The James Joyce Centre was proud to sponsor Joycenights, a literary festival at the James Joyce Tower & Museum in Sandycove from the 9th to the 14th of September 2023.
In September 1904, James Joyce spent six nights in the Sandycove Martello Tower, where he would later set the opening episode of Ulysses. This festival commemorated his short but significant residency with readings, concerts, and a podcast.
On Monday, 28 August 2023 at 7:30pm, American Mezzo-soprano Victoria Vargas and pianist James Barnett presented a program featuring the music of women composers of the Isles. The recital featured the music of Joan Trimble, Ina Boyle, Rebecca Clarke, Ethel Smyth, and Errollyn Wallen. Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, the duo were performing in their European debut.
Mezzo-soprano Victoria Vargas has sung over twenty-five roles for the Minnesota Opera and has performed with the Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Chautauqua Opera, Sarasota Opera, Ash Lawn-Highland Festival, and others. Concert credits include performing with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, La Jolla Symphony, Billings Symphony, Bach Society of Minnesota, and Minnesota Orchestra. She has placed seven times at the formerly titled Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at both the district and regional levels, was a finalist at the Irene Dalis competition through Opera San Jose, and placed at the Schubert Club Competition. Her recent works include a workshop of the new work Generación Perdida by composer Jorge Sosa at the Opera America Center in New York City, performances of Handel’s Messiah, and concert performances for the Minnesota Opera. Ms. Vargas is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Minnesota.
A leading producer of Twin Cities recital programming, James Barnett is dedicated to bringing new and forgotten music to the next generation of audiences. He was the founding Artistic Director of the LOFT recital and was recently named as the new Artistic Director of Skylark Opera Theatre. Barnett has been a featured pianist with many companies and academic institutions across the country, including the Des Moines Metro Opera, Minnesota Opera, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Lakes Area Music Festival, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, The University of Minnesota, Grand Valley State University, Up North Vocal Institute, and OperaNEO. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Minnesota.
The James Joyce Centre was delighted to present Celtic Tides: A Story of the Irish Coming to Newfoundland, with traditional Irish/Newfoundland music performed by the Celtic Fiddlers of Newfoundland, Canada, on 6 August 2023 at 1pm.
The James Joyce Centre was delighted to host the launch of Modern Irish and Scottish Literature: Connections, Contrasts, Celticisms by Dr. Richard Alan Barlow. The event will feature an introduction by Dr. Nicholas Allen from the University of Georgia.
The book examines the various ways Irish and Scottish literature have influenced each other from the 1760s to the contemporary era. By studying work in a variety of genres from figures such as James Macpherson, Walter Scott, Sydney Owenson, Augusta Gregory, W.B. Yeats, Fiona Macleod/William Sharp, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Hugh MacDiarmid, Sorley MacLean, and Seamus Heaney in their respective political and cultural contexts, Modern Irish and Scottish Literature also provides a new account of the characteristics and phases of literary Celticism within Romanticism, the Celtic Revivals of Ireland and Scotland, Modernism, and beyond.
Dr. Richard Alan Barlow is an Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Academic Director of the Trieste Joyce School. He received his PhD from Queen’s University Belfast. His articles have appeared in journals such as Irish Studies Review, James Joyce Quarterly, Philosophy and Literature, and Scottish Literary Review. He has also been a contributor to The Irish Times and The Guardian. He is the author of The Celtic Unconscious: Joyce and Scottish Culture (Notre Dame University Press, 2017). Together with Paul Fagan, he is also editing a collection titled Finnegans Wake: Human and Nonhuman Histories, which is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press in 2024.
On Thursday, 18 May 2023 at 6:00pm, the James Joyce Centre hosted the book launch of James Joyce and the Irish Revolution: The Easter Rising as Modern Event by Luke Gibbons. The evening was introduced by Professor Emer Nolan of Maynooth University.
Published by The University of Chicago Press, James Joyce and the Irish Revolution is a provocative history of Ulysses and the Easter Rising as harbingers of decolonization.
When revolutionaries seized Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising, they looked back to unrequited pasts to point the way toward radical futures—transforming the Celtic Twilight into the electric light of modern Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses. For Luke Gibbons, the short-lived rebellion converted the Irish Renaissance into the beginning of a global decolonial movement.
James Joyce and the Irish Revolution maps connections between modernists and radicals, tracing not only Joyce’s projection of Ireland onto the world stage but also how revolutionary leaders like Ernie O’Malley turned to Ulysses to make sense of their shattered worlds.
Coinciding with the centenary of both Ulysses and Irish independence, this book challenges received narratives about the rebellion and the novel that left Ireland changed, changed utterly.
Luke Gibbons has taught as Professor of Irish Studies at Maynooth University and the University of Notre Dame and has published widely on Irish culture and criticism.
The first lecture in our Spring/Summer Lecture Series was FRAMED IN CORK: JAMES JOYCE’S CORK WITH Dr. FLICKA SMALL on 25 April 2023 at 6:30pm.
Joyce’s paternal grandparents, James Augustine Joyce and Ellen O’Connell, both natives of Cork City, married in Cork in 1847. Their son John Stanislaus was raised in Cork – on the boats in the harbour, in the streets with his university comrades, in the theatre and the music hall. In this talk, Dr. Flicka Small explored the many Cork connections within Joyce’s life and literature.
This year Flicka is bringing James Joyce back to his Rebel Roots for Bloomsday 2023. If you’re interested in more background about the family in Cork or would just like to hear about the exciting events and topics taking place in Cork on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th June, come along on Tuesday, April 25th at 6:30pm.
On April 13th, 2023 at 7pm, the JoyceStagers presented their work, Myles of Joyce, at the James Joyce Centre. Myles of Joyce is a highly entertaining performance based on the connections between James Joyce and the writings of Brian O’Nolan, aka, Flann O’Brien, aka., Myles na Gopaleen. This performance included ‘The Real Story of Ulysses‘, according to Flann O’Brien.
The JoyceStagers have been presenting adaptations from various episodes of Ulysses at locations in Dublin since 2010. These include an annual performance of ‘The Funeral of Paddy Dignam’ at Glasnevin cemetery on Bloomsday.
On Thursday, 30th of March, the James Joyce Centre hosted the launch of “Remembering Arthur Griffith”, the 6th edition of Cut and Paste, a miscellany celebrating the life and legacy of Arthur Griffith. Contributors include Felix Larkin, Brian Maye, Owen McGee, Michael Glenn Murphy, Mick O’Dea, Cormac O’Hanrahan, and Des Gunning.
Speakers at the event included historian Felix M. Larkin, TD Matt Shanahan, and Des Gunning.
The book is edited by Cormac O’Hanrahan with Des Gunning (Joyceborough) and printed by Printwell Books.
Copies can be ordered online at printwellbooks.com.
We were delighted to mark a new commission by composer Roger Doyle for Clonmel Junction Arts Festival 2023 as part of a joint launch with the composer on Tuesday, March 21st at 7pm in the James Joyce Centre.
Since 2021, Doyle has been working on music inspired by Joyce’s work. Finnegans Wake: Suite of Affections Vol. 2 was launched by playwright and novelist Sebastian Barry, with Vyvienne Long – one of the many top Irish actors participating on the album – performing an extract.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, the James Joyce Centre hosted ‘Reading Molly,’ a public reading of Molly Bloom’s famous soliloquy from Ulysses. This extraordinary final chapter, ‘Penelope’, brings out all the wit and passion of one of the finest passages of writing in modern literature.
From 11am to 1pm guests dropped into the Maginni Room to read ‘Penelope’. Tea and seedcake were served and some guests even sat on a bed set up in the middle of the room, one that resembled Molly’s.
On Come and See Me, I’m a Crossword Puzzle, we marked the 40th anniversary of Lucia Joyce’s December 1982 death on the eve of her Saint’s day in Northampton, England. In the Julian calendar, Saint Lucia’s Day coincided with the Winter Solstice. Join our Saint Lucia’s Day procession celebrating light and love in the dark heart of winter as, anchored by verbatim text, we highlighted Lucia’s overlooked creativity and artistic achievements, commemorating the annual Joyce family Saint Lucia’s Day ritual, in honour of our misunderstood artistic ancestor, Lucia Anna Joyce. Through dance, discussion, theatre, and exhibition, Deirdre Mulrooney has created a beautiful evening to celebrate Lucia Joyce with performances by dancer Lucia Kickham and actor Kathleen Warner Yeates.
The event was in part supported by an Arts Council Agility Award.
Thanks to Aoife Carey, Kathleen Warner Yeates, Darina Gallagher, Dr. Josh Q. Newman, James Moran, Philip Sicker, Fritz Senn, Alison Fraser of University at Buffalo Special Collections, Caitríona Yeats, National Library of Ireland, and Seán Sweeney.
