little bit of time in. So, the whole point of making something more Irish than the Irish is obviously, artificially injecting Irishness as a stylized category. So, Irishness over here it is not really a national or cultural category anymore, Irishness over here becomes a stylized category, something which is consumed as a stylized section of meaning, ok.
So, stylization in this incessant endless production of meanings, a half-chopped meanings in these small condensed sentences where it becomes very much a part of the meaning landscape in Ulysses because you know as you can see you know the entire story, most of it, I mean apart from the sections talking about Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus is focalized through Leopold Bloom.
So, focalization becomes a very important factor in Ulysses. Focalization of course, means that the entire story is told from a certain perspective, it is a camera term focalization, the perspective is set and that perspective is a perspective which is used to control and deliver a story, right. So, focalization is over here through an ad man’s imagination.
The machines clanked in threefour time. Thump, thump, thump. Now, if he got paralyzed there and no-one knew how to stop them they had clank on and on the same, print it over and over and up and back. Monkeydoodle the whole thing. Want a cool head.
So, again the whole idea of being consumed by machines become important over here, because the machines are clanking in incessantly thump, thump, thump, and he just visualizes an image where if he gets to those machines, the printing machine that will just print on incessantly and you know they will make some monkeydoodle out of his body, out of his organic body.
(Refer Slide Time: 06:09)
Well, get it into the evening edition, councilor, Hynes said.
Soon he calling him my lord mayor. Long John is backing him, they say.
The foreman, without answering, scribbled press on a corner of the sheet made a sign to a typesetter. He handed the sheet silently over the dirty glass screen.
Right: thanks, Hynes said moving off.
Mr Bloom stood in his way.
If you want to draw the cashier is just going to lunch, he said, pointing backwards with his thumb.
Did you? Hynes asked.
(Refer Slide Time: 06:32)
Mm Mr Bloom said. Look sharp and you will catch him.
Thanks, old man, Hynes said. I will tap him too.
He hurried on eagerly towards the Freeman’s Journal.
Three bob I lent him in Meagher’s. Three weeks. Third hint.
So, again look at the way in which information becomes very stylized in Ulysses. So, this person Hynes, he had borrowed some money from Leopold Bloom, and Bloom meets him on the way to work and this is obviously, part of the printing machine room in which the two people meet. And he is dropping hints you know and ask him to deliver or return his money.
So, he tells Hynes that there is a cashier, the cashier is over there, that is if you catch him he might lend you some cash in advance, lend you some money in advance, some of your salary in advance. And obviously, what he is trying to tell is I lent to you three bob, I lent you three you know Irish currency you know some time back three weeks ago.
And now I have given the third hint. So, the recurrence of three obviously, becomes important. Three bob, three weeks, third hint which is obviously the triple three, the nine which is a holy number for Christians, obviously Christianity in Ulysses becomes a very interesting form of representation. It is a form of consumption and also form of representation. It is a three bob, I lent him in Meagher’s. Three weeks. Third hint. So, a triple three, the triple three which makes it nine, and makes this really flippant representation, gets a very flippant representation in this particular section, ok.
(Refer Slide Time: 07:54)
So, and then of course, this conversation between Bloom and Mr Nannetti becomes interesting.
Mr Bloom laid his cutting on Mr Nannetti’s desk.
Excuse me, councilor, he said. This ad, you see, Keys, you remember?
Mr Nannetti considered the cutting awhile and nodded.
He wants it in for, he wants it in for July, Mr Bloom said.
The foreman moved his pencil towards it.
But wait, Mr Bloom said. He wants it changed. Keys, you see. He wants two keys on the top.
Hell of a racket they make. He does not hear it. Nannan. Iron nerves. Maybe he understands what I.
The foreman turned round to hear patiently and, lifting an elbow, began to scratch slowly in the armpit of his alpaca jacket.
(Refer Slide Time: 08:34)
Like that, Mr Bloom said, crossing his forefingers at the top.
Let him take that in first.
Mr Bloom, glancing sideways up from the cross he had made, saw the foreman’s sallow face, think he has a touch of jaundice, and beyond the obedient reels feeding in huge webs of paper. Clank it. Clank it. Miles of it unreeled. What becomes of it after? O, wrap up meat, parcels: various uses, thousands and one things.
