James Joyce 's The Odyssey And Ulysses

1622 WordsNov 14, 20167 Pages
Ulysses is arguably one of James Joyce’s most famous literary works. At least, the obscene sexual nature of Ulysses is notorious in itself. Indeed, it is widely considered that the novel was a scandal when it first appeared serialized in 1918. However, some consider that the epic “is still a scandal, nearly a century after its first publication. For something is missing” . Critics claim the missing element is romanticism and in this essay, the absence of mythical authority. The use of myth romanticizes Odysseus’ journey home while, the crude description sex confronts the reader with the primal realism of life. The lack of godly intervention deflects the blame onto Leopold Bloom for the distance in his marriage. Sex simultaneously represents the distancing factor in his marriage and the process of return to marital intimacy. The “Naussica” episode exemplifies this and it will be the primary focus of this essay. In both texts, The Odyssey and Ulysses, book thirteen is a scene of return. Thus we can see, the sexual acts which replace mythological elements, which are absent in Ulysses, mutually illuminate the process of return in both texts. In the absence of mythical authority Bloom is searching for sexual intimacy. Feeling detached from his wife, Molly, Bloom finds sexual comfort through other women. While the “Nausicaa” episode can be seen as return to sexual intimacy, Joyce contrasts the physical relief of masturbating with the spatial distance between Bloom and Gerty. The
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