And I began to dream of her, a dream of a dream, dream looking upon dream and neither one presupposing the other. Dream of both the father and the son, of which the dream that came before can be neither said nor retrieved. And yet so sweet to watch her dancing, alluring the other men, her eyes like the low, strobe-like lights in the harbor of the Liffey, signalling to all the black barges circling the anchorage its readiness and berth. And dreaming, all vision was interrupted as if through darkened lenses. Or perhaps it was only getting later. That was true as well. The dream would soon turn dark and muted.
These dreams are punctuated with strange sounds.
–Come join the fun Stephen! called Mother. We’re dancing the quadrille!Popular set dance in Ireland borrowed from the french. Executed in fours.
On which planet would I have run to her, she strong in the arms to hold me,
I myself did not know her: now you tell me.
At some point the man whom I had called Samson the raging zealot, Menton, sat down beside me.
–Boy, the Tweedy girl is a handsome lass. Anterior and posterior. O, tis the sunLove’s Labour’s Lost: IV. iii. 241. that maketh all things shine.
This was a man like my father: appetite enough to empty oceans. With a power I did not know better.
—What an armful that woman is! In fact, I see your strategy is a smart one: sitting in these chairs, you’re at the perfect height to watch the show. First-rate seats, my boy, first-rate!
Here memory pools up, scented lilac. A lacuna where I could not participate.
–It’s getting later, what? Menton belched. Hiccuh. I wonder where that damnable creature
of a Major is spending the night. Facedown
in some lonely ditch.
Drunk in public!
Hiccuh. What a shame.
She sprung from those loins. Eat your heart out.
I thought, too much the Major loved.
–Yes, yes, hurrah yes, hurrah! Look over there, boy:
in the corner of the lawn. Bowling! I’m wild for bowling!
I had seen them before. Always first to see, last to claim.
Menton addressed the crowd of people and said something about a game of lawn bowling.
Spare me this embarrassment.
Flesh, flesh, flesh that doesn’t speak.
He clapped me on the back. I squirmed. My nature admires vacuumsFrom Aristotle’s horror vacui “nature abhors a vacuum”, Bloom knows it: U. 8. 135.. I despise bodies.
All these strange jealousies were afoot. Not my language. Perhaps it was an adult code, or something in the lilac. Molly was busy with Floey, picking a bunch of lilac. The strange man too, always there. His eyes bloodshot? Crazed, perhaps, or bold, too bold, he answered Menton,
—I will play you, Menton. Let’s have an end to this show, please.
As far as I could tell, he was playing Menton not so much as a knight in shining armor, but as a practical effort, a deputy employed to keep spirits high. But then again he seemed a man possessed
with some strange power.
Was he the hero?
May it please the readerThe beginning of this chapter, up until “Perhaps I have lived…” contains, verbatim, the opening lines to Lautreamont’s Maldoror., emboldened and having for the time being become as fierce as what he is reading, should, without being led astray, find his rugged and treacherous way across the desolate swamps of these somber and poison-filled pages: Perhaps I have lived a million other lives. Perhaps I have died a million deaths. Pierced by arrows and hung from crosses in other lands, on other worlds. If I fail to rememberThe phrasing here is reminiscent of Psalm 138, “If I forget thee O Jerusalem…” them, it is out of modesty for this unassuming life I have assumed, wandering this earth in this time. If then I was, I will be again. There will be timePrufrock line 26. I can not paint what I was thenFrom Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey,” line 75-6.. But I can recall with clarity what, on that halcyon day, playing quaint lawn games with quaint people, I was. A wolf amongst sheep. A set of snapping jaws barbed with clean, deep-rooted ivory that would rend and rend and rend. Begat of flesh to consume flesh. Did you think not to sniff out such feral words from Leopold Bloom? It is not right that everyone should savor this bitter fruit with impunityThis line, along with the previous “sniff” are from the first page of Maldoror.. Least of all old Bloom. He is the worst of perverts: and ever at my whim. I have ever been with him. What you have known of me and what you will know of me are at once the trappings I assumed and which old age, robbing me of all dignity, weaned from me. Let your assumptions burn with your worlds: there will be time. What I tell you now, even Bloom does not know of himself.
I desired Marion Tweedy first because other men desired her. Her laughter, that knowing blush preceding the quickly, coyly downturned gaze. They were like wine, intoxicating those cattle desperately jawing their own cud before her. It was a power she had over them. They enjoyed it, and she both knew and enjoyed it. In their minds, they thought this but the preamble of a larger game. A set of peacock feathers—though female—added to overflowing breasts and well-formed legs, hips made for children. A game they would win, and, having won, she would submit. I knew better what she was, what that power was.