So, again this imagery is very symbolic because we are quite literally in the belly of a printing machine and the intestines of a printing machine, and this is the printing press in operation. So Mr. Bloom is having a conversation with a foreman, who is obviously hard of hearing because he is always surrounded by so much amplified noise. And the amplification is obviously, part of the machinic production process, everything is amplified which is the same thing, same representational form of stylization.
The stylization, amplification these become the major forms of representation over here, right. And Mr Bloom comes in here with a suggestion to change the keys, you know certain things need to be changed in a particular advertisement.
Now, as this stanza looking at the reels of reels of paper which he laid together in one form would become a mile. He thinks, he wonders what will happen of it afterwards. So, again the whole idea of transformation becomes important and if you go back to the section on metempsychosis which is supposed to be a spiritual metaphysical transformation, look at the way in which metempsychosis plays out in different mundane vulgar reality or vulgar materiality for such as for instance talking about the printing press paper. What happens to newspaper once it is consumed, it becomes a wrap for parcels, different kinds of parcels.
Clank it, clank it. Miles of it unreeled. What becomes of it after? O, wrap up meat, parcels; various uses, thousand and one thing. So, usability, functionality is part of the transition, part of the change over here. So, the spirituality of metempsychosis, the metaphysicality of metempsychosis is now almost caricatured in a materiality of changes, the materiality of different kinds of usable usability in terms of a newspaper. What happens to newspaper post a newspaper, post its consumption becomes a parcel a wrap for different kinds of things, vulgar things.
Slipping his words deftly into the pauses of the clanking it drew swiftly on the scarred woodwork.
House of keys. Like that, you see. Two crossed keys here. A circle. Then here the name. Alexander Keys, tea, wine and spirit merchant. So on. So, these are obviously, advertisement you know indications, different kinds of indicators for advertisement. (Refer Slide Time: 11:09)
Better not teach him his own business.
You know what, councilor, just what he wants. Then round the top in leaded: you know in that particular section the house of keys. You see? Do you think that is a good idea?
The foreman moved his scratching hand to his lower ribs and scratched there quietly.
Now, if we look at the movement of the foreman, there is something almost mythical about him, it is almost like one of those mythical figures who know everything, see everything, but are too exhausted to speak. So, the foreman over here situated inside the machinery of the printing press, he does not respond, he is just receiving commands and he is moving in a very very almost an automatic a zombie like way, very numbed way.
So, he moved his scratching head to his lower ribs and scratch there quietly. He is not responding, he is just getting information, he is just getting orders and instructions from different people. And he is standing beside a machine. So, he in a sense becomes the machine. So, again we can make an interesting comparison with this foreman over here and the typewriter of Eliot’s Wasteland; if you remember Eliot’s, Wasteland the section of the typewriter and the carbuncular clerk, they had this loveless sex and the sexual activity obviously is numbing in quality.
And, right after it you know that the clerk goes away the typist who is also called a typewriter, the typist she has this half thought which passes her brain and then she puts a gramophone on record, puts the record on gramophone in a very numbed like way.
So, the foreman over here and the typist in Eliot’s Wasteland, they are very similar figures. Both are consumed by this cannibalistic quality of modernist machines or modern machines, such as the typewriter and the printing press, ok.
(Refer Slide Time: 12:39)
The idea, Mr Bloom said, is the house of keys. You know, councilor, the Manx parliament. Innuendo of home rule. Tourists, you know, from the isle of Man. Catches the eye, you see. Can you do that?
So, again the whole idea of catching the eye becomes important. So, in that sense you know Ulysses becomes you know among other things it’s a great work of literature, it’s a great work on the stream of consciousness. But it is also a story about advertisements, it is also a story about how to advertise things, how to make something sellable, how to form representational frameworks which are dishy, which are you know attractive in quality, so that becomes a large part of the you know narrative landscape of Ulysses as you can see, ok.
(Refer Slide Time: 13:14)
And now you know this is the section where he watches he walks past a type setter, you know typesetter distributing type, distributing letters and this is what he says. And this should be on your screen.
