Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Lecture Seven--Hades
(from "Joyce's Ulysses" by Professor James A.W. Hefferman of Dartmouth College)


This chapter is called “Hades” because it reenacts Ulysses’s
journey to the realm of Hades, Who was lord of the dead in Greek
mythology. As Bloom and several other men ride to the cemetery
for the burial of Paddy Dignam, we are reminded ofthe various
references to death that have already occurred in the novel,
beginning with Stephen’s thoughts about his dead mother in
chapter 1. Because Bloom now thinks again of his dead son, Rudy,
and of his dead father, the chapter as a whole seems a memento
mori, a reminder that “in the midst of life, we are in death.” Yet in
spite of all the signs of death around him and his memories ofthe
dead, Bloom is resolutely life-affirming and, like Ulysses, he
returns from the realm of the dead to the World of the living at the
end ofthe chapter. Hence, its basic message reverses the apothegm
quoted above. “In the midst of death,” this chapter shows, “we are
in life.”


I. ln telling the story of a burial, this chapter highlights the theme of
death, which has already been introduced in previous chapters and
which takes a prominent place in virtually all great epics, including The
A. Previous chapters include various references to death.
1. Stephen talks with Mulligan about his dead mother in chapter 
2. Chapter 2 includes discussion of bloody warfare. 
3. ln chapter 3, Stephen sees a dead dog and thinks about a
drowned man. 
4. In chapter 4, Bloom briefly remembers the death of his infant son. 
5. In chapter 5, Bloom thinks of his dead father.
B. Death is a prominent feature of epic poetry, including Homer’s.
1. Nearly all great epics of Western literature include a trip to the
2. In Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses goes to the underworld and
meets the shades of various Greek heroes. He also talks to the
shade of his own man, Elpenor, who died after getting drunk
and accidentally jumping off the roof of the palace of Circe,
the enchantress.
II. Various characters in this chapter correspond to figures in the Hades
episode of The Odyssey.
A. Paddy Dignam, who drank himself to death, is the counterpart of
Homer’s Elpenor. 
B. The shade of Agamemnon, the Greek king killed by his wife and
her lover, is recalled by the grave of Charles Stewart Parnell,
Ireland’s uncrowned king, who was politically destroyed by the
revelation of his affair with a married woman. 
C. John O’Cormell, the cemetery caretaker, recalls Hades, lord of the
D. Cerberus, the dog who guards the Lmderworld, reappears in the
doglike Father Coffey.
III. ln addition to recalling several characters from Ulysses’s visit to the
underworld, this chapter also re-creates the action of the Homeric
A. Just as Ulysses sails northwest to reach the land of the
Cimmerians, so do the mourners travel by carriage to a cemetery
northwest of central Dublin. 
B. The mourners also cross two rivers and two canals that together
recall the four rivers of Hades. 
C. .lust as Ulysses retums to the world ofthe living at the end ofthe
Homeric episode, so does Bloom walk back out through the
cemetery gates at the end of this chapter.
IV. Paradoxically, this chapter about death reveals-through the eyes of
Bloom-the irrepressibility of life. Reversing the apothegm that “inthe
midst of life, we are in death,” the chapter affirms that “in the midst of
death, we are in life.”
A. Bloom’s sighting of Stephen makes him think not just of Rudy’s
early death but also of the moment when he was conceived.
1. As the funeral carriage starts off, Bloom catches sight of
Stephen heading to Sandymount Strand, where he walks and
meditates in “Proteus.” 
2. Though Simon Dedalus simply rages at Mulligan for
corrupting Stephen, Bloom thinks of the son that Rudy might
have become. 
3. He also recalls the moment of Rudy’s conception, when the
sight of two dogs “at it” prompted Molly to ask him for “a
a. Darcy O’Brien thinks this makes their sexual act “bestial
and obscene.” 
b. But Bloom is celebrating the sudden explosion of life
here: “How life begins,” he says to himself.
B. Bloom also reveals his unabashed love of life in his thoughts about
the sexual ripening of his daughter, Milly. '

V. Nevertheless, Bloom must struggle to preserve his commitment to life
against painful thoughts.
A. The sight of Blazes Boylan reminds him of what Boylan is
planning with Molly. 
B. Mr. PoWer’s tactless denunciation of suicide reminds him of his
father’s death. 
C. The sight of a child’s coffin reminds him of Rudy’s death and his
own possible responsibility for that death.
1. Bloom thinks of an ancient Jewish belief that a child’s health
reflects the virility of his father. 
2. lf he sees himself as responsible for Rudy’s death, this could
explain why he cannot bear to have another child and, hence,
has not had sex with Molly since Rudy’s death.
VI. No matter how hard he tries to be pan of the group of Christian
mourners, Bloom is made to feel isolated because of his Jewishness

A. Bloom is not allowed to identify himself with the others’ aversion
to a Jewish moneylender, nor to finish his funny story about the
1. When Simon Dedalus curses the moneylender, Martin
Cunningham says that “nearly all of us” have borrowed from
him-implicitly excluding Bloom. 
2. When Bloom tries to tell a funny story about the moneylender
to show that he is one ofthe boys~or one of the goys-
Cunningham steals the punchline.
B. A newspaperman who knows Bloom well enough to borrow fiom
him tactlessly asks him for his “Christian name,” then misspells
the sumame in the newspaper.

VII. Rejecting the Christian doctrine ofthe afterlife, Bloom tinnly believes
in the indestructibility of life on earth.
A. Christian burial is guided by the doctrine of the resurrection, the
belief that all good Christians who die will one day rise again and
go to heaven, just as Christ himself did. 
B. Though Bloom rejects the Christian doctrine of the resurrection, he
believes that life on earth continues indefinitely.
1. Corpses fertilize the ground, as exemplified by giant poppies
in Chinese cemeteries. 
2. Bloom thinks that a telephone should be putzinto each coffin
in case the corpse is still living. 
3. He also believes that gramophones should be used to preserve
the voices of the dead. 
4. He’s delighted to see a fat old rat scratching the pebbles
beside a crypt.
Vlll. Just as Ulysses returns to the World ofthe living after his visit to the
underworld, so Bloom happily steps out of the cemetery at the end of
this chapter.
A. He repeatedly affirms his faith in life against everything that
conspires to kill it. 
B. Unlike Simon Dedalus, who wants tojoin his wife in death, Bloom
emphatically wants to live.

