Jousting with Joyce

I cannot believe what I just did.

I downloaded Ulysses for FREE! to my iPad just so I can attempt to follow along with Softdrink’s ReadAlong “Jousting with Joyce”.

So I guess that means I’m committing.    I think there’s an escape clause…

WORDS already encountered when I decided to see what exactly the style would be of this infamous novel:

UNTONSURED “Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.”

*** just so you know, WordPress Editor ALSO doubts this word ‘untonsured’! ***

Definition of TONSURE according to the Dictionary installed on my Mac:  “tonsure |ˈnoun,  a part of a monk’s or priest’s head left bare on top by shaving off the hair.• [in sing. ] an act of shaving the top of a monk’s or priest’s head as a preparation for entering a religious order.  verb [ trans. ] [often as adj. ] ( tonsured) shave the hair on the crown of.

ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French, or from Latin tonsura, from tondere ‘shear, clip.’”

OUNS “For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine:  body and soul and blood and ouns.”

Definition of OUNS according to Google Search led me to Wordnik which states that NO DEFINITIONs ARE AVAILABLE.    They do, however, give this same sentence as an example.     Google asked me if I perhaps meant to search for ONUS which means “burden: an onerous or difficult concern”.     Ominous, don’t you think?

(I’m guessing that OUNS means innards and entrails.    Votes?)

Well, isn’t this a fine howdy do and portends great frustration for this reading experience.    Predictions/bets on how far I get with this!?

Of course, that is exactly the wrong foot to get started on – this bad attitude.  Shame on me.

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24 thoughts on “Jousting with Joyce

  1. We can do this! I am not sure we can understand it, but we can definitely make it all the way through the book. That’s my basic goal with this readalong – just make it all the way through. 🙂

  2. It does help to have fun with all the invented words, rather than fretting over their precise meaning. I think your guess for ouns is right on the mark, and that’s a preoccupation of Bloom’s throughout the book, so a good one to understand early on.

    If you have fun reading Ulysses, it’s because you enjoy the playfulness and free association. Don’t be intimidated.

    1. Ok, good. SO it is a KNOWN-thing that Joyce made up words? Yes, that will help.

      “Be playful, have some fun. Be positive, have some fun. Joyce is fun. Ulysses is fun…”

      1. I’ve been reading the literature-Facebook mashup entitled Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don’t Float and thought of you when I got to the section in which Joyce and Hemingway play scrabble:
        H: I’m getting very tired of this. I don’t understand why you both keep making up words.
        J: What are you talking about?
        H: Meise? What’s a meise?
        J: A meise, you know, a meise. The animal. As in, as sautril as a meise.
        H: See, those aren’t real words.
        J: Sure they are. It’s all about context. You put anything in context and people will know what you’re talking about.

  3. Ulysses??!! Wow, you are committed! Although won’t it be great to be able to bring it up casually in conversation, all:
    “oh, that’s like this one time, where I read Ulysses. Yeah. The whole thing. It was a bit of an onus, but at least I didn’t have to do it tonsured! Right?!” <- Insert carefree laugh.

  4. I’ll just wish you luck and send you a virtual pat on the back. Good for you. Hubby read Ulysses. He was baffled but got through it, so I’m sure you’ll survive.

    I guess by “untonsured”, he meant he still had a full head of hair? That was strange. I knew the word tonsure, as in a monk’s tonsure, but I’ve never heard untonsured. Maybe he made it up. Some of us do that, you know . . . “chunkster” is a word I came up with. I don’t think chunkster will make it into Webster’s, any time soon, and it looks like un in front of tonsure didn’t succeed.

  5. Haha! Fine howdy-do for sure. I haven’t opened up my copy yet…waiting until the absolute last day possible. But now I’m thinking maybe I should also download a copy so that I’ll have the handy-dandy dictionary, too. I’m generally too lazy to look up words but afraid that might be a downfall with Mr. Joyce!

    Strength in numbers, right? 😉

  6. Two clauses to the escape clause:

    1. You can’t give up until we start reading it!
    2. You can’t give up until after chapter 4 (’cause I’ve heard chapter 3 is terrible, and it’s where most people quit).

  7. Pingback: James Joyce’s Odyssey – Care's Books and Pie

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