These seventy-eight photographs of James Joyces Dublin and its vicinity illustrate his works. Of these pictures, the first six are scenes from Dubliners; the eleven that follow are scenes from A Portrait of the Artist and Stephen Hero; and the rest are scenes from Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Since Joyces works are connected with one another, however, and since Dublin is the place of all, a good many of these pictures do double duty. Some are trivial. The Magazine in Phoenix Park, one of the centers of Finnegans Wake, is also the place where James Duffy of Dubliners sees himself at last. The Pigeon House, important in Dubliners, reappears in Ulysses. One lucky shot of Dame Street is trivial in both senses of the word: a view of the commonplace at its most commonplace, it combines significant elements of Dubliners, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake. (My work, said Joyce, is less trivial than quadrivial.)
However trivial, pictures of such parts are partial in at least two senses of the word; for though a cameras eye may see the sights, they are but part of the vision. Joyce improved these sights by insight. The pictures here are of Dublins offerings to his imagination; and since our eye is directed by his, we see more in these pictures than camera saw. Joyces Dublin is in his books and in our minds.
When Stephen Dedalus finds Ireland important because it belongs to him (Ulysses, p.629), Mr. Bloom is puzzled. We should not be puzzled had Joyce found Dublin important because it belongs to him. Dublin is important now, for us, because, belonging to Joyce, it is what he made of it. He guides our sentimental journeys to his city. No substitute for an actual visit, these pictures may help those who have not gone visiting or cannot go. Pictures in one hand, Ulysses or one of the other works in the other, we may approach a vision established in place. A map is also useful.
The Gracehoper was hoppy on akkant of his joyicity (Finnegans Wake, p.414). Joyous, but not altogether joyous, Kantian Joyce no more phenomenal than noumenal - looked at joyicity with mixed feelings. His obsession, it delighted and dismayed him. The center of paralysis and living death, his city was also the home of the Phoenix; and by the stunted houses of the quays his dirty, sacred river ran - still runs for us. Fumbally Lane may be a dismal slum, smellier than most, and Grafton Street an elegant thoroughfare, but Joyces love and bitterness embraced them both with equal intensity. No part of Dublin - no Dubliner - was alien to him. The Joyce Country may be a district of Connemara, from which all Joyces come; but for us Dublin is that country now.
Devoted to externals, Joyce walked the streets of Dublin, noting shop, pub, church, and brothel, and every plasterers bucket. So This Is Dyoublong? (Finnegans Wake, p.13.) He prided himself in exile on his ability to list the shops of Talbot Street in order, down one side to Mabbot and back along the other. His devotion to such details, whether ugly or beautiful, seems all but naturalistic. So Zola must have walked the streets of Paris, notebook in hand, noting stinks and solider objects. References to Coupeau of LAssommoir and to Au Bonheur des Dames (Critical Writings, pp.43, 139) prove Joyce familiar with this earlier explorer of the modern city and master of its externals. The cameras eye might seem adequate to such vision.
Yet, however devoted to externals, the eyes of Zola and Joyce saw - as ours now see - more than eye of camera can. These pictures of Dublin, recording externals, are faithful to half of Joyces vision. Shaun of Finnegans Wake is a kind of cameraman. Devoted to externals, he is centered in the eye; but his brother, Shem, devoted to the ear, is centered in the imagination. Neither the one nor the other, Joyce is the creative union of Shaun and Shem, of eye and ear, fact and imagination. Shaped by ear and imagination, what Joyce saw became the word. Sight became syllable.
However fascinating in themselves, externals of the street serve Joyces people as occasion or stimulus for subjective vagary. In his walk down Grafton Street, pausing before Brown Thomas shop, Bloom finds more than what is there according to the camera. What is there is there, as the picture assures us, but what he thinks and feels changes the shop entirely. For Joyce the commonplace invited greater transformation. Transfigured by a priest of the imagination, the common bread and wine of experience become radiant body. Grafton Street, though remaining Grafton Street, becomes something else and something more. What D. H. Lawrence called the spirit of place, what G. M. Hopkins called inscape, and what Stephen Dedalus calls radiance are what Joyce found, extracted, and re-embodied. As particulars of Mexico or of the English Midlands to Lawrence or as particular bird, sloe, or wreck to Hopkins, so the particulars of Dublin to Joyce. From each thing almost everything. From Dublins landscape its inscape and the inscape or radiance of everywhere.
