This talk, the third in Volume 1,“The Mythic Novels of James Joyce” is entitled “Ulysses, pt. 1.” It was recorded at the Esalen Institute on November 26, 1983.
Molly Bloom is equated with Penelope and appears to Leopold as he prepares her breakfast. Joseph Campbell helps to interpret the psychological crisis as Joyce weaves the intricate story of Leopold and Molly. There’s a funeral, and Bloom, like most Irishmen, was a seasoned drunk which makes for a very amusing funeral indeed. Reading from the book Ulysses and interpreting the intricately weaved story, Joe offers a compelling explanation of Joyce’s story.
“One might speak also however of the woman as muse, you know the inspirer of the spirit, and, all that—that really is another aspect isn’t it, if she is purely that, and is not in the role of temptress or wife or daughter or mother, that would be just woman as temp—that would be Beatrice. But the essence of the psychological transformation is of seeing the radiance rather than the carnal aspect. Joyce uses the word epiphany, [which] was the appearance of the little Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, to the coming of the three magi, this is the epiphany, the revelation to delay community or to mankind of the incarnate Christ. And when one sees the radiance through all things, all things are the incarnate Christ. This is perfectly good Buddhism, all things are Buddha things, the only difference between any of them—or any of us and the Buddha is we do not know it, and we do not act out of our Buddha consciousness. So, the Beatrice is the revelation to Dante of the light you might say of the spirit, and he follows that lead right up to the throne of God.