Fun With Modernism

My written exams (part I of my college’s unnecessarily strenuous honors program) are finally over. I have oral exams left, which entail one-on-one sessions with experts brought in from other colleges and universities; but those don’t start until next Thursday, and for now I’m going to celebrate with some light-hearted tributes to my finally-over classes.

First up is Modern Comparative Literature. A good chunk of the class centered around James Joyce’s Ulysses, the mother of all modern epics. Robert Berry has made a pretty brilliant comic strip version of Ulysses, called Ulysses “Seen”. It’s not spectacular in any way that can compare to the original, but just in the sense that converting such a text to the visual in any comprehendible way is pretty incredible. Berry is posting the comic serially online, as an homage to the novel’s original publication ¬†serially in The Little Review. So far, only “Telemachus” is up online. Here are some selections:

I love Buck Mulligan’s pot belly. I think Berry really got Mulligan’s appearance right; Stephen, I’m not so sure about. The interpretation of the plot is a little simplistic, and the narration of Stephen’s consciousness with images of his mom is a little cheesy. But I love the little touches and nods to the text, like the publishing name “Throwaway Horse, LLC.”

I’ll close with another comic reference to Joyce; if you’ve ever read any of his love letters to his wife Nora you’ll get it:

Personally, I find the letters more hilarious than traumatizing, but that’s just me. Let’s just say that Joyce didn’t keep his “cloacal obsession” out of the bedroom.


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