Now 2022 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio Artwork WIP
I will be on vacation from August 8-14th. Blog updates will resume on August 15th.

Recent posts

Month in review

Alphabet Rescue by Audrey Wood
The Avenger of Love by Jack Skillingstead
Blaze by Stephen King
The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman
The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch
The Eighth Day of the Week by Marek Hlasko
The Elephants of Style by Bill Walsh
Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki
Father Malachy's Miracle by Bruce Marshall
Free to Be... You and Me by Marlo Thomas
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Harold's Fairy Tale by Crockett Johnson
Hunger by Elise Blackwell
Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
Look at Me by Anita Brookner
Lost by Gregory Maguire
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Randy Udall
Poor Poor Ophelia by Carolyn Weston
Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright
The Ride by Tom Brandner
Shadow-Below by Robert Reed
The Sneakiest Pirates by Dalton James
Sorcerers of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
The Spiral Briar by Sean McMullen
The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist
Through Endangered Eyes by Rachel Allen Dillon
Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans
The Tribes of Bela by Albert E. Cowdrey
The Valley of the Giants by Peter B. Kyne
"A Wild and Wicked Youth" by Ellen Kushner
Without Sin by J. Thomas
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

Episode 10: The Wandering Rocks: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Episode 11: Sirens: Our Man in Havana
Episode 12: The Cyclops: Pick-a-Little Episode 13: Nausicaä: Petting in the Park
Episode 14: Oxen in the Sun: The Critic in the Cabernet

Susan Vreeland

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Canadian Book Challenge: 2022-2023

Beat the Backlist 2022

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Ulysses: Episode 11: Sirens: Our Man in Havana: 05/09/09

Caberet... the modern venue of the classic siren

The eleventh episode of Ulysses called "The Sirens" is pretty self explanatory. The sirens on the rocks are among the best known pieces of Greek mythology. They sing from their rocks luring in the ships and then they eat the crew as they lay scattered in their smashed vessels.

In Ulysses the sirens make their appearance as a seductive barmaids at a the hotel restaurant. There is also singing but it is done by Simon Dedalus (Stephen's father) and other drunken patrons at the hotel.

Seductive secretaryThe music and noise of the hotel restaurant is rendered as a strings of lyrics thrown in amongst the dialogue and limited descriptions. The music comes in without explanation and without warning or segue. In that regard, the noisy pub is as much a distraction to the reader as the sirens are to sailors.

With the location of dinner in a noisy, music filled location brought to mind many different scenes I could have used to illustrate Joyce's rendition of the sirens. The best one though is the introduction of the secretary and radio man in Our Man in Havana. Although Beatrice Severn and the radio man don't sing as part of their introductions, they first meet Wormold in the noise of a Havana dinner theater.

Champagne?Beatrice Severn's appearance means trouble for Wormold. After her arrival things hot up in Havana for real and perceived reasons. Her existence ads to the seductive power of being a spy, albeit a bogus one. As a divorce she symbolically has left behind a trail of men (even if it's just one). Wormold, like Odysseus is on an island far from his wife (who in this case, left him for a suitor).

So if Beatrice is a siren, it appears that Stephen's family are some how the sirens (in the sense of being trouble) for Bloom. There are seven more episodes remaining to see how their trouble plays out.

Next Saturday I'll post my thoughts on Episode Twelve: The Cyclops. If you want to read along, Ulysses is available online at Read Print.

As an added bonus, I want to share my runner up. This is a dream sequence of sirens called the "Lullaby of Broadway" from the 1935 film Gold Diggers of 1935. In it a woman is lured to her death by the sirens call (and dance) at a late night New York dinner theater.

Lullaby of Broadway

Comments (0)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:
Twitter Tumblr Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2022 Sarah Sammis