Ulysses “Seen” Original Art at The James Joyce Centre

Dublin, Ireland — 23 Jul. 2012


The James Joyce Centre is delighted to present an exhibition of original drawings by illustrator Rob Berry from the ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ project, an adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses. The work will be on display at the Centre until Thursday 20th December 2012.

This exhibition is made possible through the continued support of the James Joyce Centre by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and marks the beginning of an important transatlantic collaboration between the team behind ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ and the Centre.

‘Ulysses “Seen”’ is a web based comic adaptation of Joyce’s masterpiece, developed with the aim of reinvigorating an appreciation for a work which has established a reputation for inaccessibility. The project offers itself as a unique companion piece to the novel, transposing the subtlety and humour of the book into a comic narrative form which will be familiar to 21st Century readers. The result is what the Huffington Post has called a “breathtaking adaptation”.

Mark Traynor, manager of the Centre, says: “The Centre has long admired ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ and this is precisely the sort of work that we want to show to the public. Without dumbing down the novel, Rob Berry’s drawings cut through the academic gobbledygook that turns off so many readers and refocuses on what makes the book great: its playfulness, humanity, and extraordinary ordinariness.”

“By the same token,” he says, “it also appeals to the sort of reader Joyce would have loved: someone willing to embrace new forms, someone comfortable with popular culture, and above all someone with a sense of humour and imagination.”

See www.jamesjoyce.ie for further details.

For additional information, pictures or interviews please contact Mark Traynor at (00353)-1-8788547 or mark@jamesjoyce.ie.

It is true. I’m finally going to Dublin.

True, there hasn’t been much info about it here. In fact the blog seems rather, well, quiet for the week before Bloomsday, doesn’t it? I mean there must be new pages coming out soon, right? There must be new events from Bloomsday the world over that you, as subscribers, are interested in hearing about, aren’t there? And what about a print version of the comic? Or some more t-shirts or pint glasses?

Yes, all of that’s true and in the works as well. We’ve been really busy on putting together those pages and keeping on top of new developments. But this Dublin trip, long over due, came as something of a surprise and we’ve been too busy getting ready for it to bring any of you up to speed. My apologies. But don’t worry we’ll have plenty to talk about all week long, I promise.

For those of you who will be in Dublin this this Bloomsday, c’mon down to The Bailey (original home for Bloomsday, by the way) and say hello. Mark Traynor, our friend at the James Joyce Centre, has been welcoming me to the town and helped make all the arrangements for this informal exhibit with the good folks at The Bailey. We’ll have original art from the comic as well as posters to sell, but I’ll also be using it as a sort of beachhead for my forays into Dublin. I’ve got a lot to see if I’m going to do this comic rightly, so I’m happy to meet any Joycefans who want to bend my ear and send my feet and eyes of in the right direction of reference material. Or just share a pint.


Dressing the younger Dedalus…

dedalus1 Well, it seems my earlier questions about costuming have met some immediate twitter attention (man, I love me some twitter). Fantastic!

So here’s my first rough sketch of Stephen from my thumbnails of the comic. I don’t know of a way to add a colorforms-dress-up plug-in to the site (though that would be great fun…), so we’ll use this as fodder for discussion on “dressing the younger Dedalus”.

Plenty of things to ask here, hence the second post, from his boots (which are borrowed from Mulligan) to his Hamlet hat (which we’ve recently settled, thank you).

Here’s the quiz, folks; “what is this guy wearing and what should he look like?” Extra credit for the numerous things in his pocket (other than the handkerchief which I’ve already shown him losing).

I’m not much for contests, I think they’re silly crap in fact, but good answers here, at this particular juncture, could prove really helpful to me. Give me some insights on Stephen and win yourself a sketch. Hell, some of what you might say could easily put my earlier work out of context. That’s a collectors’ item of sorts, right?

Seriously. Help me out here and, remember, there’s like 200 more characters to go in the novel. Still, there’s something to be said for figuring out this guy…


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)

Continue reading

Oliver St John Gogarty (1878-1957)

gogarty1 The unfortunate but now-consequently-famous friend of James Joyce who stood as the model for Buck Mulligan is Irish physician and bawdry-poet Oliver St John Gogarty.

Gogarty was much respected by Dublin literary society in later years and the rift between him and Joyce is a fairly unsolvable knot of which man might, in the final analysis, prove to be the greater ego. Particularly interesting in this judgement is Joyce biographer Richard Ellman’s assertion that Gogarty was the man who got Joyce drinking and, as Simon Dedalus might say, “tickled his catastrophe.”

Bloomsday Events ’09


Press release are flying around the internet as people gear up for Bloomsday events across the globe. Got some events of your own planned for June 16th? Drop in a link on the comments section or contact us and we’ll get it up here for people to see.

Here’s a few to get it started;

In Sydney, Australia? How about this?

New York City? This is always a great event.

And, of course, our own hometown event here in Philadelphia.

We’ll be in Buffalo, New York for the North American James Joyce Conference this year, and you can find out abut that city’s annual Bloomsday event here.

We’ll be posting more of them here on this page (and, yes, I realize Dublin itself isn’t in there yet), but that’s a good start. Got anymore in your own hometown to talk about? Love to hear about them.

What’s Where and, Well, Why Exactly?

The exactitude of Joyce’s language in the novel is backed up by a clear vision of Dublin and it’s people he has on that particular day in 1904. While I hope to bring some of that accuracy to this project frankly, I could use some help.

Do you have any idea about what the room looks like in Martello tower? What kind of tea service or frying pans the boys might have had? well, I’d be happy for any links.

Same is true of clothing and street scenes in Dublin from this period. One of the hallmarks of making a good period piece in film is authenticity, but in film there’s scores of people doing that research for you. My training is in painting, not costume design, so I’d be happy for any experienced help I can get.

Links are appreciated.

Read it in the Thom’s

Pretty much all of the work on ULYSSES was done while Joyce was living as an expatriate Irishman. Interestingly, quite a lot of that time was spent recording a day in Dublin, his home, from the position of a poet living dangerously close to the tensions of Europe at war. Joyce was able to draw upon his fantastic and detailed memory of the home he loved, but also upon a copy of the “Thom’s Official Directory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” for street listing, business and people. The Thom’s was an almanac of the day. Many of the people and places in Joyce’s novel were real or fictionalized from the real. I figure this might be a good thread to link in photos or period illustrations of some of the real people, actual locations and  historical settings mentioned and appearing in the novel.

This is going to cover a lot of territory and probably some debate. Leave any reviews, suggestions, critics or links in the “comment” section below and, as discussion grows, we’ll move them up as posts in this section. Or, if you’ve got an idea for a review on this theme that you’d like posted here on the site, drop us a line.