Tuesday, October 06, 2009


James Joyce, Ulysses, Chapter 18: Penelope

Marilyn Monroe on James Joyce's Ulysses

"Oh yes, dreams. I know they are important. But you want me to free associate about the dream elements. I have the same blanking out. More resistance for you and Dr Freud to complain about.

I read his "Introductory Lectures", God, what a genius. He makes it so understandable. And he is so right. Didn't he say himself that Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky had a better understanding of psychology than all the scientists put together. Damn it, they do.

You told me to read Molly Bloom's mental meanderings (I can use words, can't I) to get a feeling for free association. It was when I did that I got my great idea.

As I read it something bothered me. Here is Joyce writing what a woman thinks to herself . Can he, does he really know her innermost thoughts. But after I read the whole book, I could better understand that Joyce is an artist who could penetrate the souls of people, male or female. It really doesn't matter that Joyce doesn't have ... or never felt a menstrual cramp. Wait a minute. As you must have guessed I am free associating and you are going to hear a lot of bad language. Because of my respect for you, I've never been able to say the words I'm really thinking when we are in session. But now I am going to say whatever I think, no matter what it is.

While reading Molly's blathering, the IDEA came to me. Get a tape recorder. Put a tape in. Turn it on. Say whatever you are thinking like I am doing now. It's really easy. I'm lying on my bed wearing only a brassiere. If I want to go to the refrig or the bathroom, push the stop button and begin again when I want to. And I just free associate. No problem.

You get the idea, don't you? Patient can't do it in Doctor's office. Patient is at home with tape recorder ...

Well, that's something for you to sleep on, Doctor.

Good Night."

BONUS! Sally Kelllerman reads the end of Molly Bloom's aforementioned monologue, much to Rodney Dangerfield's delight, in Back to School. (The sounds pretty low on the clip, you'll have to jack up your volume)

and if you notice, at the end, the first book on the class' reading list is Finnegans Wake!


Leandro said...

What about this? It's appended to the text you copied in the IMDb page for Marilyn (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000054/bio). Do you think it's fake?

To me Leopold Bloom is a central character. He is the despised Irish Jew, married to an Irish Catholic woman. It is through them Joyce develops much of what he wants to say. Do you agree that the scene where Bloom is looking at the little girl on the swing is the most erotic in the book?

Toby said...


I am not sure which bit you think is fake...

Whoever wrote it hasn't probably read the book, though, as Bloom watches a young woman (not a little girl) sitting on a rock on the beach (not a swing).

Bogus Magus said...

A hasty search implies that this passage comes from a transcript of Marilyn communicating with her psychoanalyst, I think.

So, perhaps she read it, but got something different from it (?) The language remains evasive and euphemistic enough, after all... :-)


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