Ithaca: Comments by Joyce

Joyce once told me that Ithaca was his favourite episode.
"It is the ugly duckling of the book," he said.

(Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of "Ulysses," p. 258 / p. 264)

"At first I had not thought of the slaughter of the suitors as in Ulysses' character. Now I see it can be there too."

(letter from Joyce to Frank Budgen, 10 December1920,
1:151-52, Selected Letters, p. 274)

"I am writing Ithaca in the form of a mathematical catechism. All events are resolved into their cosmic physical, psychical etc. equivalents, e.g. Bloom jumping down the area, drawing water from the tap, the micturition in the garden, the cone of incense, lighted candle and statue so that not only will the reader know everything and know it in the baldest coldest way, but Bloom and Stephen thereby become heavenly bodies, wanderers like the stars at which they gaze."

(letter from Joyce to Frank Budgen, 28 February 1921,
1:159-60, Selected Letters, p. 278)

"Struggling with the aridities of Ithaca--a mathematico-astronomico-physico-mechanico- geometrico-chemico sublimation of Bloom and Stephen (devil take 'em both) to prepare for the final amplitudinously curvilinear episode Penelope."

(letter from Joyce to Claud W. Sykes, spring 1921, Letters 1:164)

"The Ithaca episode which precedes it I am now putting in order. It is in reality the end as Penelope has no beginning, middle, or end."

(letter from Joyce to Harriet Shaw Weaver, 7 October 1921, Letters 1:172)

"Dear Aunt Josephine: Thanks for the information. . . . Two more questions. Is it possible for an ordinary person to climb over the area railings of no 7 Eccles street, either from the path or the steps, lower himself from the lowest part of the railings till his feet are within 2 feet or 3 of the ground and drop unhurt. I saw it done myself but by a man of rather athletic build. I require this information in detail in order to determine the wording of a paragraph."

(letter from Joyce to his aunt, Mrs. William Murray, in Dublin, 2 November 1921,
Letters 1:175, Selected Letters, p. 286)