(U) Episode 1: “Telemachus” ~pp 1-24.

What They Are Saying, Episode 1

James Ramey of Universidad Auto’noma Metropolitana, Mexico City, offended me when I began reading “Joycean Lice and the Life of Art.” It wasn’t that I objected to his idea that art was vermin; I gagged at the proposal that Joyce was not the creator of the artistic spirit.

It’s all Aristotle’s fault. The best scientific minds of the fourth century BC proposed that lice generated through abiogenesis, spontaneously that is, requiring nothing more than human sweat. Ramey further tortured me by saying that the strength of Joyce’s work is not in the creation of art but in “allusion.” He excelled in collecting and integrating the great ideas of the great thinkers who preceded him. This Ramey calls “the absorption of stray material.” But perhaps that is what Humanism is– the accumulation of ideas that no longer have the traditional, cultural, and tribal supports. Those old supports didn’t prove the ideas to be true. Instead, they demand the ideas be accepted without question.

Jean Michele Rebate’ observed that for Joyce, “lice embody the stubborn resistance of nature or the body to ideas.” Another interpretation cites Joyce’s comparison of the Jesuit Order to black lice. This second appeals to me, depicting the Jesuits not as an organ of Christianity but as cancer feeding on the host.

Is the artistic idea the artist’s product or an independent force that the artist cannot suppress? Can the artist deliver it like a midwife but take no credit for its creation? Must art OUT?

Joycean synthesis transforms the idea into art. On her deathbed, May Joyce uses “shapely fingernails reddened by the blood of squashed lice from the children’s shirts” to eliminate radical, humanist thinking. These are ideas Mother Joyce would crush. They spring not from her children but without any biological reason for their germination (that was unscientific thinking). Equally undesirable artistic instincts might spring from the artist too without ownership or even control by the author.

Ulystery’s Mysteries

Who is the unnamed swimmer at the Forty Foot Hole?

Fr. Conmee (but far from home)

Fr. Purdon ( “Minching” from his holy office in “Grace” and come to collect Stephen’s two pennies from Mulligan)

Fr. Conroy (Constantine, brother of Gabriel, from Star of the Sea

Fr. Flynn (untransmigrated, suffering spirit from “Two Sisters” here to attend to Matt Kane’s drowned corpse)

Fr. Someone-Else (from The Chapel of Your Choosing)

Post your solution as a comment here, or Direct Message me on FaceBook and I’ll post it for you.










One thought on “(U) Episode 1: “Telemachus” ~pp 1-24.

  1. Original Comment posted on August 9, 2021
    Q ( from Vardhan Le Zuz) Hi…. did anywhere in your writings or would u like to comment regarding the question – why did steven really got insulted Mulligan’s remark. obviously its not just his mother or his act of not kneeling at her side & more Steven refused to bend to any1…. what (& if there is a connetion to Heins behaviour & staying – the other triger of him leaving the martelo not to return
    My Reply: Stephen specifies that it’s not the insult to his mother who Mulligan says is “beastly dead” but the insult to Stephen himself that prompts the break. Stephen has broken with the Church and will soon break with Ireland. He is about to declare himself bound only to his art. Mulligan the Mocker ridicules any conviction. Buck Mulligan’s decisions seem to be only driven by situational ethics, nihilistic. Haines’ presence is an affront against Ireland. As the master, he presumes to look at the culture under a microscope as a butterfly collector might pin his prey. His treatment of the milk maid, who is a representation of Ireland, is insulting. There is also the suggestion of an insult to the Church by Haines. His dream causing him to shoot at the black panther suggests an interference with Irish Religion by England. Pantera was the Roman Legionaire sometimes said to have fathered Christ.

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