George V. Reilly

Ulysses at 100

On 2nd February 1882, in the Dublin suburb of Rathgar, a son was given unto John and May Joyce. James Joyce celebrated his 40th birthday in Paris on 2nd February 1922 by receiving the first printed copy of his novel Ulysses. Parts of it had already been published in literary magazines and the book was eagerly received by the cognoscen­ti. It took more than a decade for Ulysses to be published in Britain and the United States. Censors had considered the book obscene, but the courts es­tab­lished that it had legitimate literary merit.

For decades, Ulysses was poorly received in Ireland. The book was considered blas­phe­mous and obscene by many. Worse, Joyce continue.

Punctuating James Joyce

In The Punc­tu­a­tion Marks Loved (and Hated) by Famous Writers, Emily Temple relays a range of opinions from writers such as Tom Wolfe, Elmore Leonard, and Ursula K. Le Guin on periods, semicolons, hyphens and more.

On commas:

Listens to the sound of the sentence, and is always right, Bob: Toni Morrison

[On her editor, Bob Gottlieb, who famously “was always inserting commas into Morrison’s sentences and she was always taking them out”] We read the same way. We think the same way. He is over­whelm­ing­ly aggressive about commas and all sorts of things. He does not understand that commas are for pauses and breath. He thinks commas are for gram­mat­i­cal things. We have continue.

Final Bloomsday Rehearsal

As I wrote last week, we had one more rehearsal to go before our 2016 Reading of Ulysses for Bloomsday. That was tonight. Mostly we worked out seating and other logistics. We are in­ter­cut­ting two different chapters, with the readers playing different roles in each chapter, so it's a small but satisfying ac­com­plish­ment to have a seating arrange­ment that works for both chapters.

Bloomsday Approaches

I wrote in Preparing Bloomsday Scripts back in late March, that I was getting ready for this year's reading of Ulysses. Our 2016 Reading is a week and a half away, on Sunday June 19th. We'll be reading Chapters 3 (“Proteus”) and 6 (“Hades”) of James Joyce's mas­ter­piece at the Seattle Central Library. We had our first full readthrough at tonight's rehearsal, one hour fifty five minutes. Next week, our dress rehearsal.

Preparing Bloomsday Scripts

Bloomsday is less than three months away and the Wild Geese Players need to start rehearsing soon. I made a start on the script at the end of January, but didn't pick it up again until today.

Three years ago, we completed Ulysses, having started in 1998. Two years ago, we started over, reading chapters 1 and 4 in­ter­leaved. In Chapter 1 (Telemachus), Stephen Dedalus arises in the Martello Tower at Sandymount and feuds with Buck Mulligan. Chapter 4 (Calypso) takes place at the same time as Chapter 1, wherein Leopold Bloom breaks his fast.

Last year, we in­ter­twined chapters 2 and 5. Chapter 2 (Nestor) takes place at the school where continue.

Adapting Penelope, part II

Last night, I read the first third of the chapter. Tonight I will read more.

I described it as “badly punctuated.” There's no punc­tu­a­tion at all! No apos­tro­phes, no commas, no periods. The “sen­tences” are separated by paragraph breaks.

So far, Molly Bloom has thought back to Mrs Riordan, an obnoxious elderly neighbor whom Leopold Bloom flattered; sickness; Bloom's in­fi­deli­ties, present and past; her own seductions and con­fes­sion­s; sex and child­birth; jealousy; ag­gra­vat­ing husbands.

In the second paragraph: men are all so different; how strange Bloom is; Bloom is “mad on the subject of drawers”; their first sexual encounter; punc­tu­al­i­ty; a potential singing trip to Belfast with both Bloom and Blazes Boylan, her paramour; her last concert; hating politics; money; well-dressed men; losing weight, face continue.

Adapting Penelope, part I

We at the Wild Geese Players of Seattle have been adapting James Joyce's Ulysses for staged readings since 1998, and we will complete the book with the Penelope chapter (aka Molly Bloom's soliloquy) on Bloomsday 2013.

I shall detail my dra­matur­gi­cal process over several blog posts.

The very first step is to re-read the chapter. It's been several years since I last read it and I don't remember it clearly. I've yet to look at my old friends, Gifford and Blamires, for their takes on “Penelope”.

Molly is lying in bed, day­dream­ing early on the morning of June 17th, 1904. Leopold climbed in to bed a little while ago, put his continue.

Bloomsday 2009

Today, June 16th, is the actual Bloomsday. For expediency, we in the Wild Geese Players usually perform our reading at the nearest weekend.

The Irish Times writes its usual report of a crowd of posers re-enacting fragments of Ulysses in Dublin. Perhaps the best line:

Back in the city centre, a sign outside Davy Byrne’s advertised a Bloomsday special: Gorgonzola cheese sandwiches and burgundy for €12.90. Someone nearby complained loudly that prices had gone up since 1904.

A Spanish translator of Ulysses remarked:

“You don’t have to be a Joycean to enjoy this day,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see literature taking over the city and there are lots of ordinary continue.

Bloomsday Reading

Our 2009 Bloomsday reading is over! I thought it went very well. We had quite a large audience by our stan­dard­s—about 30 people, we got a lot of laughs, and most of them stayed until the end.

Of all the spaces that we've performed in, I like the University Bookstore the best. The events area is sunny, airy, and spacious, and easily discovered by customers in the store. The staff were very helpful and easy to work with. I'd prefer not to do another event on the same day as the University of Wash­ing­ton's Com­menc­ment, however.

Eric came along with a big lens and took hundreds of photos. Emma took a continue.

Evite for Bloomsday Reading

I just spent over an hour wrestling with the Address Book in Evite, trying to convince it to import a pile of freeform addresses, to no avail. I had to paste them in one-by-one, clicking Add for each one. Feh.

I succeeded in my bigger goal and that was to send out an Evite for our Bloomsday Reading. It'll give us some idea of how many to expect at the reading.

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