The next meeting of the Ulysses reading group is on Sunday 25th of June, 2017. We meet in the New Headingley Club at 7.30pm.
We are reading the Ithaca episode in which we learn how water reaches the kitchen tap.
Bloomsday, the 16th of June, is a day dear to readers of James Joyce because of its significance for his novel Ulysses. This Bloomsday, to celebrate the man and his work, we are gathering in Heart café in Headingley for lunch at 1.30pm. You are very welcome to join us.
Afterwards, at 2.30pm., the Leeds Finnegans Wake Reading Group is holding a meeting in the Claremont room in Heart. The group had three successful sessions in The Tetley in Leeds, as a contribution to an exhibition by the Spanish artist Dora García. Again, you are warmly invited to participate and see what you can make of a difficult but rewarding book in the company of some acknowledged experts.
It is rare for a passage in Finnegans Wake not to produce in the reader a desire to enquire more deeply into some arcane knowledge referred to by Joyce. The readings which took place as part of the Dora García exhibition at the Tetley were no exception.
The pages we read mentioned many battles such as Camel, Flodden Field, Solferino, Thermopilae, Bannockburn (“panickburns”), and those in just one sentence. But the battle this passage is mostly concerned with is Waterloo in 1815 and its main protagonists, Wellington and Napoleon.
The mention of “scotcher grey” reminded me of the painting in Leeds Art Gallery which portrays the cavalry charge by the Royal Scots Greys early in the battle. It is by Lady Butler and entitled “Scotland Forever”. The gallery is closed until October of 2017 but its curator, Nigel Walsh, who was present at the last Tetley reading was able to tell me that it had been loaned to the Royal Armouries.
Inspired by the Wake, I paid a visit to the Armories the day after in order to reacquaint myself with the painting and to find out more about the battle of Waterloo. What I found was an extensive and informative display with maps, descriptions and a timeline of the battle, together with the uniforms and weapons of day. The centrepiece was a large scale model of the battlefield by William Siborne, one of two models he made in the 1830’s.
A subsequent meeting of the Finnegans Wake reading group encountered Joyce’s description of another aspect of battles, the scavenging of the remains: “ moonled brooches with bloodstaned breeks in em, boaston nightgarters and masses of shoesets and nickelly nacks and foder allmicheal”.
Phew! “Mind your boots goan out.”
The next meeting of the Ulysses reading group is on Sunday 21st of May, 2017. We meet in the New Headingley Club at 7.30pm.
We are continuing our reading of the Eumaeus episode.
The next meeting of the Ulysses reading group is on Sunday the 9th of April, 2017. We meet in the New Headingley Club at 7.30pm.
The new episode is Eumaeus, in which the cabman’s shelter under Butt Bridge takes the part of the swineherd’s hut in Homer’s Odyssey.
The next meeting of the Ulysses reading group is on Sunday 12th of March, 2017 – to be held in the New Headingley Club at 7.30pm.
We hope to complete our reading of the Circe episode, which concludes with a vision of Bloom’s son Rudy.
Finnegans Wake 6.32: “peep, see, at Hom, well, see peegee ought he ought, platterplate.”
Alexandre Moret: Rois et Dieux d’Egypte (1911), page 88: The plate is titled “The Wake of Osiris” (“Veillée funčbre d’Osiris-Ounnefer mort”)