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Thread: U.P.: up

  1. #1
    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    U.P.: up

    In Lestrygonians, Bloom meets an old girlfriend, Mrs Breen, who shows him a postcard received anonymously by her husband. Bloom reads it aloud: UP? Mrs Breen answers, U.P.: up, and goes on to explain that Mr Breen is suing the author of the postcard.

    My first reaction was that this is a death threat: U.P. spelling out 'up' emphatically, as in "your time is up". I don't think it specifies the type of action Breen is taking in sueing the author. I was intrigued by this episode so I read around a bit, and it seems to be assumed that he's suing for libel. The most common interpretation seems to be that Breen's erectile function is being called into question. But since Mrs Breen mentions her children earlier in her conversation with Bloom, this seems unlikely to me.

    Any thoughts?
    "Books don't offer real escape but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw." David Mitchell

  2. #2
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    Heheh

    Haha, you've actually fallen for Joyce's major joke: overthinking things. Just look at it: u.p. is you pee or, actually, it can also be read as you pee up which would subsequently mean an errection. Good one old JJ pulled, huh?
    Last edited by Vitruvius; 08-04-2009 at 07:46 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User maxphisher's Avatar
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    I'm actually going to argue with you on this one. Richard Ellmann originally speculated on the erection>urination possibility, but it's one theory that he never really developed fully. Coincidentally, I think I've solved the U.P.:UP riddle, and the paper is currently under review at the "James Joyce Quarterly." I should be hearing back soon about whether it has been approved or denied for publication. I'd be happy to share it once I receive word.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruvius View Post
    Haha, you've actually fallen for Joyce's major joke: overthinking things. Just look at it: u.p. is you pee or, actually, it can also be read as you pee up which would subsequently mean an errection. Good one old JJ pulled, huh?

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