Supplementary Reading:
Adams, “Hades,” in Hart and Hayman, pp. 91-114.

Questions to Consider:
l. Why does Bloom reject the doctrine of the resurrection?
2. ln a chapter devoted to the burial of Paddy Dignam, why do we leam
almost nothing about Dignam himself? Why, for instance, do we hear
not one word ofa eulogy for him?


Lecture Six--Leopold Bloom and the Lotus Eaters
(from "Joyce's Ulysses" by Professor James A.W. Hefferman of Dartmouth College)


Chapter 5 is named for the Lotus Eaters of l~lomer’s Odyssey, who
live off the fruit of the lotus, which is a kind of narcotic; when
some of Ulysses’s men take it during a visit to the Lotus Eaters,
they forget all about going home and he must force them to leave.
This chapter tests Bloom’s devotion to his home and his wife by
tempting him to forget both and savor the pleasures of doing
absolutely nothing. But Bloom cannot escape the pain of knowing
that his wife plans to commit adultery, or the pain of remembering
his dead father, who leaves him with a legacy of guilt for
abandoning Judaism. At the end of the chapter, not even the
prospect ofa luxurious bath can wholly dissolve these pains.


I. Reenacting the Homeric episode ofthe Lotus Eaters, this chapter
tempts Bloom to forget his devotion to his home and his Wife.

A. When Ulysses and his men visit the Lotus Eaters in The Odyssey
the men are drugged by the fruit of the lotus flower, and Ulysses
alone makes them move on.
1. The men forget all about their homeland. 
2. Ulysses must force them to leave. 
3. The episode shows Ulysses’s determination to get home.
B. Like Ulysses’s men, Bloom is tempted in various ways to forget
his devotion to his wife and home.
1. He thinks about “Flowers of idleness” and fantasizes about the
laziness of life in the Far East. 
2. He forgets his house key and several other things. 
3. He imagines that gelded horses might be happily free of
4. He sees Roman Catholic communicants “safe in the arms of
kingdom come.” 
5. As “Henry Flower,” he conducts a furtive correspondence
with a would-be “smart lady typist” named Martha.
II. But Bloom demonstrates his capacity to resist stupefaction and
lethargy~because he can never forget the pain bound up with
memories of home and his familial past.
A. His conversation with McCoy leads to the painful topic of Blazes
1. When Bloom tells McCoy that Molly is booked for a concert
tour, McCoy asks, “Who’s getting it up?”-a double-entendre
that alludes to Boylan’s sexual designs on Molly. 
2. Though Bloom avoids answering McCoy’s question directly,
he is forced to remember Boylan’s letter addressed to “Mrs.
Marion Bloom.”
B. A poster advertising a play reminds Bloom of his dead father and
their painful relation to Judaism.
1. In one scene of the play, an apostate Jew who returns to his
native Austrian village is recognized by a friend of his father,
who tells the young man that his father died of grief over his
son’s apostasy.  
2. Bloom recalls that his father was profoundly moved by this
3. Though his father converted to Christianity at the time of his
marriage, he seems to have wanted to make Bloom feel guilty
for leaving the God of Judaism.
III. Though Martha’s letter rouses him to “weak joy,” its cockeyed
language brings its own threat of punishment and pain.

A. The letter is a crazy mix of longing, self-pity, illiteracy, and
outrage, proving the “smart lady typist” to be superlatively dumb. 
B. The flower that comes with the letter has a pin in it. 
C. Its language of flowers is itself a thomy language of menace
threats to punish Bloom. 
D. Martha is both angry with Bloom and desperate to see him.

IV. Bloom unsentimentally resists the lotus-flower charms of Martha.

A. He foresees the quarrel that might break out if they met. 
B. From her reference to a headache, he guesses that she “has her
roses probably”~that is, she’s menstruating. 
C. The pin with the flower reminds him of a bawdy street song that
leads in tum to thoughts of Molly’s adultery.

V. Though Bloom finds the Mass mildly erotic, he focuses on its elements
of pain and suffering.

A. Seeing on the back of the priest’s vestments the letters INRI and
IHS, which refer to Christ, he mistakenly construes them as
meaning “Iron Nails Ran In” and “I Have Suffered.” 
B. Thus, he implicitly identifies his own suffering with that of
Christ-a point that will be developed later in the novel.

VI. In Bloom’s final vision of his body soothed and solaced by a bath of
pleasure, the limp phallus must remind him that he has no living son.

A. He plans to visit the Turkish bath before attending the funeral of
Paddy Dignam. 
B. He plans to masturbate in the bath. 
C. In saying to himself, “This is my body,” Bloom ironically recalls
the words of consecration in the Mass.
1. “This is my body” are words of consecration. When the priest
utters them in reference to a wafer of bread, he reenacts what
Christ said of bread at the Last Supper. 
2. implicitly, therefore, Bloom is once again identifying himself
with Christ. 
3. But he’s using the words to help him imagine a purely
physical pleasure.
D. The final vision of himself floating in the bath with his genitals as
a “languid” flower manifests his sexual indolence-his failure to
father a living son.
1. The mental picture of himself lying in water exemplifies the
lure of idleness. 
2. The flower has by now come to symbolize the indolence and
forgetfulness of the Lotus Eaters-and the would-be solace of
sexual gratification. 
3. But in foreseeing his penis in the bath as a “limp father of
thousands,” Bloom inevitably reminds himself that he has no
living son»a thought that will haunt him for the rest of the

Supplementary Reading:
van Caspel, “Father and Son in the Lotus-Eaters

Questions to Consider:
l. How would you compare Bloom’s thoughts about his father with
Stephen’s thoughts about his mother?
2. Why does the chapter end with a description of Bloom foreseeing
body in the bath?


