Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Proteus/050

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Annotations[edit | edit source]

Prix de Paris     (French) The Grand Prix de Paris (Great Prize of Paris) was the most important event in French horse racing.[1] The mention of Old Father Ocean has reminded Stephen, perhaps, of the steeds of Mananaan See 032.17.

Stephen is probably also punning on the story of the Judgement of Paris, in which the Prince of Troy awarded the Apple of Discord to Aphrodite, precipitating the Trojan War. Paris's prize for choosing Aphrodite was Helen of Troy.

beware of imitations     In a palinode attributed to the Greek poet Stesichorus, the Trojan War was fought over a phantom Helen, while the real Helen was living in Egypt under the protection of King Proteus.[2] The historian Herodotus recounts a similar tradition in his Histories.[3] The Greek playwright Euripides also draws upon this tradition for his drama Helen, in which Helen is reunited with her husband Menelaus when he is marooned in Egypt on his way home from Troy.[4] This latter event, of course, is the Homeric background Joyce drew upon when he wrote the Proteus episode of Ulysses.

Lucifer, dico, qui nescit occasum     (Latin) The Morning Star, I say, who knows no setting.[5]

Stephen's adapts this quotation from the Easter Vigil, the Catholic service for Holy saturday. The Exultet or Easter Proclamation, sung by the deacon before the Paschal Candle, concludes with the words:


May the early Morning Star find his flames [still burning]:
He, I say, the Morning Star, who knows no setting.
Christ your Son,
Who, returned from the dead, has shed his peaceful light on the human race,
And who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat:
ille, inquam, Lúcifer, qui nescit occásum.
Christus Fílius tuus,
qui, regréssus ab ínferis, humáno géneri serénus illúxit,
et vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum.

Lucifer means the bringer of light and was applied to the Morning Star by the ancient Romans. In the Exultet it refers to the risen Christ. But Lucifer is also a name for Satan, so Stephen's phrase can also be translated: Lucifer, I say, who knows no fall.

See Isaiah 14:12: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,[6] son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations![7]

See Luke 10:18: I beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven.[8]

Già     (Italian) Indeed.[9] According to Gifford, Stephen is using the word to express impatience; he feels that he has spent enough time wandering across Sandymount Strand and is urging himself to get a move on.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Gifford (1988) 65.
    Thornton (1968) 66.
  2. Dio Chrysostom, Discourses 11:40 ff.
  3. Herodotus, Histories 2:112.
  4. Euripides, Helen.
  5. Gifford, Don; Seidman, Robert J. (1988). Ulysses Annotated. University of California Press. p. 65.
    Thornton, Weldon (1968). Allusions in Ulysses. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 66–67.
  6. Strong's Hebrew.
  7. Bible Gateway
  8. Bible Gateway
  9. Gifford (1988) 66.
Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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