It’s that time of year again. Ulysses awakens from its slumber to be read out loud by millions of people around the world. Sometimes, they even get through the entire novel.
Something by Joyce apropos of something:
Beauty, the splendour of truth, is a gracious presence when the imagination contemplates intensely the truth of its own being or the visible world, and the spirit which proceeds out of truth and beauty is the holy spirit of joy. These are realities and these alone give and sustain life.
— James Joyce
I think of Molly saying Yes, and Nietzsche saying Yes, and know they aren’t exactly talking about the same things. Though they might be. Molly (Nora Barnacle to a degree) says Yes to Leopold Bloom (Joyce to a far lesser degree), to sex, to sex with Bloom, to sex with Joyce, to a new life with him, or a return to an old one before she “stepped out” so often. The strange dynamic with Stephen Dedalus (Also Joyce, but moreso) throwing it all into disarray, introducing generational elements, making Joyce both father and son . . .
Nietzsche, after all of his pain, the endurance of that pain, said Yes to it happening all over again, to life, even to a life of endless pain, even after arriving at the apparition of the Eternal Return, which he either believed in, or wanted to believe in, or wanted to believe he was forced to believe in.
Saying Yes to life and everything therein (of course) depends upon circumstances before we applaud it or boo it or laugh along with the idea. Is it a sacrifice to embrace? Is it a sign of courage to do so? Art tells us that our decision has little weight or nobility if we don’t take long journeys first. That may or may not be the case in “real life.” Perhaps some are hit by lightning and reach At One Ment or their epiphanies before long journeys, rendering them unnecessary. But at least in Art they are. There’s generally no need for the rest of the story if the revelation occurs before Page One.
Happy Bloomsday, everyone. For great information on the days festivities and James Joyce in general, visit The James Joyce Centre Dublin.