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Thread: Ulysses - Telemachus -- Candle Joke

  1. #1

    Post Ulysses - Telemachus -- Candle Joke

    I am sorry if someone has already posted this question but I've searched several places as well as this forum before I decided to ask.

    In the first Chapter of Ulysses (Telemachus) while eating their breakfast, Buck makes a joke that I am afraid I just don't get.

    Here's the quote:
    "I'm melting, he said, as the candle remarked when ... But ..."

    In Gifford and Seidman's Ulysses Annotated the footnote reads "almost as obviously, the prelude to a dirty joke about female masturbation." Does anyone know what this joke is? Is this a popular joke from Joyce's time that has perhaps fallen out of use?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obiwanspicoli View Post
    I am sorry if someone has already posted this question but I've searched several places as well as this forum before I decided to ask.
    Where'd you look? I Googled "candle melting joke" and this was the very first result:

    http://sharpelvessociety.blogspot.co...mulligans.html
    "You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views." -- Doctor Who

  3. #3
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Well that blogger is fairly full of himself.

    "Oh I am the first one to make the connection between a melting candle and Icarus" - what?

    Nonetheless, the allusion to the dirty joke is accurate. A melting candle burns out to quickly....as women do...get it?
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    When I was at school, it was:

    "Two nuns were stuck in a coal cellar. One says, "Where's the candle?" The other says, "Yes, it does, doesn't it?"
    Voices mysterious far and near,
    Sound of the wind and sound of the sea,
    Are calling and whispering in my ear,
    Whifflingpin! Why stayest thou here?

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    Litterateur Anton Hermes's Avatar
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    Just not what I expect from a classy guy like Buck Mulligan.

    -Anton

  6. #6
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anton Hermes View Post
    Just not what I expect from a classy guy like Buck Mulligan.

    -Anton
    Classy?
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  7. #7

    Ulysses - Telemachus - Candle Joke

    Charles Darnay wrote: "Well that blogger is fairly full of himself. "Oh I am the first one to make the connection between a melting candle and Icarus" - what?"

    Actually, Monsieur Darnay, what I wrote at my blog (as those who followed the link could see), in relevant part, was:

    "I showed yesterday that ONE of the sources that Buck is teasingly alluding to is the mythological flying Icarus and the fatally untimely melting of the wax affixing his wings to his torso. To the best of my knowledge, I am the first to spot that allusion."

    The operative words are "To the best of my knowledge"---today I repeated my online searching, and once again I could find nothing in any of the literary databases (JSTOR, Expanded Academic, Project Muse) or online to suggest that any prior literary scholar has ever pointed out this (to me, obvious, for so many reasons) allusion to Icarus in Buck Mulligan's joke.

    If you can point me to a prior "sighting", I will gladly cede priority to it. It's puzzling, isn't it, that Gifford's annotation would point to the dirty joke, but would not also mention Mulligan's suggestion that Stephen is a little "too much i' the sun" in the mythological, as well as the Hamletian, sense--especially because I believe Joyce is, by this means, showing that HE understood that Shakespeare had Icarus and Daedalus in mind as one of the many mythological antecedents to Hamlet and his dead father, that being why Hamlet yearns for his own "flesh" to "melt", in a very sexual way, as I explained in my blog posts on Ulysses from October 2010.

    Cheers, ARNIE
    @JaneAustenCode on Twitter

  8. #8

    P.s.

    And I would like to thank you very very much, CD, because you prompted me to revisit this whole interesting topic of the allusion to Icarus in Joyce's Ulysses, and this time, I found some MORE stuff that has significantly extended my previous discoveries in October 2010.

    Nothing inspires me more than casual naysayers, you motivate me to redouble my efforts to prove my points, and often that is enough to lead to positive things.

    I will be back in due course to explain myself.

    Cheers, ARNIE
    @JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Upturned View Post
    Charles Darnay wrote: "Well that blogger is fairly full of himself. "Oh I am the first one to make the connection between a melting candle and Icarus" - what?"

    Actually, Monsieur Darnay, what I wrote at my blog (as those who followed the link could see), in relevant part, was:

    "I showed yesterday that ONE of the sources that Buck is teasingly alluding to is the mythological flying Icarus and the fatally untimely melting of the wax affixing his wings to his torso. To the best of my knowledge, I am the first to spot that allusion."

    The operative words are "To the best of my knowledge"---today I repeated my online searching, and once again I could find nothing in any of the literary databases (JSTOR, Expanded Academic, Project Muse) or online to suggest that any prior literary scholar has ever pointed out this (to me, obvious, for so many reasons) allusion to Icarus in Buck Mulligan's joke.

    If you can point me to a prior "sighting", I will gladly cede priority to it. It's puzzling, isn't it, that Gifford's annotation would point to the dirty joke, but would not also mention Mulligan's suggestion that Stephen is a little "too much i' the sun" in the mythological, as well as the Hamletian, sense--especially because I believe Joyce is, by this means, showing that HE understood that Shakespeare had Icarus and Daedalus in mind as one of the many mythological antecedents to Hamlet and his dead father, that being why Hamlet yearns for his own "flesh" to "melt", in a very sexual way, as I explained in my blog posts on Ulysses from October 2010.

    Cheers, ARNIE
    @JaneAustenCode on Twitter
    glad I could motivate I suppose, but I maintain that you do nothing for yourself as a writer/scholar by claiming originality. It should be implied, if you write an idea and do not cite it, that it is your idea, at least in part. The explicit stating of such is just haughty egoism. Particularly when you are dealing with a fairly obvious allusion.

    I am surprised you have not been able to find anything on the topic. I will not claim expertise when it comes to Joyce scholarship, I have not mined the field to any great degree. But I would suggest, if you cannot find any references to Icarus, you will be able to find some to Daedalus, not to be confused with Dedelus. Although the Daedalus/Dedalus connection is a matter unto itself.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  10. #10

    Ulysses - Telemachus - Candle Joke

    "It should be implied, if you write an idea and do not cite it, that it is your idea, at least in part. The explicit stating of such is just haughty egoism. Particularly when you are dealing with a fairly obvious allusion.
    I am surprised you have not been able to find anything on the topic. I will not claim expertise when it comes to Joyce scholarship, I have not mined the field to any great degree. But I would suggest, if you cannot find any references to Icarus, you will be able to find some to Daedalus, not to be confused with Dedelus. Although the Daedalus/Dedalus connection is a matter unto itself."

    You are not careful. Everybody knows that the myth of Daedalus and Icarus is in Joyce's writings, most of all in Ulysses. What should ALSO be obvious, but apparently has only been seen by me, is that Buck Mulligan is covertly alluding to Icarus when he speaks about the melting candle.

    But this is only the wick of the candle, so to speak--as I hinted in my P.S., there is a whole matrix of allusion hidden in plain sight, which pops out in Mulligan's joke, and also elsewhere in the text of Ulysses, a unified series of passages connected subliminally, and yet, upon careful examination, ineluctuably (to use one of SD's favorite words).

    Just you wait, Henry Higgins, I will be putting this out into the world in due course.

    Cheers, ARNIE
    @JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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