Lecture Five--Breakfast with Calypso
(from "Joyce's Ulysses" by Professor James A.W. Hefferman of Dartmouth College)


This chapter introduces us to Leopold Bloom, the second major
character in the novel and the Joycean counterpart of Ulysses. The
chapter takes its name ii'om the nymph who detained Ulysses for
seven years. As the servant of his wife, for whom he prepares
breakfast in bed and to whom he delivers a letter written by her
lover, Bloom is in a sense enthralled by his wife, who actually
resembles the picture ofa nymph hanging above her bed. On a
small scale, Bloom wanders in this chapter-mentally as well as
physically»-and when he retums from his short shopping
expedition, he finds disturbing evidence that his house and wife
have been usurped by another man. He thus reenacts not only the
experience ofthe homecoming of Ulysses but also that of Stephen
Dedalus, Whose country has been usurped by England and whose
literary ambitions have been usurped by Buck Mulligan.


I. Chapter 4 shifts the focus from Stephen to Leopold Bloom, the
counterpart of Homer’s Ulysses, and lets us compare the two.

A. The first three chapters are collectively called “The Telemachiad”
because they introduce us to Stephen, the counterpart of Homer’s
B. Chapters 4-15 make up the longest section of the novel.
Corresponding to the wanderings of Ulysses in Homer’s epic, they
tell the story of Bloom’s day from 8:00 a.m. on Bloomsday to 1:00
a.m. the next morning. 
C. Chapters 4~6 tell the story of Bloom’s morning so that we can
compare and contrast it to Stephen’s morning. Though sometimes
called “spatial form” because it represents various characters
juxtaposed in space, it might better be called “synchronized
narration” or even “meanwhile” narration.
II. While Stephen cultivates the life of the mind, Bloom cherishes the
needs ofthe body.
A. Although Stephen is repelled by the thought of “urinous offal”
excreted by a drowned body at the end of “Proteus,” Bloom loves
the tang of urine in grilled kidneys. 
B. Bloom has no squeamishness about any bodily functions and
enjoys defecating at the end of the chapter.
III. Though Molly recalls Homer’s Calypso in this chapter, and though
Bloom differs radically from Homer’s heroic Voyager, he nonetheless
begins to reenact the experience of Ulysses.

A. In The Odyssey, Calypso is a nymph who detains Ulysses for
seven years until Zeus compels her to let Ulysses go home. 
B. Though Molly Bloom is Leopold’s wife, she resembles Calypso ir
some ways.
1. She grew up the island of Gibraltar, originally called Calpe
because it was thought to be inhabited by Calypso. 
2. She resembles the nymph in the reproduction of a painting
that hangs over the bed she shares with Bloom.
C. In response to a question from Molly, Bloom explains the idea of
reincarnation, unwittingly referring to his own reincarnation as
1. While shopping for a pork kidney and, thus, revealing that he
is anything but an orthodox Jew, Bloom wanders mentally as
well as physically.
a. Like the philandering Ulysses, who enjoyed the sexual
favors of both a nymph and an enchantress during his
long years at sea, Bloom ogles a sexy-looking girl at the
butcher shop. 
b. An ad for a model farm in Palestine makes him mentally
travel to the Middle East and ultimately to the Dead Sea,
“a barren land.” 
c. Thus, his short trip to the pork butcher’s becomes
something like a Ulyssean adventure.
2. Returning home he finds on the hall floor a letter that gives
him a shock and makes him experience the first unmistakably
Ulyssean moment in the novel.
a. The letter is addressed in “bold hand” to “Mrs. Marion
Bloom,” thrusting Leopold aside. 
b. The letter comes from Blazes Boylan, the notoriously
flashy promoter who is arranging a concert tour for
Molly, a professional singer.  
c. Like Ulysses returning to Ithaca to find suitors occupying
his house, Bloom returns to find his house usurped by
another man With designs on his wife.

IV. Along with a sense of usurpation, Bloom shares many things with
Stephen Dedalus.
A. Both wear black and are burdened by memories of the dead.
1. Stephen remembers his mother.  
2. Bloom remembers his son, Rudy, who died in infancy, and hrs
father, who committed suicide.
B. Both men are fascinated by animals.
1. Stephen watches a dog in chapter 3. 
2. ln chapter 4, Bloom feeds his cat and tries to imagine how the
cat sees him. 
3. Both men think about cattle.
C. Both men think of Simon Dedalus-Stephen’s father-as a mimic. 
D. Both men think about birth, patemity, and father-son relations. 
E. Bloom’s mental wandering to the Middle East recalls the dream
that Stephen struggles to recall in chapter 3.
V. Nevertheless, Bloom differs from Stephen in many ways-especially in
his experience of music.

A. Stephen remembers singing a song to his dying mother at her
request, but Molly tells Bloom about a song that she herself plans
to sing-a duet of seduction.
1. In the duet, from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the don persuades a
newly engaged country girl to come with him to his villa. 
2. Because this song is on the program that Blazes Boylan has
come to discuss with Molly, it underscores the sexual purpose
of Boylan’s visit.
B. The letter from Bloom’s teenage daughter, Milly, further reveals
the seductive power of music.
1. Because Milly (now working some distance from Dublin)
reports that she has just met a “young student” who sings a
song about “those seaside girls,” Bloom must face the sexual
ripening of his daughter. 
2. In speaking of “Boylan” as the composer ofthe song, Milly
invites us to link her yotmg admirer with the seducer of
Bloom’s wife. 
3. Thus, Bloom must face the prospect that both his wife and
daughter may be seduced.

VI. Though Bloom seems wholly different from Ulysses, who killed every
man that dared even to desire his wife, his thoughtfulness and foresight
recall the shrewdness of Ulysses.

VII. In spite ofthe differences between Stephen and Bloom, both of them
brood on “love’s bitter mystery.”
A. Stephen yeams to shake the burden of guilt left by his dead
B. Bloom stuggles to bear the knowledge that his wife is about to
commit adultery. 