The exhibition will run from December 13 2022 to February 2 2023. It features her artistic output, unquenchable spirit, and arduous life by displaying several of her drawings, letters, photos, and personal items, including illustrations for Work in Progress, Pomes Penyeach, and other work
The James Joyce Centre and the Georgian Embassy to Ireland was pleased to host Ulysses at 100: A Shared Celebration of James Joyce, Georgia and Ireland on November 10th, 2022. The event was attended by ambassadors accredited to Ireland, representatives of the Oireachtas and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Honorary Consulate of Georgia in Ireland, members of the Georgian-Ireland Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Senator Joe O’Reilly, and Senator Gerard Crockwell. Georgian Ambassador Giorgi Zurabashvili presented James Joyce’s works and studies, including a recent Georgian translation of Ulysses, to Director Darina Gallagher.
A fragment from the movie ballet Lucia’s Room, filmed by Prof. David Maziashvili and Mariam Alexidze about James Joyce’s daughter Lucia, was screened. Ivane Javakhishvili, Professor of the Western European Languages and Literature Institute of Western European Studies and Literature, addressed the audience from Georgia via Zoom, as did Maia Kiasashvili, the translator of several of Joyce’s work, Prof. David Maziashvili, and a young Georgian-in-Ireland Ambassador Karlo Kovzanadze.
The theme of this composite artistic event is concomitant and Dr. Caroline Elbay’s talk will address how, from the ‘bat-like soul’ of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to the ’little bats [who] don’t tell’ in Ulysses and the ‘bawk of bats’ in Finnegans Wake, Joyce’s alignment of the bat with female characters essentially debunks negative stereotypes, thus placing the bat in its rightful place as a symbol of the creative spirit and positioning women in an environment of growing self-empowerment and liberation in the modern world.
Dr. Caroline Elbay’s talk will take place on Monday, 24 October at 7pm.
The exhibition will run from 24 October to 7 November and will feature original art and film by Dr. Joyce Garvey that are inspired by the myriad references to bats across the Joycean oeuvre and also by Lucia Joyce’s illustrations.
As part of our Ulysses 100 programme of events, the James Joyce Centre and the Peruvian Embassy in Ireland will co-host a unique celebration of 100 years of two masterpieces of modern literature: Trilce by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo and Ulysses by James Joyce.
César Vallejo (1892-1938) was a Peruvian poet and writer considered one of the greatest exponents of literature in Peru and one of the most innovative in twentieth-century poetry. In 1922, he published his famous work Trilce, one of the most important works of the Latin American avant-garde. His poems revolutionized poetics in the Spanish language and conveyed many emotions as they addressed childhood, the absence of the mother, love, and prison, highlighting the importance of solidarity and empathy with the suffering of others.
After introductory remarks by the Peruvian Ambassador Ana María Sánchez Vargas De Ríos, Professor Jose Antonio Mazzotti of Tufts University and Professor Sam Slote of Trinity College Dublin will deliver lectures on the relationship between the two writers. We will then have a discussion moderated by Dr. Josh Quezada Newman of Trinity College Dublin.
José Antonio Mazzotti is Professor of Spanish Culture and Civilization & Professor of Latin American Literature, Department of Romance Studies, Tufts University. He is Director of Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana and President of the International Association of Peruvianists. Sam Slote is Professor of English at Trinity College Dublin. His most recent book, co-written with Marc Mamigonian and John Turner, is Annotations to James Joyce’s Ulysses (Oxford University Press, 2022). Josh Quezada Newman is an adjunct instructor of English at Trinity College Dublin and an assistant at the Centre.
The James Joyce Centre was delighted to host Associate Professor Joshua Kotin of Princeton University to discuss his work as director of The Shakespeare and Company Project.
In 1919, an American woman named Sylvia Beach opened an English-language bookshop and lending library in Paris. She called it Shakespeare and Company and it quickly became the meeting place for a community of writers and artists now known as the lost generation. In 1922, Beach published James Joyce’s Ulysses under the Shakespeare and Company imprint, a feat that made her and her bookshop and lending library famous around the world.
The Shakespeare and Company Project is a digital humanities initiative at Princeton that uses Beach’s archives to tell new stories about the lost generation. Founded in 2020, the Project details what members of the bookshop and lending library community read and where they lived. The Project also addresses questions about literary history, offering new insights about Joyce’s readership and the development of modernism.