He stayed in his walk to watch the typesetter neatly distributing type. Reads it reads the backwards first. Quickly he does it. Must require some practice that. mangiD kcirtaP. So, you know doing it backwards. So, again the letters from backwards, letters you know randomized you know in very very interesting fashion.
Poor papa with his hagadah book, reading backwards with his finger to me. Pessach. Next year in Jerusalem. Dear, O dear. All that long business about that brought us out of the land of Egypt and into the house of bondage Alleluia, Shema Israel Adonai Elohenu. No, that is the other. Then the twelve brothers, Jacobs’s sons. And then the lamb and the cat and the dog and the stick and the water and the butcher. And then the angel of death kills the butcher and he kills the ox and the dog kills the cat.
(Refer Slide Time: 14:11)
Sounds a bit silly till you come to look into it well. Justice, it means, but it is everyday eating everyone else; everybody eating everyone else. That is what life is after all. How quickly he does that job. Practice makes perfect. Seems to see with his fingers.
So, again look at the way in which something so material and mechanical and almost you know flippant and vulgar is conjoined very interestingly, with something spiritual. So, the whole reference to Jerusalem is brought in over here. The whole references to you know cannibalism is brought in over here, and then of course, it cuts into the typesetter setting up the different types. And you know this idea, this very nihilistic idea of life is something which is interesting over here where he says that you know justice all means, but it is everybody eating everybody else, that is what life is after all.
So, it becomes a series of cannibalism, you know which is which comes from the you know mythical tradition, which comes from the prehistoric times of the movement of the Jews across the world, a lamb and the cat and the dog and the stick and the water and the butcher, everyone is consuming everyone else. And also that idea of consumption is now translated into science how is science consumed in the advertisement industry, you know how is science consumed where people are watching advertisements, right.
So, advertisements become a very big part or the flippant process through which the machinic production of meaning takes place. And if you remember the scene in Mrs. Dalloway, where the shell-shocked soldier Septimus Smith is walking around London and he suddenly sees advertisement on the sky, the advertisement producing aeroplane which is advertising for toffee.
And then how the letters form across the sky little clouds, letters of little clouds which are you know produced as vapours from the from the plane, the advertising airplane, and how the letters come together to make meaning, to make a sign which has a certain kind of meaning and that meaning making the production of meanings as it were through an advertisement process is exactly what is mentioned over here by Bloom.
And that is very much akin to cannibalism. That is very much akin to the you know consumption of science and meaning. So, cannibalism and consumption are equated with each other, that is what you know is indicated or mentioned when Bloom you know reflects in this fact. That is what life is after all. How quickly he does the job. Practice makes perfect. Seems to see with his fingers.
(Refer Slide Time: 16:45)
Now, Mr Bloom passed on out of the clanking noises through the gallery on to the landing. Now, am I going to tram it out all the way and then catch him out perhaps. Better phone him up first. Number? Yes. Same as Citron’s house, twenty eight. Twenty eight double four.
Only once more that soap.
Here look at the way in which these random lines come in Ulysses. It is almost like different kinds of voices, echoes, calling voices. And again, this is interesting because you know, because this is part of the Hellenic tradition of writings. So, the advertisements over here they, the advertising voices over here they play a part like you know very similar to the Greek chorus, you know the chorus which would come in and comment on the situation, but also stylize the situation because the part of the chorus, the part of the choric character of the original Greek plays is to comment and stylize the situation making into a condensed narrative and then dish it out for the audience as a commentary as well as a condensation.
He went down the house staircase. Who the deuce scrawled all over those walls with matches? Looks as if they did it for a bet. Heavy greasy smell there is always in this those works. Lukewarm glue in Thom’s next door when I was there.
He took out his handkerchief to dab his nose. Citronlemon? the soap I put there. Lose it out of that pocket. Putting back his handkerchief he took out the soap and stowed away, buttoned, into the hip pocket of his trousers.
(Refer Slide Time: 17:56)
What perfume does your wife use? I could go home still: tram: something I forgot. Just to see: before: dressing. No. Here. No.
A sudden screech of laughter came from the Evening Telegraph Office. Know who that is. What is up? Pop in a minute to the phone. Ned Lambert it is.