Supplementary Reading:
Glasheen, “Calypso,” in Han and Hayman, pp. 51-70
Kenner, Ulysses, pp. 46-50.

Questions to Consider:
l. If Bloom knows that Boylan plans to seduce Molly on Bloomsday, why
does he do nothing to stop it?
2. If Bloom is preoccupied with the needs of his body, does he show any
evidence of intellectual curiosity or imagination?


Lecture Four--Proteus on Sandymount Strand
(from "Joyce's Ulysses" by Professor James A.W. Hefferman of Dartmouth College)

This chapter is named “Proteus” after the legendary sea-god of
Homer’s epic. Though Homer’s Telemachus never meets Proteus
directly, he learns about the god from Menelaos, who tells him of
Proteus’s power to change his form. Hence, the theme of the
chapter is metamorphosis: transformation, shape-shifting, scene
changing. As Stephen walks along the beach at Sandymount
Strand, he watches a dog behaving like a succession of various
other animals, and he thinks about other shifts in form and place:
about his own doglike face, about the radical transformations we
undergo in passing from birth through life to death, about his
father’s gift for mimicry, about scenes (such as Paris) quite
different from the beach around him, and about the multiple
personalities ofthe sea--a mighty mother fully capable of
drowning her children.


I. ln spite of its difficulty, this chapter is well worth reading because of
what it reveals about the mind and imagination of Stephen.
A. The philosophical language ofthe opening paragraph is daunting. 
B. But the chapter shows Stephen’s mind at work on all kind of
objects-living and dead, animate and inanimate-as he walks the
beach about ll o’clock after teaching his class at the Dalkey
C. The chapter reveals the mind of Stephen by means of interior
1. An interior monologue is an exact, verbatim transcript of what
a character is thinking-what is streaming through his or her
2. Joyce said that he took it from the work of a late nineteenth-
century French novelist named Edouard Dujardin. 
3. In this chapter and for the most part elsewhere in Ulysses,
Joyce altemates between interior monologue and third-person
narration as he draws us into Stephen’s mind.
II. Reformulating Homer’s story about Telemachus and Menelaos, Joyce
turns Stephen from Telemachus into Menelaos to dramatize the
struggle to perceive unity beneath multiplicity.

A. Telemachus, who is Stephen’s counterpart in Homer’s epic, has
left Ithaca to seek news of his father from his father’s old war
buddies. Having visited Nestor in Pylos, he goes to See Menglaos
in Sparta, who tells him of Proteus, the shape-shifting god of the
B. This chapter, called “Proteus,” exemplifies the way Joyce
reformulates Homer.
1. Although Telemachus never meets Proteus directly, Stephen
encounters him in the world of the seashore. 
2. By grappling intellectually with a series of transformations
and struggling to perceive unity beneath multiplicity, Stephen
becomes something like Menelaos.
a. He sees a dog acting like a succession of other animals
and finally reverting to its own shape-“sniffling like a
dog”--when it finds a dead dog on the beach. 
b. Stephen's thoughts on the “dogsbody” remind us that he
saw himself as a “dogsbody”--the anagrammatie
transformation of God’s body--in Mulligan’s cracked
c. Qigging in the sand, the dog reminds Stephen of his
riddle about the fox burying his grandmother, which
recalls his own desire to bury the guilt-laden memory of
his mother-even as he keeps digging her up again
III. Meditating on the sea, Stephen is hatmted by a fear of drowning.
A. Recalling that Mulligan once saved a man from drowning, Stephen
remembers that he could not save his mother from a death marked
by the bitter waters of her own bile.
B. If Stephen’s mythic father is Dedalus, the legendary maker of
wings, he himself is something like Icarus, who fell into the sea
when he flew too high and the sum melted the wings from his
C. At the end ofthe chapter, he ruefully imagines the decomposed
body of a recently drowned man.
1. The thought ofthe drowned man leads him mentally back to
Milton’s elegy for a drowned poet-an elegy from which one
of his students recited a few lines about the saving power of
Christ, who once walked on water. 
2. But Stephen sees death as the reverse of redemption, a process
of transformation leading only downward to “dead dust” and
“ruinous offal.”
IV. Nevertheless, Stephen’s thoughts on transformation include birth, as
well as death, “creation from nothing.”
A. The sight of midwives makes him think about his own birth. 
B. Remembering his “squealing” infancy, Stephen prompts us to
think about the transformation of his voice from squealing to
philosophical eloquence. 
C. The thought of his own birth leads him mentally to his parents
begetting him and, thereby, doing “the coupler’s will.”

V. As his walk along the beach makes him think of other places,
Stephen’s mind becomes what Hugh Kenner calls a “theater of
A. Passing the house of his Aunt Sara, he imagines a meeting with his
deadbeat Uncle Richie there.
1. First he imagines the voice of his father contemptuously
mimicking the voices of Sara’s family, whom he despises. 
2. Because Joyce’s own father was a gifted mimic, this episode
makes us realize that Joyce has inherited from him the gift of
mimicry, which manifests itself throughout his novel. 
3. As an aspiring writer, Stephen himself is learning the art of
mimicry--the art of impersonation. 
4. Hence, he can imagine what his Uncle Richie would say-
even though he never actually goes to see him.
B. The sight of a fort known as the Pigeonhouse leads him to recall
his sojourn in Paris.
1. The Pigeonhouse reminds him of an irreverent French book
about the life of Christ in which Mary is said to have been
impregnated by a pigeon. In tum, the book reminds him of
Mulligan’s mocking song about Christ as the son of “a bird.” 
2. Thoughts of France lead him to remember his sojourn in Paris
and his meeting with Patrice Egan, based on a real-life Fenian
named Joseph Casey who fled from Ireland rather than live
there under English rule. Once a daring revolutionary, Egan is
now a bumed-out figure-like Goulding, who was once a
lawyer and is now a billing clerk. 
3. These two products of downward transformation-Egan and
Goulding-remind Stephen of his own failure to fultlll his
literary ambitions.
VI. Meditating by the seashore, Stephen learns how to look at and listen to
an ever-changing world that is nonetheless enduringly present.
A. He opens his eyes to everything around him.
l. He interprets all that he sees, reading them as “signs” 
2. He construes the sea as a source of both life and death.
B. Closing his eyes, he listens to the sound of his walking boots.
1. “Shut your eyes and see,” he says to himself. 
2. While the eye can see two things juxtaposed in space,
nebeneinander, “next to one another,” sounds come in audible
succession, one thing after another, nacheinander. 
3. By closing his eyes, Stephen discovers that the extemal world
is “there all the time” for the senses, waiting to be seen, heard,
and read-to be constuned by the senses and interpreted by
the mind.

