Famous Last Words

Screenshot from the trailer of Alfred Hitchcock's *Notorious* [1946], via WikiCommons

Screenshot from the trailer of Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious [1946], via WikiCommons

It’s Bloomsday. People all over the world - including Melbourne - are attending public readings of the novel Ulysses, despite the objections of James Joyce’s descendants. Why, even Joyce himself was recorded reading it aloud - and why not? It is a very read-out-loud-able kind of book.

So Bloomsday gets us to thinking about Ulysses, which gets us to thinking about Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, which you can read here and listen to here. This gets us to thinking about our favourite last lines in novels.

Here’s how Molly Bloom ends Ulysses: “… I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ending sentence for The Great Gatsby is a thing of beauty: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” And Samuel Beckett’s ending to The Unnameable is a conclusion in both senses of the word - an ending and a summation: “…you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

More.

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