Fresh Perspectives on Irish Literature
Edited By Paddy Lyons and Alison O'Malley-Younger
These shifts in culture have given Irish literature the opportunity to look afresh at its own past and, thereby, new perspectives have also opened for Irish Studies. The contributors to this volume explore these new openings; the essays examine writings from both now and the past in the new frames afforded by new times.
Barry Lewis Joyce’s City of Remembering 157
Joyce’s City of Remembering Barry Lewis The daughters of memory, whom William Blake chased from his door, received regular employment from Joyce, although he speaks of them disrespectfully … He was never a creator ex nihilo; he recomposed what he remembered, and he remembered most of what he had seen or had heard other people remember — Richard Ellmann I When James Joyce was in Trieste in the early years of the last century, he often entertained friends and visitors from Dublin. On these occa- sions he loved to test his powers of recall. He would ask about local Irish characters or list all the shops in O’Connell Street. As Ellmann notes, Joyce took great pride in remembering things accurately: ‘When a shop had changed hands he was a little disgruntled, as if a picture had been removed from his museum’ (Ellmann, 1982: 579). Dublin was seemingly preserved in Joyce’s mind in a static visual form. This leads directly to my theme, which is concerned with con- sidering the Dublin of Ulysses as if it were a memory theatre. Famously, Joyce once remarked to Frank Budgen that if Dublin were to disappear, it could be rebuilt (at least in its 1904 incarnation) from his description of it in the novel. The various schemas that Joyce distributed amongst his friends as tools for understanding his epic novel can be seen as memory aids towards a possible reconstruction and the text is illuminated by an understanding of memory systems. The schemas are, I will...
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