Doggedly reading Ulysses

While I was running Xena and Ozzy at Melton Hill Lake yesterday morning, Ozzy started acting strangely. He stiffened, nose in the air, and started walking gingerly as if across sharp gravel. Then Xena reacted, too. She was bolder, bounding forward to where the dead fox lay in the field. It’s neck was ripped out. Body still steaming in the morning cold. A coyote must have caught it, I thought. I was quick to drive the dogs away from it, thinking rabies thoughts. As we continued through the park, the image of that fox stayed with me. It resonated more than I realized.

I’ve begun re-reading Joyce’s Ulysses, and later on Saturday I came upon this passage, where Steven is walking along the shore and watching a dog that’s moving toward him stop to investigate the bloated body of another hound.

“… The carcass lay on his path. He stopped, sniffed, stalked round it, brother, nosing closer, went round it, sniffling rapidly like a dog all over the dead dog’s bedraggled fell. Dogskull, dogsniff, eyes on the ground, moves to one great goal. Ah, poor dogsbody! Here lies poor dogsbody’s body.

“– Tatters! Outofthat, you mongrel!

“The cry brought him skulking back to his master and a blunt bootless kick sent him unscathed across a spit of sand, crouched in flight. …”

Amazing. It also drove home what an incredible writer Joyce was. In fact, fueled by insights from the Ellman biography of Joyce, I’m enjoying this go-round with Ulysses much more than past reads …

3 replies on “Doggedly reading Ulysses”

  1. Not Bloom. This is a scene with Stephen Dedalus … and the dog kicker is a stranger who is walking the dog on the beach. Stephen is just observing … I should have done a better job setting it up.

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