Video appunto: Ulysses - James Joyce
All the modernist techniques are applied in the Ulysses. In this work, nothing happens in terms of events. It tell the story of a typical day of a common man, Leopold Bloom, who gets up, walks around Dublin, meets some people such as Stephen Dedalus and finally he goes home to his wife Molly. But things are not so simple, because he wants to reproduce through a common man the life of humanity. Bloom’s wonderings are similar to the travel of Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey.
(The Odyssey) Ulysses is the Greek hero whose ship is blown off course. He is involved in dangerous events, but he survive and he can return to his home of Ithaca.
(Ulysses) Leopold Bloom is a common agent who leaves his wife asleep in bed to go around Dublin where he meets Stephen Dedalus.
(The Odyssey) Telemachus is the son of Ulysses, who waits for his father with his mother. Finding news for his father, he turns to king Nestor, who gives him good advice.
(Ulysses) Stephen Dedalus is a young writer who hasn’t a home. In Dublin he meets Bloom who offers to take him into his home.
(The Odyssey) Penelope is the faithful wife of Ulysses, who waits her husband’s return, avoiding her suitors by making a work that never been completed.
(Ulysses) Molly Bloom is the unfaithful wife of Leopold. She is a semi- professional singer but has many lovers. While Bloom is out, she is meeting her last boyfriend, Blazes Boylan.
The modern anti-hero
This work is similar to the Odyssey for the events and for the characters. Joyce shows how the problems of the classical word are the same of the modern man. The difference is that the common man is imperfect, he isn’t a hero and he can’t rely on Gods to help him. However, Joyce’s characters are deeper than classical heroes.
An odyssey in the consciousness
The various odysseys of Bloom, Stephen and Molly are voyages through the internal sea of their own consciousness. Like David Lodge says, this experience is like connecting our brain with car phones, so we can record our impressions through free association of idea.
Firstly, this interior monologue employs incomplete sentences (since people often leave one thought unfinished to go on to another). Then, there is no syntax, no grammar and slips of tongue. Thoughts are only connected by free association of idea and no one idea is important. In this work we have a mix of realism and symbolism, Joyce preserves all the rubbish that passes through our mind.
An encyclopedic novel
Ulysses isn’t a novel, but is it is considered a modern epic. Is it like bridge that divides the modern and the classical worlds. Ulysses is influenced not only Homer, but also Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Vico and Aquinas. He uses word from other languages and different style, such as from high rhetorical technique, to the advertising slogans. It can be compared to a “telephone directory”, the book can be read in many ways, not just from the beginning to the end but the reader is invited to play parts of the text like a game.