Supplementary Reading:
Kenner, Ulysses, pp. 38-41.
Morse, “Proteus,” in Hart and Hayman, pp. 29-49.

Questions to Consider:
1. Why is Stephen so fearful of drowning?
2. What does this chapter reveal about the relations between fathers and


Lecture Three--Nestor at School
(from "Joyce's Ulysses" by Professor James A.W. Hefferman of Dartmouth College)

ln this chapter, Stephen teaches his students at the Dalkey School,
collects his pay from headmaster Deasy, and talks with Deasy
about various matters, including the history of Ireland and the
Jews. Because this chapter is meant to reenact the visit of Homer’s
Telemachus to a wise old man named Nestor, We might expect
Deasy to be equally wise, but his ignorance and anti-Semitism
reveal the contrary. Though Deasy’s special interest in horse-
racing and cattle recall the fact that Nestor was a tamer of horses,
he is anything but wise in his would-be fatherly advice to Stephen;
he is blind and hypocritical, and his providential view of history is
far from that of Stephen, who sees history as a nightmare from
which he struggles to awake.


I. Chapter 2 chiefly concerns Stephen’s meeting with Deasy, the
headmaster ofthe boys’ school where Stephen teaches, who
corresponds with Homer’s Nestor. Nestor is the wise old king of Pylos
who fought beside Ulysses in the Trojan War and whom Telemachus
visits in quest for news of his father.
A. Like Nestor, a tamer of horses, Deasy is an old man with a special
interest in racehorses. 
B. Deasy also has a special interest in cattle.
1. He has written a letter about hoof-and-mouth disease that he
wants to see published in Dublin newspapers. 
2. He asks Stephen to help him get it published. 
3. For this part ofthe chapter, Joyce drew on his own
experience; at the urging of a man named Henry Blackwood
Price, he wrote an editorial about a new cure for hoof-and-
mouth disease in l9l2, the year of the British embargo against
Irish cattle.
II. Deasy’s letter about hoof-and-mouth disease exemplifies the theme of
reading and writing that permeates the chapter.

A. In carrying a letter from Deasy to the newspapers, Stephen is
implicitly casting his lot with joumalism-a kind of writing that is
very different from literature. He’s also serving Deasy as a kind of
copy boy, and because the subject of the letter is cattle, he mefully
foresees that Mulligan will call him a “bullockbefriending bard.” 
B. A “gorescarred” textbook is evident in the classroom discussion
that opens the chapter. 
C. The handwriting of a student who comes to Stephen for special
help is carefully described. 
D. Deasy’s method of typing is also carefully described, as is
Stephen’s method of skimming the letter when he reads it.
III. In spite of his superficial resemblance to Nestor, Deasy has none of
Nestor’s wisdom. As a would-be father to Stephen, he fails utterly.
A. When he gives Stephen his monthly pay, he also offers him useless
advice about money.
1. When Deasy tells him that he should never owe anyone
anything, Stephen remembers that his debts far exceed his
month’s pay.  
2. When Deasy quotes Shakespeare as saying, “Put but money in
thy purse,” Stephen quietly remembers that the words are
spoken by Iago, one of Shakespeare’s worst villains.
B. Deasy is anti-Semitic and blind to his own hypocrisy.
1. He accuses “jew merchants” of destroying England. 
2. He fails to realize that in urging Stephen to hoard his money,
he is just as miserly as the stereotypical merchant of anti-
Semitic legend. 
3. In claiming that Jews have “sinned against the light,” he fails
to realize that he himself is utterly benighted.
C. Deasy’s review of Irish history is vitiated by his ignorance and
staimchly pro-British sympathies.
1. Deasy is a West Briton, a staunch supporter of English rule in
2. The orange lodges of Ireland took their name from William of
Orange, the Protestant king of England who defeated the
Catholic forces of Ireland in 1690. Though they actually
supported the 1800 act of union that made Ireland subject to
the English Parliament, Deasy claims that the lodges fought to
repeal the act of union. 
3. He wrongly calls Stephen a “Fenian”--a radical Irish
4. He mindlessly asserts that all the ills ofthe world spring from
5. He wrongly claims that Sir John Blackwood voted for the act
of union.
D. His faith in the providential theory of history collides with
Stephen’s conception of history as a nightmare.
1. Deasy believes that human history moves toward one great
goal, “the manifestation of God.” 
2. Stephen sees history as “a nightmare from which I am trying
to awake.” 
3. While Deasy salutes the work of the orange lodges, Stephen
silently recalls their brutal slaughter of Roman Catholic tenant
4. Stephen’s thoughts on the brutality of the field hockey game
being played outside Deasy’s office (where he talks with
Stephen) recall his thoughts on the futility of all battles,
exemplified by the bloody victory of Pyrrhus in 279-the first
Pyrrhic victory, subject of a class discussion at the beginning
of the chapter. 
5. Stephen’s thoughts also remind us that Joyce wrote Ulysses
during World War I, the bloodiest war the world had ever
IV. Against the pseudo-wisdom of the would-be fatherly Deasy stands the
maternal love that comes to Stephen’s mind when a slow student asks
him for special help after class.
A. The schoolboy’s vulnerability makes Stephen think of how much
children need motherly care.
1. He sees that the boy might have been squashed without his
mother’s loving care. 
2. The sight of the boy reminds him of his own childhood.
B. In spite of his need to bury the guilt that his mother’s death has left
him, he remembers his own mother as a protector.
V. In ignorantly asserting that Ireland never persecuted the Jews because
“she never let them in,” Deasy unwittingly anticipates the appearance
of Leopold Bloom.
A. Deasy ignores the fact that by 190] , three years before Bloomsday,
nearly 4,000 Jews were living in Ireland. 
B. Because he sees no Jews, he sees no signs ofthe persecution that
Bloom will be made to experience in the form of subtle slights and
sometime vicious insults later on.

