at The James Joyce Centre February-June 2022
10am-4pm Sunday 13th March 2022
on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4237938870
Associate Professor Frances Devlin-Glass (Ph.D., ANU),
Director of Bloomsday in Melbourne
and Dr Steve Carey Ph.D.
In June, to continue our year-long celebration of 100 years of Ulysses, Bloomsday in Melbourne is staging yes I will Yes, a brand new production of the Penelope episode, the most popular and user-friendly episode of Ulysses. If there’s a good starting point to any journey into Ulysses, it must be spending a day in bed with Molly during her long night of the soul as she thinks through her life with Bloom and the vivid life she had in Gibraltar before they met, and the events of a day – the romp with Blazes Boylan – that marks a rupture in her 11-year marriage. It’s a bold and transgressive chapter at many levels, and perhaps the easiest of all to understand (though that is of course only a comparative measure!). We guarantee that a day with us in bed with Molly will intensify your pleasure in this episode and offer you a range of intellectual contexts in which to read it.
Here’s how the day will unfold:
Session I - The Many Facets of Molly Bloom: weaving a character
- The biographical elements…
- The Homeric parallel – who slays the suitors?
- Who is Molly? A cubist portrait…
Session II - Joyce’s Use of Stream of Consciousness and Structure in Penelope
- The contrast with Bloom’s characterization
- Molly’s three synchronous modalities (maiden, wife, crone)
- Molly on Men and the contest in her head (Bloom and Boylan)
- Languages of Love: thinking about Romance
Session III - Joyce on sexuality, the body, God and everything... and going ‘as far as possible’
- The turn to nature… And sex as nature…
- The mythic turn…
And having worked up a thirst, you're welcome to join us as we have a drink (BYO to your device). Come for the literature, stay for the craic!
Foreplay: How to Prepare Yourself For A Day In Bed With Molly Bloom
You are entirely welcome to turn up not having looked at the episode. And remember the Bloomsday guarantee: you never need to speak if you don’t wish to. If you’d just like to turn up, sit back and tune in, that’s up to you.
However, to get more out our encounter with Molly, we do suggest you read the episode before the day. Here is a link to a PDF, which also has a brief introduction to the episode:
We highly recommend the charming and beautiful audio performance of the episode, from RTE’s wonderful full-length production, first broadcast live in 1982 to celebrate Joyce’s hundredth birthday:
As you listen, the difficulties of turning the unpunctuated prose into sentences, mercifully, evaporate. As a kind of experiment, please be alert to where her thinking changes direction, and whether there are sentences which can be read more than one way, or introduce ambiguity if they are broken up in alternative ways.
Associate Professor Frances Devlin-Glass (Ph.D., ANU) has been the Director of Bloomsday since its inception in 1994, and has taught Joyce at tertiary and other levels since 1980. She is a member of the College of Distinguished Deakin Educators
Dr Steve Carey wrote his doctoral thesis on the comedy of Ulysses at Oxford University supervised by Joyce's biographer Prof. Richard Ellmann.
Marilyn Monroe pictured by Eve Arnold, reading Ulysses (1955). '[Monroe] kept Ulysses in her car and had been reading it for a long time […] When we stopped at a local playground to photograph, she got out the book and started to read while I loaded the film. So, of course, I photographed her.'