Episode 18: Penelope, ~pp 723-783

What They Are Saying, Episode 18

…born on Depot Street, reared on Main Street, onetime scholar of two Sunday schools (one Episcopalian, the other Congregationalist), member of a poor but decent profession, I am glad not to be married to this particular embodiment of everything….”Nevertheless,” as dying Ibsen said.

William York Tindall, known to his students as “Sitting Bill”

My text of Tindall’s writing about “Penelope” in A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce has disappeared into a camoflauge of hilighting. There is nothing I can add except to say: “Savor those six pages.”

I had planned to ask and affirm: Is Molly’s character morally defensible? It is beyond my affirmation.

I had planned to ask and affirm: “Is she Circe?” “Is she Martha?” Affirmed.  And Mae West, The Little Flower, Helena Bonham of Troy, Dorothys Parker, Day and Gale. Just read Tindall. He said it better.

I planned to ask: “Were they all her lovers? I’d claim there were few, spiced with numerous flirtations, kisses and amorous touches. Reconsidering, I believe we are, every man and woman, her lovers. 

Instead I’ll just cobble a Litany of the Mother Most UnVirginal Marion Tweedy Bloom.

  • Grieving Mother, (Response: “Play for us”)
  • Tower of Untouched Isolation
  • Diva Most Demanding
  • Primer of Poets
  • Wounder of Words
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Hat Unspotted
  • Wife of Turkish Bath
  • Patronessa Most Practical
  • Protectress of Oysters Dear
  • Peruser of Pulps
  • Sharer of Seedcake
  • Tin of Potted Plums
  • Wearer of Pants
  • Mangler of MetAmpsychosis
  • Ever-ripening Melon
  • Caster of Cards
  • Sibyl Superstitious
  • Virgin of Hodges Figgis’ Window
  • Goddess of Earth, Moon and Firmament
  • Fleshy Arm of Alms
  • Flailer of Flannelless Bottoms
  • Gainsayer of Glooms
  • Creationist Most Convinced
  • Fiancee of the Regiment
  • Room Unfurnished
  • Scalder of Pots

and yes

  • Affirmer of All

End

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