He entered softly.
Erin, green gem of the silver sea.
So, again the different kinds of voices come in as advertisement, Erin the green gem of the silver sea and before that a certain kind of soap was being advertised, and also notice the way this one liners of advertisements, they cut into Bloom’s consciousness. So, how consciousness which is obviously, seen as an abstract metaphysical thing, is actually informed by the materiality of signs, by the materiality of advertisements over here. These one liners which are seen as flippant meanings, the flippancy of one liners is what is actually informing consciousness over here and triggering different thought processes.
So, if you look at the way the thought processes operate in Ulysses, they are actually materially produced - it is not something which happens out of abstraction, he consumes the material meaning around him, the material markers around him, the material signs around him and in the process of consumption he produces thought processes, he produces different kinds of abstract thought processes which link into each other forming a stream of consciousness.
So, the stream of consciousness in Ulysses is not really an abstract phenomenon at all. It is something which is materially manufactured due to the consumption of signs around him, this endless consumption of signs around him, ok.
(Refer Slide Time: 19:18)
Now, we come to the section where quite literally you know there is relation about stream of consciousness and description of the stream of life becoming a consciousness, and how life and consciousness are related to each other in forms of a streaming process. And this should be on your screen.
Stream of life. What was the name of that priesty looking chap was always squinting in when the when he passed? Weak eyes, woman. Stopped in Citron’s saint Kevin’s parade. Pen something. Pendennis? My memory is getting. Pen? Of course, it is years ago. Noise of the trams probably. Well, if he could not remember the dayfather’s name that he sees every day. So, again memory becomes a large part over here and also look at the way in which memory and machine are related to each other. So, the loss of memory, the weakening of memories are attributed over here to the noise of the trams, right.
Bartell d’Arcy was the tenor, just coming out then. Seeing her home after practice. Conceited fellow with his waxed up moustache. Gave her that song the Winds that blow from the south.
(Refer Slide Time: 20:13)
Windy night that was when I went to fetch her that was lodge meeting on about those lottery tickets after Goodwin’s concert in the superroom or oakroom of the Mansion house. He and I behind. Sheet of her music blow out of my hand against the High school railings. Lucky it did not. Things like that spoils the effect of a night for her. Professor Goodwin linking her in front.
Shaky on his pins, poor old sot. His farewell concerts. Positively last appearance on any stage. May be for months and maybe for never. Remembering her laughing at the wind, her blizzard collar up. Corner of Harcourt road remember that gust. Brrfoo. Blew up all her skirts and her boa nearly smothered old Goodwin. She did get flushed in the wind. (Refer Slide Time: 20:53)
Remember when we got home raking up the fire and frying up those pieces of lap of mutton for her supper with the Chutney sauce she liked. And the mulled rum. Could see her in the bedroom from the hearth unclamping the busk of her stays: white.
So, again look at the way in which different kinds of colour sensations, sound sensations, tactile sensations, all come back in a flush in Bloom’s mind as he remembers, as an experience of Molly Bloom when they were coming back from a concert over here. So, memory becomes a very large part in Ulysses. Memory and consciousness become a large part of identity in Ulysses.
So, how far can you remember becomes a large part of how well you can live. So, your entire possession of life, your entire ownership on life, in a way depends on memory, depends on your navigation with memory, and the navigation with memory can only take place in certain senses. So, sensory perceptions are foregrounded - colors, sound, tactile sensations, smells, all these become large chunks of memory narratives across Ulysses, ok.
Swish and soft flop her stays made on the bed. Always warm for her. Always liked to let herself out. Sitting there after till near to taking out her hairpins. Milly tucked up in beddyhouse. Happy. Happy. That was the night.
O, Mr Bloom, how do you do?
O, how do you do, Mrs Breen?
No use complaining. How is Molly these those times? Have not seen her for ages.
In the pink, Mr Bloom said gaily. Milly has a position down in Mullingar, you know.
(Refer Slide Time: 22:15)
Go away, is not that grand for her?
In a photographer’s there. Getting on like a house on fire. How are all your charges?
All on the baker’s list, Mrs Breen said.
How many has she? No other in sight.
You are in black. I see. you have no.
