If Ulysses is unfilmable, we hope our work so far has shown that it is not undrawable. Laboriously, slowly drawable, but drawable. And as if to immediately challenge the foregoing statement, Rob is presented with the task of putting the “action” of the Nestor episode to pen and ink (and watercolor). I am not saying Rob had it easy with Telemachus and Calypso—each had their tangled syntax, unidentifiable speakers, and profoundly abstract subject matter to grapple with. But Nestor, well, boy— ok I guess I am saying Rob had it easy before now.
But in Rob’s hands we see how Joyce shook yet another convention—the notion that narrative action is tied to physical action. Stephen’s athletic daydreams and the emotional tumult of his pubescent charges create an arena where competing thoughts, emotions, and concepts struggle for supremacy. And it is thrilling.
Contrast that with Lotus Eaters. No, seriously, contrast that with Lotus Eaters, because that is what you will see happening in these pages leading up to Bloomsday—alternating pages of Nestor and Lotus Eaters that will demonstrate how differently Bloom and Stephen lead their lives at exactly the same time of day. Bloom’s life is as exquisitely boring as Stephen’s—we walk with him as he sets out to conquer the—wait for it—post office and pharmacy! (Whew! My heart is racing.) But while Stephen struggles to forge uncreated consciousnesses and whatnot, Bloom thinks mostly about sad marital infidelities, mostly his own and his wife’s. Yet again Rob’s rendering of all this makes the abstract concrete, and highlights for us a central question that will weave throughout the book—between Stephen and Bloom, who is the hero, and who the comic relief?
Thanks for your patience. We know it’s been a while. But thanks to the Joyce Centre for hosting these pages, and of course the hard work of Rob, Josh, and Mike, we think you’ll enjoy this next journey into Ulysses, our offering for Bloomsday 2013.
– Chad Rutkowski
Throwaway Horse LLC