by James Joyce
Ulysses Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph), except for the "Circe" episode, which is (Chapter.Line) and the "Penelope" episode, which is (Chapter.Page). We used the Vintage International edition published in 1990.
He is young Leopold, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself. That young figure of then is seen, precious manly, walking on a nipping morning from the old house in Clambrassil to the high school, his book satchel on him bandolierwise, and in it a goodly hunk of wheaten loaf, a mother's thought. (14.38)
In imitation of the nostalgic style of the English essayist Charles Lamb, the narrator of "Oxen of the Sun" is here trying to capture what happens when Bloom thinks back to a younger version of himself. Our question is here is quite pointed: Would self-reflection be possible without memory? What role does memory play in self-reflection and self-evaluation?
"Stop twirling your thumbs and have a good old thunk. See, you have forgotten. Exercise your mnemotechnic. La cause è santa. Tara. Tara." (15.481)
Here, in "Circe," Bloom has a vision of his grandfather. Bloom is complaining to his grandfather that he feels sexually inadequate, and Lipoti Virag tells him to try to use a "mnemotechnic" (memory device). Why has sex become a matter of memory for Bloom? How does Bloom live out his sexual life through memory and the past?
What suggested scene was then reconstructed by Bloom?
The Queen's Hotel, Ennis, County Clare, where Rudolph Bloom (Rudolph Virag) died on the evening of the 27 June 1886, at some hour unstated, in consequence of an overdoes of monkshood (aconite) selfadministered in the form of a neuralgic liniment, composed of 2 parts of aconite liniment to 1 of chloroform liniment (purchased by him at 10:20 a.m. on the morning of 27 June 1886 at the medical hall of Francis Dennehy, 17 Church street, Ennis) after having, though not in consequence of having, purchased at 3.15 p.m. on the afternoon of 27 June 1886 a new boater straw hat, extra smart (after having, though not in consequence of having, purchased at the hour and in the place aforesaid, the toxin aforesaid), at the general drapery store of James Cullen, 4 Main Street, Ennis. (17.86)
In this scene from "Ithaca," Stephen's scene at Queen's Hotel sets off a memory for Bloom of his father Rudolph committing suicide. The memory is clearly elaborated on and particularized by the narrator. What parts of this memory do you think come from Bloom and what parts are embellished? Do we tend to remember days and dates and addresses or do we focus more on particular details and experiences? Does this tendency change when an event is especially personal and painful? If so, why might it change?