The mystery of the Hamlet Hat is solved!

hamlethat1 As I mentioned, this thread is really intended as a kind of “help the artist do it right” part of our site. There’s many difficult riddles and historical content within the novel of course, and it would take a lifetime for me to research these things alone leaving very little time to draw. So, as web designers are fond of saying, this is the interactive part.

While the “Telemachus” chapter has been fully story-boarded, I’ve left details that need to be resolved soon if I’m going to continue, quite a lot of them having to do with costuming. Again, I’m a painter and cartoonist with no real background in something as specific as costume design, but a great deal of respect for historical accuracy.

One major stumbling block was the shape and cut of Stephen’s “Hamlet hat” which figures so prominently throughout the day. I knew it was a beret of some sort, but modern berets are smaller, less floppy, and don’t present the sometimes pointed mitre that Stephen’s hat needs to really work.

So, problem solved, thanks to Aida Yared  over at Joyce Images. (this is, by the way, my favorite, most inspirational and most commonly used Joyce site. For a visual understanding of the world ULYSSES works in this is as seminal a text as Gifford’s)

I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking with Aida at the North American James Joyce Conference last week and she reminded me of this picture of Wilson Barrett, a popular Shakespearean actor of the time, seen here in “the definitive hat”.  Woot! Woot! Things like this make the crazy idea of illustrating ULYSSES seem possible and, i should stress, only possible through the active involvement of people who know and love the book enough to want to see it done correctly. Thanks, Aida!

(by the way, you can expect to see a lot more links to Aida’s site here and on our Tweeters’ Guide. Her site is such an invaluable source to me that I can’t link it enough!)

So the Hamlet hat is solved, but there are still some other puzzling mysteries for me to deal with before I can finish “Telemachus” properly;

-Stephen’s clothes for the day, with particular attention to the necktie (“Aeolus”)?

-Did Joyce have an ashplant he was fond of that I should use as Stephen’s?

-Who is Mulligan gossiping with at the 40ft Hole?

-What would the path from the tower to the 40ft Hole have looked like in 1904?

C’mon, Joyceans, help an artist out.


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