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Bloom as Flâneur

“He turned away and sauntered across the road. How did she walk with her sausages? Like that something. As he walked he took the folded Freeman from his sidepocket, unfolded it, rolled it lengthwise in a baton and tapped it at each sauntering step against his trouserleg. Careless air: just drop in to see. Per second per second. Per second for every second it means.”

{Leopold Bloom; Lotus Eaters. pp.68. Ulysses.}

“Man as civilized being, as intellectual nomad, is again wholly microcosmic, wholly homeless, as free intellectually as hunter and herdsman were free sensually”

{Spengler Vol.2 pp.125}


In Joyce’s Ulysses we follow the peripatetic Leopold Bloom, our most ordinary hero, as he walks though the streets of Dublin in 1904. It is in Ulysses, through Bloom and his unstructured perambulations, that the reader is brought to experience a domestic psycho-geography of Dublin which parallels Odysseus’ epic journey through ancient Greece. In Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, the valiant hero Odysseus travels for ten years, following the fall of Troy, to reach his home; Ithaca, and his wife Penelope.  Bloom is on epic journey too – although he is not aware of this – as he lives through the course of a single day. Ulysses is an encyclopedic glossary of a city, and its human geography, and Bloom is our conscious guide.

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