Supplementary Reading:
Epstein, “Nestor,” in Hart and Hayman, pp. 17-24

Questions to Consider:
1. Why does Stephen tell his students the riddle about the fox burying his
grandmother under a hollybush?
2. Does Stephen’s view of motherhood undergo a change as we move
from chapter 1 to chapter 2?


Lecture Two--Telemachus at the Martello Tower
(from "Joyce's Ulysses" by Professor James A.W. Hefferman of Dartmouth College)


Chapter 1 presents to us one ofthe three principal characters of
Ulysses. He is Stephen Dedalus, a fictionalized version of .loyce’s
younger self, a 22-year-old schoolteacher of Roman Catholic
background, lofty intellect, and brooding, brilliant wit. Chapter l
reveals Stephen’s preoccupation with his dead mother and his
deeply conflicted relation to the two young men with whom he
lives in a Martello Tower on the Irish coast: Buck Mulligan, an
Irish medical student of mocking wit and rollicking sensuality, and
Haines, a condescending Englishman. Because Stephen cares
nothing for his father, he scarcely seems to recall Homer’s
Telemachus, who sets out to find his father at the beginning of The
Odyssey. But thanks to Mulligan and Haines, he feels something
like the sense of usurpation that Telemachus endured from the
suitors who occupied the house of his long-absent father.


I. The first chapter of Ulysses is named for Telemachus because it
introduces us to Stephen Dedalus, his counterpart in the world of
Joyce. But the two seem to have little in common.
A. At the beginning of Homer’s epic, Telemachus is moved to seek
news of his long-absent father.
1. Suitors have occupied his father’s house and are pressing his
mother to many. 
2. They are plotting to kill Telemachus and Ulysses, too, if he
3. ln disguise, the goddess Athene prompts Telemachus to seek
news of his father from his old comrades-in-arms.
B. Stephen seems at first quite different from Telemachus.
1. He’s not living at home but with two friends in a Martello Tower. 
2. His mother is dead. 
3. He has no wish to see his father.
II. Different as they seem to be, Stephen shares with Telemachus a sense
of usurpation.
A. The Manello Tower itself signifies England’s usurpation of
1. It was built in 1804 to defend the British Isles against a French
2. A few years earlier, the French had come to help the Irish
launch an abortive rebellion against English rule. 
3. The tower expressed England’s refusal to let the Irish regain
possession of their own land.
B. In spite of his captivating charm, Buck Mulligan is a usurper
1. He recalls Homer’s Antinous. 
2.He threatens to usurp Stephen’s place at the center of his
3. He threatens to tum Stephen from an aspiring writer into a
hopeless lush. 
4. In mockingly celebrating a black Mass, he usurps the role of
the priest and father. 
5. He treats Stephen’s wit as a commodity to be traded for
English coin.
C. Haines embodies England’s usurpation of Ireland.
1. He wants to study Ireland as an anthropologist might study a
tribe of aborigines. 
2. In expecting bacon for his breakfast, he recalls the ravenous
suitors of Homer’s epic. 
3. He has taken possession ofthe Irish language, which not even
the old milkwoman can recognize.
D. As “the cracked looking glass of a servant,” Mulligan’s shaving
mirror reflects England’s usurpation of Ireland.
III. Charged with mythic significance, the old milkwoman exemplifies
Joyce’s fusion of ancient and modern.
A. Like the goddess Athene, who comes to Telemachus in disguise,
she is said to be the “lowly form of an immortal” and a “messenger
from the secret morning.” 
B. Described with epithets traditionally applied to Ireland itself, she
secretly reminds us of an Ireland all but obliterated by the English 
C. Like Penelope, she is made to serve those who have usurped her
own land.
IV. Though Stephen rejects the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church,
he yearns to be a priest ofthe imagination, consecrating ordinary things
by immortalizing them in his art.
A. He takes the legendary Dedalus as his model.
1. In Portrait ofthe Artist, Stephen discovers the mythic father
signified by his own name, Dedalus. 
2. As the legendary ancient Greek artisan who made wings for
himself and his son Icarus to escape the labyrinth at Crete,
Dedalus symbolizes the flight of the artist’s imagination. 
3. Taking Dedalus as his model, Stephen yeams to ily past all
the things that might hold him back. 
4. He also sees himself as a new kind of priest, a priest of the
imagination in his art.
B. He resents Mulligan for mockingly assuming the role ofthe priest
father, and Christ himself.
1. He is not amused by Mulligan’s jokes about the miracles of
Christ and the ritual of consecration at Mass. 
2. He sees that 1,900 years of tradition cannot be laughed away. 
3. He also sees that Mulligan is implicitly mocking Stephen’s
literary ambition, his yearning to consecrate ordinary
experience in art.

