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Celebrating the Sacred in Ordinary Life

James Joyce and the Renaissance Magus


Tom Absher

This book is an introductory examination of the Hermetic tradition in the Renaissance and how James Joyce made use of certain of its salient features in his four works of fiction: Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake. This book makes a useful contribution to literary studies of Joyce’s work as well as introductory cultural studies of the Hermetic tradition, its philosophy and important figures, like Marsilio Ficino and Giordano Bruno.

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Chapter 7. Ulysses: The Text




The Text

Episode One: Telemachus

In the Odyssey, this is the chapter in which Odysseus’ son Telemachus leaves home in Ithaca to go in search of his father or news of his whereabouts. Odysseus has been absent for ten years since the ten-year war with Troy ended. Here in Ulysses, Stephen, who was called home from Paris because his mother was dying, is about to leave his temporary home in the Martello Tower which he shares with an old friend, Buck Mulligan, a medical student, and Haines, an Englishman. Stephen’s mother did die and today Stephen is going to leave his temporary teaching job and begin making his way back to Paris to resume his journey as an artist in exile.

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