This chapter, in which Bloom watches in secret the young Gerty McDowell on Sandymount Strand, is an exploration of perceptions of beauty and desire. At a time when greater discussion on sexual identity and concomitant freedoms is taking place, it seems particularly appropriate to invite. Leeuwarden is also a UNESCO City of Literature – a fitting city to host an event inspired by a literary masterpiece and therefore the right place for a creative response to this episode in Ulysses.
The Netherlands has traditionally been viewed as notably liberal and certainly LGBT rights have been some of the most progressive in the world. From the secrecy of Bloom’s world, where the sexual was shameful and clandestine, we appear to be moving towards a more open and debate-led approach to the role of sexual fluidity in contemporary life. Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland, hosted Roze Zaterdag (the Dutch annual LGBTQ festival) in 2022. Friesland was the last province in the Netherlands to raise the rainbow flag. Leeuwarden is also a UNESCO City of Literature – a fitting city to host an event inspired by a literary masterpiece.
All the action of the episode takes place on the rocks of Sandymount Strand, a shoreline area to the southeast of central Dublin. A young woman named Gerty MacDowell is seated on the rocks with her two friends, Cissy Caffrey and Edy Boardman. The girls are taking care of three children, a baby, and four-year-old twins named Tommy and Jacky. Gerty contemplates love, marriage and femininity as night falls. The reader is gradually made aware that Bloom is watching her from a distance. Gerty teases the onlooker by exposing her legs and underwear, and Bloom, in turn, masturbates. Bloom’s masturbatory climax is echoed by the fireworks at the nearby bazaar. As Gerty leaves, Bloom realises that she has a lame leg, and believes this is the reason she has been ‘left on the shelf’. After several mental digressions he decides to visit Mina Purefoy at the maternity hospital. It is uncertain how much of the episode is Gerty’s thoughts, and how much is Bloom’s sexual fantasy. Some believe that the episode is divided into two halves: the first half the highly romanticised viewpoint of Gerty, and the other half that of the older and more realistic Bloom. Joyce himself said, however, that ‘nothing happened between [Gerty and Bloom]. It all took place in Bloom’s imagination’. ‘Nausicaa’ attracted immense notoriety while the book was being published in serial form. It has also attracted great attention from scholars of disability in literature. The style of the first half of the episode borrows from (and parodies) romance magazines and novelettes.
Homer Odyssey Chapter
Book 6: Athena appears in a dream to the Phaeacian princess Nausicaa, disguised as her friend. She encourages the young princess to go to the river the next day to wash her clothes so that she will appear more fetching to the many men courting her. The next morning, Nausicaa goes to the river, and while she and her handmaidens are naked, playing ball as their clothes dry on the ground, Odysseus wakes in the forest and encounters them. Naked himself, he humbly yet winningly pleads for their assistance, never revealing his identity. Nausicaa leaves him alone to wash the dirt and brine from his body, and Athena makes him look especially handsome, so that when Nausicaa sees him again she begins to fall in love with him. Afraid of causing a scene if she walks into the city with a strange man at her side, Nausicaa gives Odysseus directions to the palace and advice on how to approach Arete, queen of the Phaeacians, when he meets her. With a prayer to Athena for hospitality from the Phaeacians, Odysseus sets out for the palace.
This project strand offers short residency opportunities in partner cities for 30 emerging artists as part of the legacy of this pan-European project.
Each city partner will send two artists on a residency to another partner’s city of a different art form, thereby seeking to enrich their professional practice through inter-disciplinary residencies. Artists are chosen on the basis of having demonstrated an interest in the hosting city’s Arts & Society contemporary European theme. They must also practice a different art form from that of the hosting city’s public event. The project offers the emerging artists the opportunity to travel without the pressure to produce work and ideally to experience UEO’s public events.
Confirmed artists’ personal statements and biographies can be found on the relevant city’s page by clicking on the artist’s photo.
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Noorderlicht is a platform for contemporary observation and an inclusive stage for artists from all around the world. The festival has its offices in Groningen.
At Noorderlicht artists are able to discuss with the public and to search for the limits of their profession. Their work merges with that of the non-professional, who has access to social media channels with smartphones and tries to form his or her own image of the world.
Our themes are universal and related to local and international issues. We encourage insight and engagement with artistic social stories about what touches and moves people and adds to their development. Photographic viewing is our starting point, visual culture our field of work.