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Bloomsday's Annual Seminar and Lunch 2018: James Joyce, Obstetrics and Parody
BY Frances Devlin-Glass | 16-May-2018
Join Joyce buffs for lots of engaging background to Holy Cow! Bloomsday's dramatisation of chapter 14 of Ulysses. Professor Barry Jones will be chairing, and Joyceans Dr. James King (retired academic gynaecologist and Joycean) will talk about Joyce's knowledge of obstetrics; Philip Harvey (poet and poetry editor) will talk about Joyce's use of parody in Ulysses, and especially in Oxen of the Sun. There will be lunch later with more Joyce parodies, as well as a very elegant two course meal to chew over.
Bloomsday notches up 25 years of Bloomsday festivals in Melbourne, celebrating the writings and life of James Joyce, and is the toast of the Joycean universe (Bloomsday is an international secular feast-day) for its full theatrical stagings of Joyce's masterpiece, 'Ulysses'. Every year, the scripters select a different aspect of the novel to dramatise, and this year it's Joyce's parodic guided tour of 1000 years of English literature. The play, 'Holy Cow!' will be directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean, a Shakespearean actor and director, and she brings different linguistic and staging skills to the project after years of working in England, including time at the Globe Theatre, London. The seminar works to cast light on the issues raised in the play.
Dr James King, who himself studied obstetrics at the very hospital which is the setting of Joyce's chapter 14, will talk about Joyce's forensic treatment in Chapter 14 of fertilisation, contraception, venereal disease, artificial insemination, pregnancy, abortion and birth. Some are dealt with with deadly
seriousness; some are hauntingly tragic; and others are downright hilarious. Did the knowledge gained as a medical student in Dublin and Paris give Joyce special insight into these life events, or is this just
another example of his extraordinary encyclopaedic virtuosity?
Philip Harvey takes a different tack in discussing parody. From the moment Buck Mulligan intones words of the Latin Mass on page 1, the reader of Ulysses is alert to parody. Not only does the author relish the opportunity to parody whatever comes his way, so do many of his characters. Dublin is a place riddled with parodists. Parodies Lost and Found influence our appreciation of daily life in the city, whether to make fun, make time, or make a point. By the time we reach the episode in the National Maternity Hospital we are well softened up for a full-scale parodic take on English Literature, even the course of English itself. The paper pays attention to Joyce’s many uses of parody, which are never there for their own sake, but always to serve his artistic purposes.
With the erudite Professor Barry Jones in the chair, who also knows and admires Joyce, it promises to be a lively discussion.
You can attend the seminar and book separately for the seminar or you can kick on with the Joyce community and purchase a seminar and meal package. Go to https://www.bloomsdayinmelbourne.org.au/events