Sunday, December 25, 2011

Occupying Ulysses - Chapter 4: Calypso (Leopold Bloom enters the stage, finally)

We're almost two months into our little #1book140 Twitter book club project #occupyulysses, and I have to say, this is going a bit slow: I haven't even read 10 per cent of the book. The problem with Ulysses and me is that whenever I try reading it, I get totally obsessed with the novel (reading comments, The Odyssey; to make things worse, I've bought a huge Joyce biography by Richard Ellmann). This might be a good thing on the one hand, but on the other hand it doesn't really help with actually finishing the tome. It's like my former English teacher said: Ulysses is a good book to study, not a good book to read. Well, in a sense, #occupyulysses is meant to prove him wrong, since we want to actually read it, so I'll just get on with it.
In Calypso, Leopold Bloom finally enters Ulysses, and I think we're all relieved that we get a small break from Stephen's ponderous stream of consciousness. Bloom's thoughts are a bit easier to follow, although they are also drenched with memories and personal history, introduced without too much explanation. Bloom is occupied with preparing breakfast for his sleepy wife Molly, and this is, as far as I'm concerned, a rather likeable Bloom. He's got his secrets, sure, but at the moment, it's not too bad. He may seem pathetic at times, but this is mainly due to the fact that he thinks he's not being watched. I'm interested in my fellow readers' thoughts about Bloom: what do you think of him? Do you like him, do you identify with him, or does he annoy you?
And another question: Who do you like more? Stephen or Leopold? I probably still like Stephen a bit more than Leopold at the moment, but that might have something to do with the fact that I'm closer to Stephen's age, and that he's got similar problems ordering his thoughts.