Calypso 0044

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Bloom thinks of Milly’s vanity on the previous page (she is “quite the belle”), which provokes a series of images that begin to blend in with Molly.  He remembers taking his daughter on an excursion around Dublin Bay, possibly prompted by reading of her trip to Lough Owel, and thinking of outings she might now be taking with her beau.  These images merge with her mother’s torn envelope, and the older woman reading in bed (Gifford points out that “softly-braided nymph” is a Homeric epithet for Calypso).  It’s not easy to tell which is a younger version of the woman or an older version of the girl.  And the soundtrack is “Seaside Girls,” an 1899 song by Harry B. Norris: “Those girls, those girls, those lovely seaside girls/All dimples smiles and curls, your head it simply whirls.”  The shimmering colored tiles seem almost like a magic lantern slide show or stained glass; Rob used this technique on page 23 to depict Bloom’s blue-tinged memories and associations emerging from his Judaism and exile, and I think something similar is at work here.  The stream of consciousness blending and merging of young and old, past and future, hold Bloom in regret and anxiety.

 

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Reader’s Guide to IV: Calypso

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