Well, deep into the wee small hours of the night, I opened my new book and began reading chapter one – page one! Heh! I’ll relate that experience later but I’ve just been prompted to tell you about some wonderful musical links that closely relate to our subject at hand. Now I have to admit here that I’ve been a fan of Kate Bush for an age and held her album The Sensual World close to my bosom as a one of the highlights of her career – but now I find there are references to Ulysses I’d never even guessed at. You do learn something every day after all! How very sobering.
I just saw a music blog that offered up a new (for me at least) idea about “the introit” Mulligan speaks as the first dialogue here. It seems that the Latin may be sung, meaning the first spoken words in the novel might be intended as music to rouse Stephen from the tower. Interesting idea. here’s the link;
This is an especially rewarding link, with ten sound files of Joyce music and a YouTube embedded reading by joyce of passages from the WAKE. Check it out. -Rob
The flashback continues. Stephen is thinking about his mother, thinking about her room and objects he identifies with her, thinking about her memories, things she told him about her childhood.
Remember the context–Mulligan wants to use Stephen’s money, his wit, his ideas for his own benefit. This is mostly just selfishness, but also grandiosity, in that Mulligan wants to use Stephen for his project to “Hellenise” the island, to bring a new classical age to this struggling Ireland that’s at a critical point in its history. Several times through the day Stephen will hear about a new plan for Ireland, people will turn to him to talk about the future, or it’s artistic future. Where does this lead him?
Backwards–to thoughts about his mother–to the creation of a scene. In these powerful and vivid fragments, you’re seeing Stephen Dedalus begin to stretch his wings (so to speak) and show the promise of his creativity.