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Stephen, disenchanted with the prospect of the new Hellenistic “omphalos” at the tower, airs a major grievance with Mulligan. He seems unaware of or just uninterested in the ironic contrast between his highminded observation of mourning proprieties plus his sensitivity towards Mulligan’s crudeness, against his own refusal to follow her last wishes. Of course, this isn’t lost on Mulligan.
I’m hoping for some commentary on Mulligan’s line about remembering “only ideas and sensations.” The Gifford note on this doesn’t seem to be especially helpful–it talks about David Hartley & John Locke. I associate the language with Walt Whitman, but for no good reason…
This scene sort of like Festivus–there’s a pole, there’s the airing of grievances… no feats of strength, but there will be swimming soon.