Joyce’s Ulysses follows Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus as they experience Dublin over a single day on June 16th, 1904. The novel relates their casual encounters and circumambulatory perambulations in the form of a stream of idiosyncratic thought, memory and emotional and practical descriptions that create a multi-dimensional visual and psychogeographical description of their lives. While contemplating the reality of the human digestive system Leopold Bloom muses on the possibility of the existence of anuses in the female statuary at the National Museum of Ireland, Merrion Square, Dublin
Episode 8 – Lestrygonians
His downcast eyes followed the silent veining of the oaken slab. Beauty: it curves, curves are beauty. Shapely goddesses, Venus, Juno: curves the world admires. Can see them library museum standing in the round hall, naked goddesses. Aids to digestion. They don’t care what man looks. All to see. Never speaking, I mean to say to fellows like Flynn. Suppose she did Pygmalion and Galatea what would she say first? Mortal! Put you in your proper place. Quaffing nectar at mess with gods, golden dishes, all ambrosial. Not like a tanner lunch we have, boiled mutton, carrots and turnips, bottle of Allsop. Nectar, imagine it drinking electricity: gods’ food. Lovely forms of woman sculped Junonian. Immortal lovely. And we stuffing food in one hole and out behind: food, chyle, blood, dung, earth, food: have to feed it like stoking an engine. They have no. Never looked. I’ll look today. Keeper won’t see. Bend down let something fall see if she.
James Joyce, 1882-1941. Ulysses, 1922. Episode 8 – Lestrygonians
Image: Giacomo Vanelli. Crouching Venus. Marble. 88.5 x 45.3 x 51.2 cm. Italian, 19th century. © National Gallery of Ireland