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Sequels have a fraught place in arts and letters. In the past decade, any trip to the Cineplex for a superhero or comedy reboot suggests that capturing the auratic value of an original requires more than reassembling and reanimating its elements. Somehow, however, the difficulty of reproducing the aura of the original doesn’t dampen our desire to re-experience it. In the case of Joyce’s work, it becomes more complex considering his own penchant for picking up where he and others had left off. Characters from Dubliners appear in A Portrait, and Ulysses reconnects with Stephen after the reader last saw him forging consciences in a second-hand language and wearing second-hand clothes. In many ways, all of Joyce’s work can be seen as a continuation of western letters, and, as accounts of his plans to have James Stephens complete the Wake suggest, he was not wholly opposed to having others continue his own contributions.
All of these issues are at play in Dr. Stephen Bond’s Ulysses 2: Murder in Paris. In addition to being an academic philosopher, Bond has dedicated considerable effort to elucidating links between Joyce and Beckett’s work. Ulysses 2, a fictional murder mystery, follows a twenty-four-year-old Samuel Beckett as he awakens in Paris to find he has written an incomprehensible poem entitled “Whoroscope.” The poem’s composition is somehow tied to the philosophy of René Descartes and the murder of Jean du Chas. In ventriloquizing real and fictional literary figures, testing the tensile strength of genre, riffing on original works, and speculating on scattershot intertextualities, Ulysses 2 promises to embody the best and worst of sequels and investigate our unflagging desire to revisit originals in new ways. To read a more complete description of Ulysses 2, follow this link.
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