Today, Father’s Day, I treated myself to a walk while listening to nearly 3 episodes of ‘re-Joyce’ — a podcast by Frank Delaney wherein he picks apart the puzzles, allusions, and regional meanings of Joyce’s Ulysses. We’re nearing the end of the Proteus chapter, chapter 3 (of 18). He spends each 12-20 minute podcast on just a few sentences of the text — that’s how rich it is. I also recently enjoyed a recorded lecture (from the “Great Courses” recorded lecture series) on Ulysses by Arnold Weinstein. Where Delaney glories in the particular — every word parsed and derived and even giggled about, Weinstein makes broad observations about Steven D. (stand-in for Joyce, serious, immature, agonizing, searching) and Bloom (a cuckold trying hard not to think of his wife with her lover, a patient and generously observant man whom Weinstein says possesses one of the most creative imaginations in all of literature) and then shows us examples of those traits. I think a reader of Ulysses should listen to Weinstein first, then follow along the text with Delaney (but beware that Delaney is only near the end of chapter 3 — at his pace, he won’t reach the end of the book for decades–he admits as much.
Films watched in the last few weeks:
(5 Stars is exemplary, unforgettable, a classic. . .; “r” = repeat viewing)
- Laura — four stars; beautiful and well acted; Vincent Price is a true professional and completely natural as a sniveling man-child; Clifton Webb is the most fun, but one can see how he was typecast by this film forevermore; Gene Tierney is lovely and compelling–most effectively in the interrogation scene; but it’s Dana Andrews’ film. He’s the root and the most interesting character. I didn’t expect the ending. I expected ambiguity and. . .well, more noir.
- Life of Pi — four stars; so beautiful and creatively executed. Superb acting by the main actors. Most compelling was the actor playing the adult Pi. A very close second was the teenaged version; a close third was the actor playing the interviewer. I had it in my head that the film would be G-rated adventure along the lines of Swiss Family Robinson, but it was dark. Animals (presumably CGI animals) are harmed. It’s also an enchanting story with a twist at the end that makes the viewer question everything that came before. Highly recommend it (and my rating may go up after another viewing).
- Hitchcock — three stars; very well-acted, interesting interpretation of Psycho-era Hitch and Alma; but ultimately the story feels like a soap-opera–conventional, predictable, trite. The fault goes to the writer(s) and producer, I suppose. Maybe the poor director had no creative control of the story.
To watch in the near future:
- The River
- Note by Note (r)
- Kiss Me Deadly (r)
- A Room with a View (r — though I wasn’t entirely conscious when I saw it before, two decades ago)
- Sweet Smell of Success
- The Arbor