Thursday, June 16, 2005

Happy Bloomsday 2005! Here are your quotes of the day from Stephen Dedalus & Leopold Bloom!

On this date in Dublin, 101 years ago, nothing really happened. But, of course, it's the most important date in the fictional history of the English-speaking world. Here are two very small quotations from the protaganists in Ulysses that TBL found appropriate for a Bloomsday which also sees the opening of John Conyers' Congressional hearings on the suspect motives for our current war. Stephen, under the influence of absinthe, alcohol, fatigue and hunger, is arguing in the streets of Dublin's redlight district with a bellicose British Private Carr about king and country:

(Nervous, friendly, pulls himself up.) I understand your point of view though I have no king myself for the moment. This is the age of patent medicines. A discussion is difficult down here. But this is the point. You die for your country, suppose. (He places his arm on Private Carr's sleeve.) Not that I wish it for you. But I say: Let my country die for me. Up to the present it has done so. I didn't want it to die. Damn death. Long live life! [page 591, Modern Library Edition]

. . . and later in the night of June 16, 1904, we get this from the other major voice in James Joyce's head, Leopold Bloom:
-- Of course, Mr Bloom proceeded to stipulate, you must look at both sides of the question. It is hard to lay down any hard and fast rules as to right and wrong but room for improvement all round there certainly is though every country, they say, our own distressful included, has the government it deserves. But with a little goodwill all round. It's all very fine to boast of mutual superiority but what about mutual equality? I resent violence and intolerance in any shape or form. It never reaches anything or stops anything. A revolution must come on the due instalments plan. It's a patent absurdity on the face of it to hate people because they live round the corner and speak another vernacular, in the next house, so to speak.
* * *
All those wretched quarrels, in his humble opinion, stirring up bad blood--bump of combativeness or gland of some kind, erroneously supposed to be about a punctilio of honour and a flag--were very largely a question of the money question which was at the back of everything, greed and jealousy, people never knowing when to stop. [page 643, Modern Library Edition]
. . . and then, a couple of pages of historical digression later, Stephen again, tired of politics and history, says, "We can't change the country. Let us change the subject." But let's not succumb to the same fatalism this month, when it does seem like there are changes taking place, if only in the minds of our fellow citizens (which is not a small change at all).
Happy Bloomsday,
True Blue Liberal


Pax Romano said...


True Blue Liberal said...

Exactly! Where would our literary educations be without the guidance of Grace Slick?