V. Stephen’s memories of his mother mingle pity with resentment.

A. Mulligan charges Stephen with killing his mother by refusing to
kneel down and pray for her when she was dying. 
B. Stephen is haunted by the memory of his recently dead mother,
who appeared to him in a dream. 
C. The memory of his dying mother and the fearfulness ofthe sea
contrast sharply with Mulligan’s description ofthe sea as a “great
sweet mother.”
1. The bay is “a dull green mass of liquid” resembling the bowl
of green bile that she vomited up from her rotting liver. 
2. The sea is “a bowl of bitter waters” because Stephen knows
that a man recently drowned in it. 
3. Like Icarus, the original son of Dedalus, who drowned when
he fell into the sea, Stephen fears drowning.
D. Though he pitied his dying mother and sang to her at her bedside
he desperately yearns to break the stranglehold of guilt that she
and Mulligan have tried to thrust upon him.
l. Ironically, he calls himself the servant of two masters--the
British empire and Roman Catholicism. 
2. From both, he yearns to be free.
Supplementary Reading:
Kemmer, Ulysses, chapters 2 and 4, pp. 34-38.
Benstock, “Telemachus,” in Hart and Hayman, pp. 1-16

Questions to Consider

1. lf this chapter is supposed to establish Stephen Dedalus as one of the
three main characters of the novel, why does it give so much attention
to Buck Mulligan?

2. The only character in this chapter who is not Irish is Haines, the
Englishman. Why is he the only one who speaks the lrish language
and why are none of his Irish words quoted?


Lecture One--The Story of a Modern Masterpiece
(from Joyce's Ulysses by Professor James A.W. Hefferman of Dartmouth College)


This lecture explains the special importance of James Joyce’s
Ulysses in twentieth-century fiction, the challenge it presents to a
first-time reader, and the controversies it provoked when first
published. Because Joyce’s novel reconstructs in modern terms the
journey of an ancient Greek king in an epic poem known as
Homer’s Odyssey, this lecture also explains that the structure of
the course is based on the structure of the novel, which traces the
wanderings of Leopold Bloom through the city of Dublin on
Bloomsday: June 16, 1904. While showing how his wanderings
and his homecoming reenact the story of Homer’s hero, the course
will examine his interaction with two other characters: Stephen
Dedalus, who stands for Joyce’s own younger self, and Molly
Bloom, the wife of Leopold, who has an adulterous tryst on the
afternoon of Bloomsday but who is nonetheless eventually joined
by her husband in bed.


I.  Joyce’s Ulysses is difficult, controversial, and supremely important in
the history of twentieth-century English fiction.
A. To first-time readers, it seems an intimidating book. 
B. When first published, it was both denounced and celebrated
1. Several English critics found it obscene.
2. Several American writers hailed it.
C.  T. S. Eliot called it “the most important expression which the
present age has found,” because it established “the mythical
method.” lt developed, he said, “a continuous parallel between
contemporaneity and antiquity,” between the episodes of Homer’s
Odyssey and daily life in modern Dublin.
II. Joyce rewrites Homer’s Odyssey as the story of what happens in
Dublin on a single day, June 16, l904--Bloomsday. The stoly revolves
around three characters: Leopold Bloom; his wife, Molly; and Stephen
A. Stephen, the hero of .Joyce’s earlier novel Portrait ofthe Artist as
a Young Man, is Joyce’s fictional younger self Brilliant, witty,
brooding, bibulous, and complicated to the point of self-
contradiction, he yeams to make his name as a writer. 
B. Leopold Bloom, who corresponds to Ulysses, the wandering hero
of Homer’s Odyssey, is a fascinating anomaly.
1. Though descended from Hungarian Jews, he does not practice
2. Though he does not practice Judaism nor associate with Jews,
he is regarded as Jewish by everyone he meets and is
sometimes subjected to virulent anti-Semitism. 
3. Though haunted by the memory of his dead father and dead
infant son, he relishes life in the present. 
4. Though intellectually curious and keenly interested in books,
he also loves to eat and to satisfy the needs of his body.
C. Molly Bloom, wife of Leopold, chiefly reveals herself in the last
chapter of the book, where her wildly uninhibited monologue
proves her to be another bundle of contradictions.
1. Hours after her adulterous tryst, she rapturously recalls her
first lovemaking with Bloom. 
2. She makes contradictory statements about women. 
3. Though she may sound at times vicious or even depraved, she
can be seen as a victim of sexual neglect.
III. The key to the story of Bloom’s wanderings through the city of Dublin
lies in Homer’s Odyssey. Its hero is Odysseus, but his Latin name is
Ulysses, and Homer’s ancient epic tells the story of how he came back
to his native Ithaca after he mastemrinded the destruction of Troy.

A. Detained by various adventures and some beautiful women,
Ulysses nonetheless yeams to retum to his home, his son
Telemachus, and his supremely faithful wife, Penelope. 
B. During Ulysses’s twenty-year absence, Penelope is beset with
suitors pressing her to marry and devouring her food while
Telemachus feels powerless to act against them. 
C. Prompted by Athene, Telemachus goes off to seek his father. 
D. In the meantime, Ulysses makes his way home.
1. Leaving the nymph Calypso, he reaches the island of the
Phaiakians, where he tells the story of his ten-year voyage. 
2. Reaching Ithaca, he reveals himself to his son Telemachus and
the swineherd Eumaeus. 
3. Entering his house disguised as a beggar, he kills all the
suitors, retakes his house, and is reunited with Penelope.
IV. Joyce’s three main characters differ so radically from their Homeric
counterparts that they challenge us to find the correspondences.
A. Joyce conceives Ulysses as a “complete man”-a man of many
1. He is son, father, and husband, as well as king of Ithaca. 
2. He was originally a conscientious objector to the war against Troy. 
3. Once in the war, he fought to the end. 
4. He was a well-mannered gentleman. 
5. He invented the tank: the wooden horse.
B. Though Bloom is a pacifist who has scarcely ever been to sea and
has nothing like royal power, we will gradually see how his
wanderings around Dublin and his homecoming at the end ofthe
day reenact the story of Ulysses. Nevertheless, his refusal to take
any revenge on Molly’s lover makes us wonder just how Ulyssean
he is. 
C. Stephen and Molly raise special questions about their would-be
Homeric roles.
1. If Stephen Dedalus has no wish to see his biological father,
how can he stand for Ulysses’s devoted son Telemachus, who
sets out to find his father at the beginning of Homer’s epic? 
2. If Molly takes a lover into her own bed on Bloomsday, how
can she be reenacting the role of Penelope, the supremely
faithful wife of Ulysses?
V. Joyce’s novel replays Homer’s ancient song in an unmistakably
modern rhythm and key.
A. Leopold Bloom, the modern Ulysses, is a 38-year-old Dubliner
who makes his living by selling advertising space in a Dublin
B. Instead of making love to exotic women, such as Ulysses does, he
conducts a furtive correspondence with a semi-literate lady typist. 
C. Joyce catches in every possible way the life of Dublin in the early
twentieth century.

