Literature: July 2009 Archives

"The Lestrygonians"


There are a great many ways in which God has blessed me on this trip to Dublin. I was able to see the houses of W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, AE, Robert Griffiths (founder of Irish Geology), many wonderful Churches and other such magnificent things.

However, one way in which He has chosen to enrich me beyond bounds is in my reading of Ulysses. When I knew I was going to Dublin, I decided to reacquaint myself with one of the most magnificent novels of the twentieth century.

Today I found myself reading the section knows as "The Lestrygonians." In it, Leopold Bloom walks down O'Connell street to Grafton street--right in front of my hotel. There are brass plaques all over with sentences from this chapter. On the way to watch a performance of Riverdance at a small, gorgeously appointed theatre, I found one that I had not seen to date, in front of a statue on the way to Trinity College, labeled simply, "Moore." I just about jumped for joy, because now, I was able to chart the amble up O'Connell with some precision.

I know this doesn't seem like much, but reading Joyce's masterwork in the city it was meant to commemorate and even enshrine is such a humbling experience and an enriching experience. Where before I had some vague idea of people walking around a lot (the travels of Ulysses), now I had a sense of where they were walking and what they were doing.

Okay, so not the most exciting thing in the world, I suppose. And yet, it is. I could have continued with an intellectual appreciation of Ulysses as a work of art, but now I also have a bones-deep visceral appreciation of its amazing reality--the reality not only of the city but also of the thought of the characters.

Tomorrow I leave, but today God vouchsafed my a glimpse of real genius that I will be able to appreciate and reflect on for the rest of my life.

I hope time allows me to share more of this truly wonderful trip with you in the future. I have even thought of calling it something like--"Keeping Track of His Hat in Europe."

Bookmark and Share



I have been fortunate enough to be assigned a trip to Dublin--a situation I frankly dreaded, but which has proven one endless delight.

I started out with a trip to Sandycove to view the Martello tower at which Joyce starts Ulysses. And you know, there is a great delight and depth to reading the greatest book of the 20th century in the place that it eternalizes. Seeing what Joyce saw, being where he was and experiencing some sense of it, even at some remove in time. Also on that day, I walked to Dublin Castle, the gardens, Trinity College, the Liffey, the Pearse street Garda Station, and probably a dozen other places.

Tuesday to the General Post Office, the O'Connell Memorial, the Parnell Memorial, the James Joyce statue and south to St. Stephen's Green. Then to temple bar, and through Trinity Campus again. Haven't been able to see the Book of Kells yet.

Today, no time for touring, but lunch again in a pub.

And tomorrow--Iveagh Gardens, Oscar Wilde's memorial, Wilde's home, perhaps his Birthplace, and Nichols' Mortuary (A Joyce place). And then out to the Medieval Part of town to see Christ Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and some close by, even more ancient churches. And then to other Joyce locations. As I have said, it deepens the delight of the reading. I can revel in Ulysses in a way I think Joyce meant us to. Setting is so tremendously important.

Too much to say, too condensed, but let it rest at the profound delight I experience reading after dark Joyce in Dublin. Wonderful--oh, and morning starts with Yeats. I'm so profoundly blessed to have a Kindle.

Bookmark and Share



About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Literature category from July 2009.

Literature: June 2009 is the previous archive.

Literature: September 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll