January 8, 2012

Marilyn Reading Ulysses

Eve Arnold, who died last week at 99, took this photograph of Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses, one of the most erotic images ever. I'm guessing Marilyn's reading this:

"... and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first 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."

Last year, after haunting eBay for months, I finally found an affordable copy of the Franklin Library Ulysses I'd coveted since spotting it in a used bookstore. It's so pretty I could munch it up, with gilt-edged pages and illustrations by Alan Cober: