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.


Getting ready for BloomsDay?

Looking to get your Joyce fix before Bloomsday? Hoping you can slip a bit more easily in to the deep waters of modernist literature and, maybe, get a few really good bellylaughs along the way? Well, Tom Stoppard and some of the very talented folk at Plays&Players here in Philadelphia have got you covered. And, believe me, this will get you ready, happily, joyfully ready for all the lifeaffirming comedy Joyce’s work can bring.

Plays&Players is presenting Tom Stoppard’s TRAVESTIES, a fantastical romp through the art culture of Zurich during World War One when Joyce, Vladmir Lenin and DaDa poet Tristan Tzara may, or may not,  have met. In typical Stoppard fashion it gives you a wild, frenetical glimpse at how art, literature and politics all intersect. Sure, you may leave the theatre wishing you read more, but that’s just typical Stoppard as well. Don’t worry. No one is going to check your library card when you come in, but I guarantee  you’ll be looking to use it a lot more once you leave.

But, to make things a bit easier still, Plays&Players has schedule some great supplementary and educational “talkbacks” with the cast and some guest speakers after some of the performances:


“Talking Stoppard and Joyce”

Join us for a pre-show happy hour at our Quig’s Pub, from 6:30-7:30pm on Friday, June 8 for an informal conversation about the work of Tom Stoppard and James Joyce with Professor Janine Utell of Widener University, author of James Joyce and the Revolt of Love: Marriage, Adultery, Desire.  Read more. (many of you will know Janine from her  fantastic Readers’ Guide to the “Calypso” chapter on this website.)

“Meet-the-cast talkback with a guest star!”
The cast and creative team of Travesties join Professor Joseph J. Feeney for a talkback immediately following the show, to talk about the work of James Joyce, Tom Stoppard, and to answer questions about the production. Read more.
“Bloomers on the Limmat”
Join us for a pre-show happy hour at our Quig’s Pub, from 6:30pm-7:30pm on Friday, June 15, with Professor Jean-Michel Rabaté of the University of Pennsylvania, as he discusses the reality behind the imagination of Tom Stoppard in Travesties, transporting us to 1917 as privileged witnesses to the radically modern, a time when Vladimir Lenin, James Joyce, and Tristan Tzara were busy changing the world of art and politics. Read more.

“Meet-the-cast talkback with a guest star!”
The cast and creative team of Travesties join Professor Elizabeth Mannion of Temple University for a talkback immediately following the show, to talk about the work of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and to answer questions about the production. Read more.
As you may’ve guessed by now, I did the poster for this production you see above and most of the drawings used on stage. This means I’ve had a chance to see the rehearsals of this really difficult play and can tell you that I’m really excited by what thew cast and director Candace Cihocki are doing. Can’t suggest it highly enough and, well, I’m a bit of a tough audience for Joyce-related theatre by now!
Hope you’ll join us for this glimpse into the modern age and the wartime lightheartedness that only real men of genius are granted the time for. Heavy politics and art? Maybe. But the deeper question is, “what has any of that got to do with life and love and memory?”
Hope to see you there,

We’re making April less cruel

We hope that as fans of Ulysses “Seen”, and presumably Ulysses, you share our love of modernist literature at large. We also hope you share our sense of humor, our desire to hack through the thornier patches of this stuff, and our wish that more people read it so that we could talk more about it and demonstrate how bloody clever we are.

Soooo, if you haven’t heard, we launched a Throwaway Horse take on T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, called Martin Rowson’s The Waste Land Seen. We took acclaimed political cartoonist Martin Rowson’s take on The Waste Land, added our Reader’s Guide to it, and launched it as another iPad app. A set of five sample pages can be found here.  We’ve been selling the app for $9.99, but for the month of April only we are reducing the price to $7.99. Please consider purchasing this app and recommending to your friends. It would make our April slightly less cruel.


To read sample pages: http://throwawayhorse.com/home/projects/wasteland-seen/sample-pages/

To download the app: http://itunes.apple.com/app/martin-rowsons-the-waste-land/id438535843?mt=8

Happy Birthday Old Artificer!

Today, February 2, 2012, is the 130th anniversary of Joyce’s birth, and the 90th anniversary of the publication of *Ulysses.*  Steve King’s account of the holy day in Joyce’s life gets the point across: it was very important that the book be delivered to him on this day, and his friends made sure that it was.  While Joyce suffered at the hands of those who were afraid to publish his work, he also benefited greatly from the generosity of his friends — Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier – the couple who published it; Harriet Shaw Weaver, who supported him financially and emotionally; Valery Larbaud, who was one of the books first and best critics… not to mention Frank Budgen, or Joyce’s brother Stanislaus, or his Aunt Josephine.  It’s a good day to give thanks for all the people around Joyce who made his creation of the book possible – and in that list we would have to give his wife Nora the highest place.

We have great things in store for you in this coming year — the great year of the public domain.  Currently we’re working on the “floor plans” of “Nestor” and “Lotus Eaters” – two episodes that take place at the same time on June 16, 1904, so we’re having fun creating them at the same time as well.  Many great coincidences and opportunities for interweaving of details.  In the final months of writing *Ulysses* – the summer and fall of 1921, Joyce would work on several chapters at the same time — editing page proofs for early chapters as he was still drafting the final ones.  (Add to the list of those who suffered that we might read the name of the printer, Maurice Darantiere, who set and reset and reset again the pages of the novel [in letterpress, no less] as Joyce made his thousands of changes to the text).
Stay tuned, friends, and take a short dip into the book today. As with any great work, a lot of people made it happen, not all of whom are found on the cover!
Photo: Courtesy of Wim and Chrissie van Mierlo

More Public Domain News – What’s This About Letters?

Mark O’Connell has a very interesting piece in the New Yorker’s “The Book Bench” about the new public domain status of much of James Joyce’s work. A lot of people have been waiting many years for this day, but the piece makes the important point that the Joyce Estate is not out of the picture entirely. The most widely used edition of Ulysses (up until now, anyway), the Gabler Edition, is still protected by copyright. Finnegans Wake is still protected in the United States. And then there are the works like Stephen Hero that were published after his death, and then there are the letters, published and unpublished. Sean Latham, the editor of the James Joyce Quarterly, has some tantalizing things to say about editions of heretofore-unpublished letters that are in the works! We will stay tuned.

If you want an exhaustive, if somewhat headache-inducing, guide to Joyce works and copyright, check out this FAQ from the International James Joyce Foundation. Short Version: There is no short version. But if you read the section on unpublished works, you can see where there’s a surprising bit of daylight that may explain why there are editions of unpublished letters in the works.

Bloomsday Watch; Zagreb

As some of you may’ve seen on twitter last week, Josh and I made this “Joyce as Humphrey Bogart” image for Bloomsday in Zagreb. Janine did a little interview with event organizer Igor Jurilj about the goings-on;

Janine Utell: Tell us the story of how Bloomsday Zagreb came to be: how did you start getting the event off the ground?

Igor Jurilj: I came up with the idea on New Years Eve when I decided to stay home and re-read Ulysses because of the imminent Joyce conference talk (I know I’m a dork). The initial intention was just to reintroduce Joyce to Croatia in the manner that we would experience Joyce beyond the cold statue of his in Pula where he had lived in 1904. Therefore, I decided to engage the citizens of Zagreb (where I study) into the celebrations of Bloomsday and at that point I knew that the best way of doing it would be to either recreate or organize a reading session of the Wandering Rocks episode from Ulysses. I believe this decision does not require much explaining. That was the foundation for the idea that would soon be developed in Rome, at Fiddler’s Elbow pub in the conversation with Professor John McCourt to whom I presented the initial idea.

JU: How did YOU come to Joyce, Igor? What’s been your experience reading Ulysses, and how were you inspired to make Bloomsday Zagreb happen?

IJ: I had been introduced to Joyce a while ago, probably on my second year of study (it was with Portrait), but I read Ulysses  for the first time as late as 2009 as it was the most important novel of the course on Irish modernism and, after years of postponing the process, I finally read it and instantly, what a cliché, fell in love with it because it held my attention as the most challenging piece of writing to date. However, I had been familiar with Bloomsday at that moment, as my mentor, Professor Gjurgjan had organized the celebration in the previous years.

JU: What are some of the special challenges and opportunities presented by doing a Bloomsday in a non-English speaking country? What’s been the response so far?

IJ: The biggest challenge by far is to introduce Joyce and Ulysses to the people who have never read it and know hardly anything about it, but what is absolutely interesting is the level of curiosity among them because we tried to take a different approach – extract one layer and dimension of it and focus on it. That dimension are the cinematic aspects of Ulysses (my primary interest), so the response was excellent – friends, other students, and other citizens asked if they could participate in the activities, primarily the reading sessions.

JU: What events do you have planned?

IJ: The plan was to start at noon at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, so that everybody – participants and guests – could get their beauty sleep and be in full throttle for the full day activities. We are starting with the screening of 18 short experimental films inspired by Ulysses and Mulligan’s words in the opening part of Telemachus  (see the pun in number?) by Ivan Ladislav Galeta. At 3PM we will proceed to the Main square where a corridor with a dome connects the square and the main street of the capital with the next square. So, in the middle of the corridor (called the Octagon), below the dome, our reading group (dressed in our „Bloomsday“ outfits) will read the Wandering Rocks episode. We decided for that location because it is always crowded at that (busiest) time of the day, but also because of its acoustic quality. We are planning to wrap up the session with a little linguistic experiment, which is a secret/surprise, but you will get the chance to see the video of it, hopefully.
In the late afternoon, we will go back to the Faculty where Professor John McCort will give a talk on Joyce and Cinema, wheres Dr Aidan O’Malley will show us which interesting theoretical things are hidden behind the title “Viewing the Spectre of Stephen Dedalus through a Cracked Looking-Glass”. I must say I am very excited about both because Professor McCourt will be talking about my favorite Joyce-related topic, and I know for a fact that Professor O’Malley will make his talk rather dynamic, as he always does. Finally, the participants and our friends will rally at 22,000 Miles where we will conclude the celebrations with a reading session of Cyclops that is going to be actually performed by our famous actor and Joyce fan – Sven Medvešek. As for the remainder of the night, I would rather not talk about it as I am not planning anything and do not consider myself responsible for that part 😀

JU: Is there a Croatian translation of Ulysses? Is it widely read?

IJ: There are, in fact, two translations. One by Zlatko Gorjan from 1957, which is an interesting, but not necessarily the best translation. That version could be purchased at newspaper stands with our leading daily newspaper some time ago, so, relatively speaking, it was widely read due to its price. However, the second translation by our eminent writer, linguist and scholar, Luko Paljetak, is a praiseworthy translation which I consider remarkable due to its nuances that actually achieve the same semantic and syntactic quality in Croatian as the one from in the original.

JU: How will you know if Bloomsday Zagreb is successful?

IJ: The answer is pretty simple – if our friends’ friends show up and random citizens decide to stick around for a few minutes to observe what we have prepared. Anything more is beyond my expectations.

-Thanks, Igor, and happy Bloomsday!


Ulysses in Five Minutes!

Originally attempted as part of the Rosenbach’s “Bloomsday 101”  Program, here’s everything you need to know about Ulysses given in exactly five minutes.  This was actually filmed in a dark cave below the streets of Dublin, secret bunker and received no sponsorship from Guinness. At least not yet.



…and don’t worry. I did end up drinking that pint.