Prof. Kotin outlined how the Shakespeare and Company Project was made: how archives became data, and how data can illuminate new ways of understanding canonical literature. He also discussed the Project’s many challenges and future goals.
The event was hosted in association with University College Dublin.
On Culture Night, 23 September 2022, the James Joyce Centre hosted a number of events and exhibitions dedicated to Joyce’s professional and personal relationships with women: the publishers, patrons, typists, and many others who were instrumental in Joyce’s life as an artist.
Ulysses and the Women Behind the Scenes was a conversation about the women that have inspired and supported the life and work of James Joyce. We were delighted to welcome Harriet Cole (née Weaver), whose grandaunt, Harriet Shaw Weaver, was one of the most important and influential women in Joyce’s career. She was in conversation with special guests Clare Hutton, curator of the exhibition Women and the Making of Ulysses at the Ransom Center in Austin, Texas, Caitríona Ní Threasaigh, an actress who has been performing Molly for almost a decade, and Lucy Brennan-Shiel, a multimedia artist who has made a documentary and a new album with a dedication to Weaver. Some of the items from the Women and the Making of Ulysses exhibition, including an original Shakespeare & Co. copy of Ulysses, were on display.
In addition, actress Caitríona Ní Threasaigh performed a riveting extract of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from Ulysses. Molly’s soliloquy, the extraordinary final chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses, remains after 100 years one of the finest passages of writing in modern literature. Joyce documents a woman’s thoughts in an uncensored stream of consciousness interwoven with memories and fantasies. Regarded as scandalous and brilliant in its intimacy, the soliloquy is captivating and enthralling. Caitríona’s performance was a favourite of the night.
To celebrate 100 years of Ulysses, this year’s Bloomsday Festival will fill Dublin City with all the joy, fun and creativity of James Joyce’s epic novel. With over 100 different events to be encountered, spread over a whole week of entertainment, the festival focus will be on celebrating the city, its theatres, art, parks, beaches, music, waterways, streets, squares, pubs and people.
Sample the real places and spaces of Ulysses with a swim in the Forty Foot and visit to the James Joyce Tower in Sandycove, fill your senses with lemon soap and lots more at besides at Sweny’s Chemist. Take the new ‘Paddy Dignam’ tour and Joyce Exhibition at Glasnevin Cemetery, listen to the bell ringers of Taney Road Church ring the bells that set Leopold Bloom off on his wanderings ‘ Heigh Ho Heigh ho’.
Walk into eternity on Sandymount Strand with national treasure Eanna Ni Lamhna. Sample the gastronomic delights of Davy Byrnes pub where a stage will be set up for two days of street performances, enjoy the splendor of the reading room of the National Library with a special evening opening on Bloomsday or why not simply feed a seagull on O’ Connell Bridge.
Highlights of this years festival are certainly the exciting range of theatrical and musical performances, including the exceptional Corn Exchange’s Dubliners in Smock Alley and enchanting evening concert of Chamber Music at the Hugh Lane Gallery. Not to be missed for Ulysses 100 is Barry McGovern reading the entire Ulysses on the Abbey Theatre’s Peacock stage.
The Bloomsday Film Festival will be live throughout the city in the IFI, Sugar Club and James Joyce Centre. Joycean and literary themed short and feature films will bring us on an incredible cinematic odyssey.
Visit the glorious MOLI Bloomsday Programme at the Museum of Literature Ireland, where Joyce attended college before setting off on his European adventures. Take a Ulysses themed walk along the Royal Canal or follow in Father Conmee’s footsteps. Enjoy a feast of Ulysses and Joyce art exhibitions at the National Gallery, James Joyce Centre, Oliver Cornet Gallery, Smock Alley and the Graphic Studio.
For younger audiences a special reading of the Cat and The Devil, Joyce’s children’s story written for his grandson Stephen wil take place at the James Joyce Centre, while the Chester Beatty will once again run their Joyce inspired online workshop.
On Bloomsday itself, immerse yourself in a glorious afternoon of Ulysses Readings and Songs in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, as comedians, actors, writers and musicians guide you through the novel.
Once again, we will bring Bloomsday and all its fun back to the heart of the Hibernian Metropolis. www.bloomsdayfestival.ie
On Thursday 21st April the James Joyce Centre hosted Weaver of the Wind – a conversation to unweave Harriet Shaw Weaver’s unique and complex role within the legacy of Ulysses.
This online webinar was presented by the people behind 4 diverse Ulysses centenary projects; “Weaver of the Wind” a short film by Lucy Brennan Shiel, The Ulysses 100 Project E-book produced by Susan Leybourne and Marion Byrne, the online premiere of “In token of gratitude” a short documentary with Harriet Shaw Weaver’s great-niece Harriet Cole ( nee Weaver) and “Women and the Making of Ulysses” in Austin, Texas curated by Clare Hutton.
James Joyce dedicated the No 1 hand-printed First Edition copy of Ulysses to Harriet Shaw Weaver with the inscription ‘In token of gratitude’ and significantly referenced her within Ulysses as “Weaver of the Wind.” Both quotes highlight her importance in the life and work of James Joyce. In our diverse ways, we are giving voice to her quiet modesty and exploring her crucial underpinning and understanding of his genius.
On the Road with Penguin Classics is a podcast that takes a stroll around the world’s favourite books. In each episode author and editor Henry Eliot travels to a different literary location to explore a brilliant book in the company of a remarkable reader. Professor Anne Fogarty joins Henry in Dublin to recreate a day in the life of Leopold Bloom. They visit the Martello Tower where the novel opens, Eccles Street, Davy Byrnes and the National Library. and they meet Darina Gallagher, director of the James Joyce Centre.
The James Joyce Centre went on tour to Duke Street for a fantastic birthday bash on Feb 2nd 2022. Guests gathered at Davy Byrnes pub for a performance of ‘Lunchtime with Bloom’, an adaptation of Chapter 8 of Ulysses by James Joyce. It was performed by the JoyceStagers in a new adaptation by Val O Donnell, it was staged in the iconic setting of Davy Byrnes Pub, now boasting a first edition of Ulysses on view to the public in ‘Molly’s Room’.
An Post has unveiled two new stamps to celebrate the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s celebrated book Ulysses.
The Ulysses 100 stamps from An Post were designed by Amsterdam-based Irish designers, The Stone Twins. The stamp design is intentionally unorthodox, challenging, and unexpected, as well as modernist – exactly what you would expect from Ulysses.
Inspired by James Joyce’s use of the ‘Gilbert Schema’ within Ulysses, the two-stamp design consists of a total of 18 sections, which signify the number of chapters in the book. The stamp design overlays the colours and structure defined in Joyce’s ‘Gilbert Schema’, with photographs captured by renowned photographer JJ Clarke, a doctor from Castleblayney in Co. Monaghan who took vivid images of daily life in Dublin when he was a medical student there between 1897 and 1904. As Ulysses is particularly famous for challenging the conventions of language, the inverted type used in the stamp design was chosen to reflect Joyce’s experimental use of language.
The Ulysses 100 stamps and a special First Day Cover commemorative envelope are available at selected post offices nationwide and online at www.anpost.com/shop
An Post CEO, David McRedmond said: “The claims for Ulysses as the greatest novel of the 20th Century, and the first great modern novel, remain vibrant. Its 100th anniversary shows something else: that Ulysses is as relevant now as a work of art as when it was written. These stamps reflect the unique mix of modernism and classicism that define the novel.” Internationally renowned Joycean expert, Senator David Norris said: “Frozen in time the images on these stamps illustrate remarkably the period of James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1904. It is tempting to think that in the world of fiction these stamps might have adorned Bloom’s letter to Martha Clifford. I congratulate An Post on their production to mark the centenary of the publication of Ulysses.”
Tell me about Ulysses? Stephen, the 22-year-old protagonist who previously featured in Joyce’s earlier novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, begins his day at the Martello Tower in Sandycove, while 38-year-old Leopold Bloom, a Jewish husband, father, and advertising executive starts his day of wandering from his home at 7 Eccles Street in North Dublin.
Set over 19 hours, Ulysses chronicles the encounters and interactions of the pair as they go about their day-to-day life. The narrative features streams of consciousness and inner-monologues from the characters, allowing readers complete access to their unfiltered thoughts on the places and people they encounter. It also features their views on the present, memories of the past, and concerns about the future.
Ulysses was first serialised in 18 separate parts in the American journal ‘The Little Review’ from March 1918 to December 1920 and then published in its entirety in Paris by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, Joyce’s 40th birthday. Beach, an American-born bookseller, and publisher, founded a bookshop and lending library in Paris called Shakespeare and Company in 1919. The shop specialised in books published in Great Britain and the United States and was a hub for expatriate writers to immerse themselves in the literary life of Paris.