For Wallace Stevens, as for Joyce, there were two kinds of things: things exactly as they are and things upon the blue guitar. This blue instrument is art, of course. Things as they are are green. That Ireland is green and Ulysses blue or so its original covers - improves the analogy. The wearing of the green, for Joyce, was blue.
But Baudelaire, a city man, is closer to Joyce than Stevens - closer than Zola. In Tableaux Parisiens Baudelaire contemplated ragpickers and rags, sewers, houses, and all the cigar butts that were to fascinate T. S. Eliot. Elles sont grosses de suggestions, says Baudelaire. (Was Parish worth thette mess? asks Joyce in Finnegans Wake, p.199.) Lauding the creative imagination, the great Parisian wrote essays that could be taken as commentaries on Joyces practice - and mine. A photograph, says Baudelaire, is arts opposite; for art is never the exact reproduction of nature. Nature - even the paysage of Paris - is a hieroglyph that the artist must decipher. Translated by his supernatural state of mind, ordinary things become symbols. Blooms Milly may assist the photographic trade at Mullingar; but Joyces Milly is a symbol of reproduction, as her Mullingar, swarming with cows, of all fertility.
Stephen of Stephen Hero is another helpful commentator; for that boy could find epiphany in a grain of sand. Equivalent to his radiance, his epiphany is a showing forth and a seeing into - as when visiting Magi, seeing a baby, saw something more with this babys co-operation. The clock of the Ballast Office, Stephen tells Cranly, is capable of epiphany though only an item in the catalogue of Dublins street furniture. What? says Cranly, looking at that dial. He finds it inscrutable. (Stephen Hero, p.211.) Looking at these pictures of Dublins street furniture without Joyces help, we too might find them inscrutable - and tiresome, too. What are they, after all, but pictures of streets, houses, expanses of mud, and things exactly as they are?
Such things, as capable of epiphany as Cranlys clock, acquire radiance from Joyce. The Pigeon House, pictured here, rises from its condition as ordinary power plant to significant object by the aid of name and context: two frustrated quests, Father Butlers absence, and Mulligans pigeon, or the Holy Ghost. My picture of the bridge to the Bull shows an ordinary wooden structure that Cranly would not look at twice; yet this same bridge in A Portrait of the Artist becomes central revelation. A commonplace, squat tower, one of many along the coast and nothing much in a photograph, becomes in Ulysses an embodiment of everything maternal and paternal and all the heavy past. The Vico Road leaves suburb for all history; and a pub in Chapelizod becomes world or world in little, the very microcosm.
So Dublin itself, the sum and ghost of these pictures, is microcosm of a grander sort. In its streets Joyce saw everywhere and in its people everyone. In our time there he saw all times. Not Joyce alone, of course, but many before and after him have seen the modern city as our general symbol: Dickens in Bleak House, Conrad in The Secret Agent, Mann in Death in Venice, Eliot in The Waste Land - not to mention Zola and Baudelaire again. For some the city has proved our condition hell; but not for Joyce, who found it a purgatory with a view. His city has windows - not only Mrs. Blooms but those two windows of The Dead. Consider my picture of that house on Mecklenburg Street, near the corner of Mabbot. Finding encouragement even here and in the discouraging row of Eccles Street, Joyce uttered a resigned yet cheerful yes with something of Blooms equanimity.
So much for Joyces Dublin; how now about Dublins Joyce? Outlanders, mostly Frenchmen, Germans, and Americans, together with a few Italians and Englishmen, discovered and hailed him; but Dublin has come around at last. The director of the National Library, where young Joyce filled out innumerable slips and from where he took innumerable slips away for writing verses on, has a large portrait of Joyce over his desk. Visited by Americans (me, for example), he points to it with pride. His Library has a splendid collection of Joyces books and manuscripts, almost as rich as those at Yale, Buffalo, the British Museum, Cornell, Texas, Kansas, and Southern Illinois. Joyce who liked to think of himself as a banned writer, might be disappointed to find Dublin bookshops displaying and selling his works.
Listing eminent graduates of University College on its centennial in 1954, the Irish Independent, a paper for patriots, placed Joyce first, above Padraic Pearse, the leader of the Easter Rising. (This is as if Yale, making a list, were to place Thornton Wilder above Nathan Hale or as if Columbia, making another, were to place the poet Ginsberg above Alexander Hamilton.)
The priests of Dublin, too, have come around. I have spent hours with Father E. F. ODoherty of the National University, Ulysses before us on the bar, searching the text for obscure local allusions and debating Blooms course. Did Bloom, seeking that kidney, turn south on Dorset Street or north? Father ODoherty held out for north and I, supported by Paddy Henchy of the National Library, held out for south.
Father ODoherty is a Dubliner. I was but a tourist, one of hundreds of academic Americans who with monograph in mind, notebook in hand, follow Blooms way scrupulously. Dublin regards such visitors with genial amusement; but maybe Dublin learned something of Joyce from them. As Paddy Henchy ambiguously observed: Joyce is Americas gift to Ireland.
However this may be, Dublin has him now and gets along with her greatest son tolerably well. Bloomsday 1954, the fiftieth anniversary of Mr. Blooms journey and the first to be celebrated in Dublin, is a case in point. Inflamed by Myles Na gCopaleen of the Irish Times (also known as Flann OBrien and Brian Nolan), about twenty Dubliners gathered at Michael Scotts house at Sandycove on the morning of J-Day (June 16) to make a sentimental pilgrimage. Though they assembled as near as they could get to Stephens tower, the idea was to follow Blooms progress through their city. Getting away at 11:30 - a little late because of Mr. Scotts hospitality - in two horse-drawn cabs and several horseless carriages, they passed Stephens disappointed bridge at Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) on the way to Sandymount. Its like a funeral without a body, said a celebrant. Its a wonder they didnt think of getting a body. I dont know anything about a body, said another celebrant, but theres plenty of spirits about. (All this from the report in the Irish Times, where fifty years earlier Bloom had advertised for Martha.) Stopping at the first pub, they were dismayed by a publican who had never heard of Bloom. Whos he? this publican asked.
But on, on. Meeting Lennox Robinson, out with his dog for an airing, they asked him for a loan of the dog for a little tableau on Sandymount Strand. The back of my hand to you, or words to this effect, said Lennox Robinson. That he refused their request made no difference; for the tide was in at Sandymount, lapping the stairs from Leahys Terrace. On to Ringsend then - but was Bloom ever there that day? They debated this until a celebrant said, no matter: the journey is symbolic ... not bound to keep to the original route. So they stopped at another pub to debate a choice of ways: to the Bailey Restaurant next or Eccles Street? It was then that Myles Na gCopaleen, our reporter (also known as Flann OBrien and Brian Nolan) left this cortege for Bloom to write a report for the Times. We may never know on the floor of what pub the journey ended.
Maybe it got nowhere, but the gesture is far from insignificant. The symbolic action of these celebrants was the overt and spectacular part of a general excitement - of what, indeed, you might call a rising. For days before June 16 and days after, and on the day itself, the Irish Times devoted columns to Joyce. Prescotts Dye-works (mentioned in Ulysses, p.82) published as advertisement a portrait of Joyce. In a letter to the editor a Dubliner announced that Paddy Dignam is Homers Elpenor and proved it like an American. The editor himself thought it likely that someday a stony effigy of Bloom, nobler and taller than Nelsons Pillar, would rise in Dublin. A columnist, considering plans for renaming Dublin, rejected Joyceville as too American and Bloomsbury as too British. Agreeing that the Joyce Country is all about us, everybody thought Joyce, as tourist attraction, the Dublin Horse Shows rival.
That June a group of Dubliners met to found a James Joyce Society in the hope that the preservation of James Joyces memory in his native city will no longer be confined to thesis-writers from American universities. It is just as well that there has been no subsequent meeting. They order these things better on West 47th Street - as anyone can tell from an account of the proceedings there in the New Yorker of February 14, 1959. Far from the Liffey is the title of this little history.
That June, a few days too late for the Bloomsday pilgrimage, I arrived in Dublin on a Guggenheim Fellowship, like any American, to see about something in a library. Soon through with that, I spent the rest of the month and the first weeks of July with a copy of Ulysses in one hand, a map in the other, and a camera round my neck. My object in walking the streets, so equipped, was to see where Bloom walked. With no thought of making a book of my snaps, I snapped away for the fun of it, taking two or three hundred pictures in all. The seventy-eight pictures in this book are a selection from these. My camera is a Zeiss - a Super Ikonta B with Tessar lens, f2.8. (Not altogether a commercial photographer maybe, I sold a picture once to the New York Times.) In spite of rain and mist, Jameson and Power, under cloud and during interludes of sun - for the sky of Dublin, as Simon Dedalus observes, is as uncertain as a childs bottom - this camera did justice to the scene and I to this camera. Nobody stared at me but those children on Blooms front stoop, since Dublin is used to eccentrics.
Walking these streets, I found that many things had changed since Blooms day. Nighttown, all but gone, is now a modern slum. The hospital of Holles Street, where Mrs. Purefoy labored, looks like an American medical center now. Gabriel Conroys Gresham Hotel, rebuilt, looks like something in Detroit. The Ship, one of Mulligans pubs, is no more; no more the Freemans Journal and its building. Stephens little University College has expanded beyond his recognition. And many ingenious lovely things are also gone littler things. I searched for Plumtrees Potted Meat in vain and vain my search for Epps Cocoa and for a high grade ha by Plasto.
Many things had changed since my first visit to Dublin in 1932. The Holles Street hospital was still Blooms then and so was Davy Byrnes. (Mr. Byrne had a copy of Ulysses in the back room - or so he told me.) The trams still clanged and shunted then and jaunting cars still jingled. There is only one horseless carriage in Ulysses, and few were around in 1932.
But much, I found, remains much the same: Blooms house (a little more rundown maybe), Stephens tower, the Forty Foot, the Library, the graveyard, and Nelsons Pillar. Such vestiges are the subjects of these pictures; for there seemed little point in taking the new facade of Holles Street or of the building that has replaced Myles Crawfords office.
Some things still there I missed for one cause or another. When taken to see Howth Castle, I failed to take my camera along, and it was dusk anyway. Al Clongowes Wood College, it was raining so hard - though this is not apparent it my pictures - that I decided not to hunt the square ditch up.Though a constant visitor to the librarians room, where Stephen lectures on Shakespeare, I failed to record it on film. Somehow the old building of University College did not tempt my camera.
Regretting negligence, complaining about luck, I am satisfied, nevertheless, with many of the pictures I managed to take - with most of those I have included here. My recording of the tower and EccleE Street, of Blooms lotus-eating and lunch-hour wanderings, seems all but exemplary. Single shots of other episodes - Hades, for example leave me little to desire; and I am no less pleased with such offbeat shots as those of Fumbally Lane and Earwickers pub.
Of the many who helped me, I am most grateful to these: Edmund Epstein, Nora Donnelly, Patrick Henchy, and J. Mitchell Morse. Getting around the reluctant grocer who owned the tower and kept all trespassers off, Mr. Epstein secured my admission to interior and top - a rare privilege in June, 1954. Miss Donnelly, one of my two favorite Irishwomen, took me to Clongowes Wood that rainy day and did me many other favors. Mr. Henchy, one of my two favorite Irishmen, not only took me to Glendalough but introduced me to Library and tower. (And the top of the morning to Father ODoherty.) These Dubliners prove Joyces love of Dubliners firmly based. Mr. Morse, who saw a picture book in my pictures, did something about it.
I thank the Guggenheim Foundation, of whose generosity this book is a kind of by-product. And my thanks to St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, who helped me again. Page references are to these editions: The Portable James Joyce (The Viking Press) for Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist; Finnegans Wake (The Viking Press); Ulysses (Random House); Stephen Hero, 1944 (New Directions). I thank Mr. B. W. Huebsch and The Viking Press for permission to quote from The Portable James Joyce and Finnegans Wake; and Random House for permission to quote from Ulysses.
W. Y. T.