Telemachus 0002

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This is what we in the business call an “establishing shot.”  It shows us where the story is about to begin–a little round tower overlooking the sea.

The tower is called a Martello Tower. It’s a real place, and Joyce really lived there for about a week in September of 1904. They were built by the British early in the 19th century, when they feared a French invasion of Ireland. It’s now the James Joyce Museum, run by a wonderful guy named Robert Nicholson. [By the way, if you go to Dublin and ask for the Martello tower, you will get blank stares. There are many Martello towers on the coast of Ireland, especially the southeast coast.][Also, do not confuse the James Joyce Museum with the James Joyce Centre.] The museum is the tower. The Centre is in downtown Dublin & has more going on in terms of programs & activity.]

When I first saw a picture of the tower I was surprised by how stubby it was. Less phallic than you’d think, but not beyond the realm of physiological phenomena.

If you are lucky enough to go to the Joyce Museum and see the view from the top, you’ll notice that you have a great view of Dun Laoghaire (pron. “Dunleary”) , the primary ferry terminal for Dublin, the primary departure point for voyages from (and to) Ireland. So–a castle overlooking the sea: Hamlet. A castle with a view a port for leaving the island: the Odyssey. And it ties out to a moment Joyce’s life, and a moment in Irish history as well. A perfect “overdetermined” multiple overlaying of the personal, the literary, the historical… and we haven’t even talked about the religious elements… and we’re just getting started!

 

View this page of the Comic

Reader’s Guide for I: Telemachus

Dramatis Personae for I: Telemachus

7 thoughts on “Telemachus 0002

    • Great shot from the Joyce Centre. Thanks. It would fit perfectly in the “Eat at Davy Byrne’s” section of our House of Keyes, where you can feel free to post more any time you like.

      The figure making water (are you sure it wasn’t tea?) on your head is a great segue into a response to your comment about Rob’s rendering of Stephen on page 0005 of the comic. As you probably know, that’s a reproduction of the famous photo of Joyce taken by Constantine P. Curran. You’ll notice that Stephen’s expression bears a resemblance to Joyce’s facial expression in the photo…

      Here’s a larger version of the photo.

  1. Voilà ce que l’on appelle, en jargon cinématographique, un « plan de situation ». Il montre le point de départ de l’histoire : une petite tour ronde surplombant la mer.

    La tour porte le nom de tour Martello. Cet endroit existe vraiment, et Joyce y a réellement séjourné environ une semaine, en septembre 1904. De telles tours furent érigées au début du 19ème siècle par les Britanniques, qui craignaient une invasion française en Irlande. Cette tour Martello abrite aujourd’hui le Musée James Joyce, dirigé par un type merveilleux, Robert Nicholson. (Au fait, si vous allez à Dublin et demandez à voir la tour Martello, on va vous regarder avec de grands yeux tout ronds. Il y a beaucoup de tours Martello le long des côtes irlandaises, surtout au sud-est. De même, ne confondez pas le Musée James Joyce avec le Centre James Joyce. Le premier, c’est la tour. Le second est situé en ville, et propose un programme plus étoffé et davantage d’activités).

    Quand, pour la première fois, j’ai vu la tour sur une image, j’ai été surpris par son aspect trapu. Moins phallique qu’il n’y paraît, mais non sans rapport avec un certain phénomène physiologique.

    Si vous avez la chance d’aller au Musée Joyce et de pouvoir profiter du panorama depuis le sommet de la tour, vous remarquerez la vue très vaste que l’on a sur Dun Laoghaire (prononcer « Deunliri »), à la fois principal terminal de ferry pour Dublin et premier point de départ à destination de toute l’Irlande comme de l’étranger. Une sorte de château dominant la mer : « Hamlet ». Avec vue sur un port pour quitter une île : « L’Odyssée ». Ceci est lié à un épisode de la vie de Joyce, ainsi qu’à un moment particulier de l’histoire de l’Irlande. Une parfaite superposition « surdéterminée » de multiples strates personnelles, littéraires, historiques… et cela avant même d’avoir évoqué les aspects religieux… et nous ne faisons que commencer !

  2. I think we should give a little shout out to our friend Pascal Champavert here early on in the Readers’ Guide. Pascal, completely unknown to us before, found the website sometime last winter and has been using it as a way to help French-speaking friends and fans better understand some the complexities of Joyce’s novel. We we’re all surprised here in Philadelphia when we started seeing long responses in French on each page of the guide.

    It seems that Pascal, on his own time, has been translating Mike’s posts line for line.

    Thanks, Pascal! I can’t think of a better example of the kind of response we could want from the website. Reading and unravelling Joyce is a labor of love for all of us, and what you’ve done opens it up in a whole direction.

    Now if we can just arrange a BloomsDay in Paris we just might get to meet up face to face!
    -Rob

  3. I think this is an amazing idea, I took a course on James Joyce while in college in Manhattan. I attended an art school, my fellow class mates would often illustrate what they felt was going on within the story. This combines so many elements that i loved about the class, engaging in discussion in addition to refrencing other sources to seek out the deeper subtexts of this amazing work of literature… All in one place, this is really exciting, the inner book nerd is having a mild freak/geek out. Thanks to all of you for doing this, and above all its free!

    • Brendan,
      One of the things I wrestled with quite a bit in this first chapter was how much “reality” to include. I finally settled on the idea of, “not much”.

      Joyce was a stickler for detail of course, and having accurate views of the bay from the tower, or accurate depictions of the close space of the tower itself, would’ve been possible. Even from Philadelphia (my hometown these days). But we eventually decided to keep the focus on drama and dialogue for this chapter, prompting me to set it a bit more freely, like the opening of a Beckett play. Reality, such as it is, gets tossed over for creating that drama, but I’m glad people are putting this kind of stuff into the messages for reality’s sake. Keep it coming.
      -R

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