Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ulysses: Who is Leopold Bloom?

At long last I have found a way to make it through Ulysses without feeling too incredibly lost.  Also, this method manages to keep me from unintentionally dozing during the slow, dull parts.  So what is my new magic trick?  Well, I grabbed a pen and a journal, and I have started taking notes as I read.  When I have a question, read one of the many good puns, or something just strikes my fancy, I'm jotting it down.  Hopefully, this new method (which I should have thought about during my college days) will enable me to finish Ulysses in the next week.  I'm ready to move on.

That said, one question that is fascinating me is the identity of Leopold Bloom.  He is ridiculed by so many characters.  He is always lurking unobtrusively in the background somewhere.  Apparently, one of those people you don't really notice, unless they have a moment of epic awkwardness. 

There are, however, indications that he might be a little more complex than my initial impression.  In the  Wandering Rocks several of the characters discuss him, saying that there is "a bit of the artist about old Bloom" and, "I'll say there is much kindness in the Jew." 

The last quotation is, in fact, a quote from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice , and I have been wondering about comparing Shylock to Bloom.  Seems like that would make for interesting reading, so I suppose I can find an article somewhere online along those lines.

Anyway, my goal is to finish this book up this week so that I can move on to Fitzgerald next week!


  1. Thanks for stopping by. I loved seeing the Merchant of Venice in a theater. Your book reading plan is a great idea.

  2. Yes! That is my method for success as well. It's so easy to just let the eyes glaze over and skim the page if I'm not actively engaged in note-taking. I read a smattering of chapters from Ulysses when I was in college and have always meant to go back and finish the job, but I just can't seem to get motivated to dedicate the time to it. Although, I remember really really liking the "Penelope" chapter. Good for you for making the commitment and good luck in finishing it off!