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Juil 17, 2007, 3:57 pm

U.p.,up:can anybody tell me what does this thing mean?I'm italian,my english ain't that good,please forgive if I'm making a stupid question.In italian it sounds "s.u.,su",somethig that makes no sense at all.

Modifié : Juil 18, 2007, 9:21 am

According to Harry Blamires in his The new Bloomsday book the wording is cryptic - which makes it all the funnier because Breen, as well as the reader, realises that it is rude but also is not quite sure what it means - merely suspects aspersions upon his sex life. So another mystery in Ulysses. One interpretation is that it suggests that Breen is unable to have an orgasm with his wife - so he pisses up her instead: in essence: you pee up (it's one way of wetting the tea), and this fits with Joyce's well documented interest in all matters relating to 'Golden Showers' (see the opening word/s of Finnegans Wake: 'riverrun...commod|ius vicus of recirculation...') and scatology.

The joke was repeated, though not in a Joycean context, in Kenneth Tynan's musical review Oh! Calcutta! in the late sixties, early seventies - where one of the characters worn out by endless shagging says that unable to cum - he pissed up her instead!

Your translation into Italian: 's.u: su' is onomatopoeically (excuse pun) very fitting.

Joyce's powers of prediction are once again evident - his interest in the telephone - one in every coffin in case you are buried alive - thereby predicting the mobile phone and the art of texting: U.p: up!



Oct 31, 2011, 10:39 pm

As far as the "riverrun..." comment goes, I believe there is actually an ancient Irish belief that the lakes and rivers of Ireland were created by the gods relieving themselves. I'll have to look this up to verify it, but...

And, in regards to Joyce's powers of prediction, don't forget the European Union or the United States of Europe, as he calls it in Ulysses.