Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Telemachus/007

Annotations edit

007.30 Matthew Arnold       Matthew_Arnold was a poet who lived from 1822 to 1888 and wrote mostly on contemporary social issues.[1] The significance of a deaf gardener masked with Arnold's face is that the social critic is totally focused on what he can see--"watching narrowly the dancing motes of grasshalms"—rather than anything he can perceive with other senses.

007.32 omphalos     (Homeric Greek) navel, centre.[2] In the Odyssey, the island of Ogygia, on which Odysseus is being detained by the nymph Calypso at the beginning of the epic, is described thus:

Odyssey 1:48-50[3]

ἀλλά μοι ἀμφ᾽ Ὀδυσῆι δαΐφρονι δαίεται ἦτορ,
δυσμόρῳ, ὃς δὴ δηθὰ φίλων ἄπο πήματα πάσχει
νήσῳ ἐν ἀμφιρύτῃ, ὅθι τ᾽ ὀμφαλός ἐστι θαλάσσης.

But my heart is torn for wise Odysseus,
Hapless man, who far from his friends has long been suffering woes
In a sea-girt isle, where is the navel of the sea

Several locations have been identified with Ogygia, including Ireland. See also 017.31, 038.14 and 383.32.

The term omphalos has a number of meanings which resonate throughout Ulysses:[4]

Navel     symbolical of birth and the interconnectedness of all life; the seat of the soul and the point at which mystics stare while meditating. Stephen may be suggesting that contemporary Irish nationalism was little more than self-centred navel-gazing. See 038.11 ff.
Centre of the world     The Oracle of Delphi was believed to be located at the centre of the world, which was represented by a stone known as the omphalos.

In some editions of Ulysses, the word omphalos is italicized. See 017.31.

References edit

  1. Wikipedia's page on Matthew Arnold
  2. Gifford (1988) 17.
    Thornton (1968) 15.
  3. Odyssey 1:48-50.
  4. Gilbert, Stuart (1930). James Joyce's Ulysses: A Study.
Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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