What is the ‘Gilbert Schema’? Inspired by James Joyce’s use of the ‘Gilbert Schema’ within Ulysses, the stamp design consists of 18 sections which signify the number of chapters in the book. Recognising that readers needed support in grasping the nuanced allusions and intricate structures of the novel, the ‘Gilbert Schema’ was an 18-part episodic table produced by Joyce to help readers understand the enormous complexity of Ulysses.
The Ulysses100 digital platform has been developed by the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), in partnership with the Government of Ireland, to promote and collect information on events relating to the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Many events, exhibitions and artistic commissions are planned for this year across the globe, and our hope is this website will allow visitors to easily access information about – and participate in – these events. The site is updated weekly, and will promote events through social media using the hashtag #Ulysses100.
If you have an event, exhibition or any activity (no matter how large or small) relating to the Ulysses centenary, you can upload information, images, audio and video to the site. From major exhibitions to small meet-ups, we would love to know – and let the world know – what you are planning. Just click here to make a submission.
Ulysses100 is also a collecting mechanism to record the centenary activities for future study and research – the site will remain active online throughout 2022 and 2023, at which point its content will be accessible in perpetuity through the museum’s digital archive at moli.ie. We hope to further populate the site after the centenary with further material relating to centenary events and happenings, where possible.
Developed with the support of the Government of Ireland, University College Dublin, the National Library of Ireland and Ebow.
Read Ulysses by James Joyce in 2022! Join our global readership (and guest speakers) for an online odyssey from the James Joyce Centre this Spring where the 10th edition of ‘Ulysses for All’, led by Dubliner and Joycean, Dr. Caroline Elbay will celebrate the centenary of Joyce’s great Dublin epic. A carnival of language (and linguistic styles) and a celebration of existence, Ulysses deals with (but is not limited to) sex, alcohol, adultery, identity (in all its forms), life, death, religion, and guilt.
The course is a live zoom session for 18 weeks on Wednesday evenings from 6pm – 8pm. Start Date: 2/2/2022 End Date: 8/6/2022 Fee: €140
To critics who found the book unreadable and/or obscene, Joyce simply replied “If Ulysses isn’t fit to be read, then life isn’t fit to be lived”.
This year’s course will celebrate the Book of Bloom: Joyce’s Wandering Womanly Jew “My beloved subjects, a new era is about to dawn…ye shall ere long enter into the golden city…the new Bloomusalem in the Nova Hibernia of the future” (U15: 1542-44)
When Jacques Mercanton posed the question to James Joyce regarding the placing of Bloom as the central figure in Ulysses, the response emphasised not only Bloom’s ‘Jewishness’ but also his ‘foreigness’: “Bloom Jewish? Yes, because only a foreigner would do”. The Jews were ‘foreigners’ in Dublin at that time. There was no hostility towards them but contempt, yes, the contempt people always show for the unknown (Nadel). This is one of many aspects that make Ulyssesperhaps even more relevant today than when it was originally written. In an increasingly globalised world where migration, trans-nationalism, and the emergence of nation states (and nationalism) are an everyday reality, any investigation of the character, Bloom, is ultimately an investigation of both individual and social identity (along with all its attendant concerns and prejudices) in a world where ‘foreigness’ has become an intimate and everyday reality.
***Places are limited, so early booking is advised***
Painting Ulysses is an exhibition based on the 18 episodes of James Joyce’s novel. The works, painted by Aidan Hickey to mark the 100th Anniversary of Ulysses’ publication, will hang in the James Joyce Centre, North Great George’s Street, Dublin, from February to June, 2022.
Since each of Joyce’s episodes was written in a different literary style, Hickey designed each painting in a different visual style. This exhibition responds to both the text of Ulysses and an eclectic exploration of European Art History.
Aidan Hickey studied at the National College of Art and spent most of his career drawing and writing animated films for Children’s TV. Always keen to tell visual stories, he worked in a Narrative style and searched for a suitable subject. And, about six years ago he found it, in Ulysses. Today, looking at the finished paintings, he says,
“Pictures can convey a lot of the spirit of a written episode, but very little of its true significance. That said, even if my paintings only hint at the novel’s wealth of comedy and complexity, they might, for a new audience, become a silent “Open Sesame” to Joyce’s treasure trove.”