Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Telemachus/005

Annotations edit

005.12 Algy calls it . . . mother?       Algernon "Algy" Charles Swinburne, a Victorian poet, wrote these words in the poem "A Triumph of Time." On line 257 and 258, he writes "I will go back to the great sweet mother,/Mother and lover of men, the sea." [1] The imagery of the sea here is feminine and sexual, set in direct apposition to Buck's use of "snotgreen" and "scrotumtightening" as descriptors of the sea.

005.13 Epi oinopa ponton     (Homeric Greek) Upon the wine-coloured sea.[2] The Homeric epithet ἐπὶ οἴνοπα πόντον occurs several times in the Odyssey, the first occurrence being at 1:183.[3] The precise meaning of οἴνοπα (wine-faced, wine-dark, wine-coloured, or something else) has been endlessly debated by scholars. Nevertheless, this phrase remains perhaps the best-known quotation from ancient Greek literature, one which scholars of the language are sure to encounter in their first months of study. By putting this quote into Mulligan's mouth, Joyce is not doing Mulligan's scholarship any favours. Ironically, the Classical Greek which Mulligan would have learned at Oxford was not pronounced according to the reconstructed pronunciation of Ancient Greek; the Classical Association, which promoted the introduction of a more authentic pronunciation, was only founded in 1903.[4] So Mulligan has almost as little experience of the Greeks in the original as Stephen.

005.15 Thalatta! Thalatta!     (Attic Greek) The sea! The sea![5] θάλαττα θάλαττα is a familiar quotation from the Anabasis (The Inland Expedition) of Xenophon.[6] The joyful cry of the Ten Thousand Greek mercenaries upon finally reaching the Black Sea is one of the best-known quotations from ancient Greek literature. Joyce is once again undermining Mulligan's scholarship by having him quote such a familiar phrase.

005.24 hyperborean       A word comprised of "hyper-," a Greek term meaning beyond or above, and "borean," a term referring to the north wind.[7] The Hyperboreans were said to live in a land beyond where the north wind dwelt in Thrace. This mythical land was perfect, and the sun shone all the time, perhaps suggesting a place within the arctic circle. In Joyce, "Hyperborean" is used to refer to a character's Celtic origin, having come from Asia and settled in Ireland, beyond the north wind.[8]

References edit

  1. "A Triumph of Time" by A. C. Swinburne The Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne, 6 volumes, London: Chatto & Windus, 1904.
  2. Gifford (1988) 15.
    Thornton (1968) 12.
  3. Odyssey 1:178-229.
  4. The Classical Association.
  5. Gifford (1988) 15.
    Thornton (1968) 13.
  6. Xenophon, Anabasis 4:7:24.
  7. [1] definition of "Hyperborean."
  8. Hyperborea
Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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