No, Mr Bloom said. I have just come from a funeral.
So, again look at the way in which a present conversation. The present and it just keeps invading back into the memory reverie that Mr Bloom is experiencing, so he is having these reveries when he is transporting into the past and suddenly this little flippant conversation, this you know cutting in of the of the present becomes over here or recurs over here through this seemingly innocuous questions, this random passersby that he sees encounters, the familiar faces he encounters, they ask some questions which bring him back to the present. So, his reverie, so the temporality you know politics is very interesting. So, he is constantly moving back and forwards in time.
(Refer Slide Time: 23:20)
And this is what I meant at the beginning of this lecture, when I said that the entire temporal frame in Ulysses, the calendar frame is one day, the clock frame is one day, that is a very superficial structure. So, within that superficial structure we have deep embedded narratives of temporality running across each other, crisscrossing each other in a very hyperlinked kind of a way, right. So, the Joycean day is just one day in which different kinds of days, and different kinds of histories and memory narratives are operative, ok.
And then of course, this reference to Dignam happens again. Mr. Bloom is asked why he is wearing black, why he is mourning and he says Dignam Mr. Bloom said. An old friend of mine. He died quite suddenly, poor fellow. Heart trouble, I believe. Funeral was this morning.
So, we have already seen that how you know again even the funeral which is again the overarching narrative of metempsychosis was taking place, everyone will become soil and dust. And Mr. Bloom obviously, Leopold Bloom over there he mediated that image in his mind through the image of the gramophone, where he says that you know every voice can be recorded inside a grave using a gramophone. Again the machine, the mundane and the metaphysical are mixed together in very interesting ways, ok.
(Refer Slide Time: 24:06)
So, and then of course, the whole idea of sensory-ness becomes important and I will stop at this point. Hot mockturtle vapour and steam of new baked jampuffs rolypoly poured out of Harrison’s. The heavy noonreek tickled on the top of Mr. Bloom’s gullet. Want to make good pastry, butter, best flour, Demerara sugar, or they would taste it with the hot tea. Or is it from her? A barefoot Arab stood over the grating, breathing in the fumes. Deaden the gnaw of hunger that way. Pleasure or pain is it? Penny dinner. Knife and fork chained to the table.
So, again the whole point over here is interesting because you know this obviously, references to certain sensory, you know feelings the smell of tea, the smell of butter, the whole idea of I mean eating becomes a sensory experience. But you know this ambivalence about pain or pleasure becomes important over here, because you know when these different kinds of senses mix over here,
What happens is this becomes example of what we call a synesthesia, where different sense perceptions crisscross each other. So, what you smell traditionally also becomes something which is which can be touched. So, what can be touched also becomes something which you may hear. So, different sense perceptions crisscross each other in a very heightened, sentient situation and that becomes very a recursive phenomenon in Ulysses to a large extent, ok, ok.
(Refer Slide Time: 25:21)
(Refer Slide Time: 25:24)
So, the last section that we will deal with today is again it includes tram. So, trams become you know this is an important issue, trams become very important machines, very important symbolic machines in Ulysses because trams cut back and across human thought processes in Ulysses.
So, every time Leopold Bloom has a thought process or has a sensation experience, trams cut back and across it. So, trams are not just innocuous machines over here. Trams becomes trams becomes symbols of mobility, mobility of thoughts, movement of thoughts and also become interruptions in thought processes. So, they become a very complex machinic presence in human streams of consciousness in this particular novel and this should be on your screen.
Trams passed one another, ingoing, outgoing, clanging. So, a liminality of movement, the liminality of time coming in and going out simultaneously, it is indicated by the movement of trams in Dublin and obviously, trams become like veins and arteries, the nervous system as it were of the Dublin city.
Useless words. Things go on the same, day after day: squads of police marching out, back: trams in, out. Those two loonies mooching about. Dignam cut enough, carted off. Mina Purefoy swollen belly on a bed groaning to have a child tugged out of her. One born every second somewhere. Others dying every second. Since I fed the birds five minutes. Three hundred kicked the bucket. Others three hundred born, washing the blood off, all are washed in the blood of the lamb, bawling maaaaaa.
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