I desired Marion Tweedy second for that power. It was a game I let her play at first and then—kiss me Kate!A reference to Taming of the Shrew, 5.2.147. In the play, a willful Kate is “tamed” by her husband using various means.—she was stammering her yes, I will, yes with my seed multiplying inside her as though it were some choice, or a gift. Like an oxen who looks at man and sees no threat in him, because he is the greater power, but finds himself brought low by the meagre whip and the simple yoke, Marion Tweedy was when she became Molly Bloom. I was no Petruchio. I neither starved her nor kept her from sleep to break her will. I had no need of such baseness. And, indeed, FletcherJohn Fletcher wrote a follow-up to Shakespeare’s Shrew entitled The Tamer Tamed, wherein Petruchio’s new wife tames him. showed us just how ineffective Petruchio’s will was at ebbing the tide of Kate’s disease. No. I marked Marion Tweedy as mine. I made her produce my children. And, when I was done with her I cut her out to pasture, there to be bred by whatever creature pleased. It was a subtle breaking. Indeed, I think she still thinks herself in the game. But from that moment I place my jaws on her shoulder, teeth at the ready, the yoke of society was around her neck. Ever more tenuously it bound her, until one path lay ahead of her. A kiss, they say, is the beginning of cannibalismThis quote is generally attributed to Georges Bataille, though no direct citation can be found.. I began to consume her that day.
Thirdly, of course, her breasts. Mammoth thingsMolly’s breasts are described as large in UC. 4.2841-42., really. Ponderous. Swaying back and forth as though they would teach Newton a thing or two about gravity. I could imagine the undulation of them when her breath caught, the gentle shimmer as they glide up and down her chest. Like a horse, the ample muscle of his thighs rippling with pure power as he races toward some august finish. Or rather like those jellyfish one sometimes sees in the ocean. Rising and falling as waves but of their own volition. I admit they enchanted me, enraged me. My teeth desired, wolfish, to devour them in such a way that her other suitors would see and be stricken with grief and uncanny arousal. And I would have done so. But even Bloom, so much my servant as he is, lives mostly a servant of fear.
Do you wish to be spared this, my weak reader? Would you prefer the chaste, improbable romance of a gentle Jew to a lovely Iberian princess? Do you not know that the entire clan of humanity is but a trapping thrown over an ape? A finery to hide our exquisite brutality. You lack knowledge of yourself, who cast these weak aspersions at our hero. Then, at the height of his masculinity, he was not so far removed from the ape that would have pulled that yellow and black curtain from Marion Tweedy’s body. You, too, are that ape. More ape, indeed, than any apeFrom the prologue to Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. There is no reason to suspect Bloom knew this text, adding to the odd, alien intelligence of this narration..
But I see you shudder at this. These are words you would not know. And, alas, this languor in which Bloom slumbers crashes its waves on my shore. Jetzt gehe ich unter, you, despisers of the bodyChapter 4 of Zarathustra is entitled “Despisers of the Body.”.
Mr. Bloom thought about how enchanting Molly had been that day. A vision of lilac and yellow and those eyes and that smile. Her entrancing scent. The melodic beauty of her laugh. The giddy affection of allowing her to win with the chairs. That spark of young love, like a seedling that, feeling the spring’s first warm rays, pushes bravely into a new world full of impossible beauty. He saw in his mind young Milly, blushing at her first dance, and poor Rudy—well, God is goodSpoken to Bloom by the old woman who delivered Molly at UC. 4.3005.—so small, so perfect. The two of them, combined, in this one being. His heart rose up with the thought of her reading, finding a word, and thinking of him. Her guidance. Her PoldyMolly’s nickname for Bloom at, for example, U. 4.246.. And in a moment this warm ocean of memory became flooded with tears of joy.
Blazes Boylan for a moment stumbled into this world, and that world shook with laughter. There would be moments, of course, where they strayed. Ages, perhaps, where their souls wandered far and wide in foreign fields on foreign worlds. There would be moments where they came together again and again. Lifetimes where they would grow old together and where one would perish at the loss of the other, only to be born anew, recast to complete this timeless dance once more. Their life itself was made of memory’s ocean and of the promised futurity of that ocean. Lux aeterna. Mr. Bloom blinked away his tears and said a resounding yes to the eternal recurrenceA concept from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science. of his life. Thus he went on to beat Menton.