Supplementary Reading:

Kenner, Ulysses pp. 1-5.
Norris, Companion, pp. 2l~27.

Questions to Consider:

1. Why should any modem writer use the structure of an ancient epic as
the model for a novel?

2. If Homer’s Ulysses takes ten years to wander all around the
Mediterranean before reaching his home in Ithaca, how can his
adventures be retold by a story that takes place in a single city on a
single day?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Description of Chapters in “Ulysses” by James Joyce

by Clif Hostetler

I have learned that when Joyce first wrote “Ulysses” no chapter numbers were included.  Editors since have added chapter numbers, however some published versions still do not include chapter numbers. The 1992 Modern Library Edition which I checked out of the library contains no chapter numbers.  In order to help those who have books with no chapters marked I have prepared the following information regarding the chapters.

You may notice that Chapter 6 ends on page 116 which is 15 percent of the total number of 783 pages. Chapter 7 through Chapter 12 is 29 percent, and Chapter 13 through Chapter 18 is 56 percent of the total. I still think that discussing 6 chapters per meeting is still the way to go, but it might be advisable to read ahead if you don’t have a lot of reading time available in August.

The page numbers shown below are from the 1992 Modern Library Edition. I have given a short description of the chapter contents, and I have also shown the first words or first sentence that appear at the beginning of the each chapter to help identify the chapter beginning.

Chapter 1, pages 2 to 23.
Telemachus at the Martello Tower
Stephen Dedalus eats breakfast and leaves for work.
First words: “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a ...”

Chapter 2, pages 24 to 36.
Nestor at School
Stephen teaches his class at Dalkey School; receives pay and advice from Mr. Deasy.
First words: “You, Cochrane, what city sent for Him? ...”

Chapter 3, pages 37 to 53.
Proteus on Sandymount Strand
Stephen walks along Sandymount Strand and thinks many thoughts to himself.
First words: “Ineluctable Modality of the Visible: At least that if no more, thought ...”

Chapter 4, pages 54 to 70.
Breakfast with Calypso
Leopold Bloom with Molly; He leaves to buy a pork kidney and returns.
First words: “Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beast and ...”

Chapter 5, pages 71 to 86.
Leopold Bloom and the Lotus Eaters
Bloom collects letter with flower, orders lotions for at drugstore, thinks of taking bath.
First words: “By lorries along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay Mr Bloom walked soberly ...”

Chapter 6, pages 87 to 115.
Bloom attends the funeral of Paddy Dignam.
First words: “Martin Cunningham, First, poked his silkhatted head into the creaking ...”

Chapter 7, pages 116 to 150.
A Bag of Winds
Bloom and Stephen appear at a newspaper office, but don’t quite meet.

Chapter 8, pages 151 to 183.
Lestrygonians at Lunchtime
Bloom eats lunch at a pub, looks at statues of goddesses in the National Museum.
First words: “Pineapple Rock, Lemon Platt, Butter Scotch.”

Chapter 9, pages 184 to 218.
Scylia and Charybdis
Stephen explains his theory of Hamlet in National Library, where Bloom appears briefly. 
First words: “Urbane, To Comfort Them, the Quaker Librarian Purred: --And we have ...”

Chapter 10, pages 219 to 255.
Wandering Rocks
Bloom and Stephen wander through Dublin among many others but still do not meet. 
First words: “The Superior, the Very Reverend John Commee S. J., reset his ...”

Chapter 11, pages 256 to 291.
The Sirens of the Ormond Hotel
Bloom dines at the Ormond Hotel restaurant and hears singing by the barmaids and various patrons, including Simon Dedalus (Stephen’s father).
First words: “Bronze by gold heard the hoofirons, steelyrining imperthnthn thnthnthn.”

Chapter 12, pages 292 to 345.
Citizen Cyclops
Bloom confronts the drunken citizen in a pub.
First words: “I was just passing the time of day with old Troy of the D.M.P. at the ...”

Chapter 13, pages 346 to 382.
Nausicaa at the Beach
Bloom ogles Gerty McDowell on Sandymount Strand and masturbates.”
First words: “The summer evening had begun to fold the world in its mysterious ...”

Chapter 14, pages 383 to 428.
Oxen of the Sun
Bloom visit the National Maternity Hospital, where Mina Purefoy gives birth to a boy. Bloom and Stephen talk a little amid a boisterous crowd of drunken young men.
First words: “Deshil Holles Eamus. Deshil Holles Eamus, Deshil Holles Eamus.”

Chapter 15, pages 429 to 611.
Circe of Nighttown
Bloom follows Stephen to Highttown, Dublin’s redlight district, where Stephen spends most of his money, gets into a scuffle with two soldiers, and is rescued by Bloom.
First words: “The Mabbot street entrance of nighttown, before which stretches an ...”

Chapter 16, pages 612 to 665.
Stephen and Bloom talk in the cabman’s shelter.
First words: “Preparatory to anything else Mr. Bloom brushed off the greater bulk ...”

Chapter 17, pages 666 to 737.
Return to Ithaca
Bloom and Stephen go to Bloom’s house. Stephen declines Bloom’s invitation to spend the night. Bloom gets into bed with Molly and finds evidence of her adultery, which he accepts at last “with equanimity.”
First words: “What parallel courses did Bloom and Stephen follow returning?”

Chapter 18, pages 738 to 783.
Molly Bloom Speaks
In bed, Molly reviews her life and loves, concluding with her memory of Bloom’s proposal and her answer: yes.
First words: “Yes because he never did a thing like that before as ask to ...”