Pain of love

More than any other human reality, Ulysses is about love—sexual love. June 16, 1904 was the date on which Joyce first went out walking in Ringsend with Nora Barnacle. (She pulled him off inside his pants, and he was smitten.) Fictionally, it is the day on which the sexual dysfunction in the Blooms’ marriage reaches a climax, as Molly begins an affair with Blazes Boylan. In Telemachus Joyce implicitly connects the crisis in the Blooms' marriage with his young persona's progress toward maturity: "Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart."

JH 2011

Nora Barnacle in Zurich, ca. 1916. Source:

Photograph of James Joyce by Alex Ehrenzweig, Zurich, 1915. Source: Wikimedia Commons.