As everyone knows, the novel Ulysses is a masterpiece of modern literature written by James Joyce and set in Dublin, Ireland.
It was published in 1922 and it’s filled with comedy, sadness and fantastic wordplay, revealing the rich inner life of the characters as every thought (including the dirty stuff) is noted in peerlessly descriptive language.
The events of the novel take place in one day – 16 June 1904 – and every year this day is celebrated as Bloomsday, named for for the novel’s main protagonist, Leopold Bloom.
But did you know you can get the novel completely free? Later in this post I’ll tell you how.
As I was reading, I recognized many of the place names, so I took a walk around Sandymount and South Dublin City (our office of the fulfilment and customer support side of Maglus is close by, on Upper Baggot Street), and took some photos of Joyce’s Dublin in 2014.
Just grab the Apple iBooks app, and you can download the whole novel completely for free. This is the first time I’ve used iBooks, and it works great on multiple devices as your bookmarks sync across everything. So you can enjoy Ulysses in bed on your iPad, add a bookmark, then pick up right where you left off on your iPhone. Beats lugging a huge paperback around!
I’ve been reading it with my Maglus in hand, so I can highlight sentences and phrases I particularly like with the iBooks Highlighter tool. I like to turn the “page” with it too.
Now to the pics!
Here’s the chemist Sweny on Lincoln Place, where Bloom buys a bar of lemon soap. There were probably fewer pictures of James Joyce in the window back in 1904.
I couldn’t resist, and bought a bar of soap (a fiver!!), so I could feel the weight of it in my trouser pocket as I walked around Dublin city, as Bloom does.
Next we have 9 Newbridge Avenue – the house where “poor Paddy Dignam” lived. Leopold Bloom goes to Patrick Dignam’s funeral in Glasnevin Cemetery, and it’s an important part of the novel. I live right around the corner from this house!
Here’s a place not mentioned in the novel – but well known in the neighbourhood of Sandymount. It’s the house on Dromard Avenue where James Joyce himself stayed on 16 June 1904 – the day the events of the novel are set!
Here’s the James Joyce statue off O’Connell St – what’s that peeking out from the folds of his coat??
Here’s the little-known James Joyce commemorative sundial on Sandymount Strand – certainly little-known to me, I only live up the road, and only noticed it a few weeks ago. I’m not sure exactly what it commemorates! It’s from the 80’s and located in Sean Moore Park. You can see Dublin’s famous Pigeon House towers in the background of the photo.
Finally, here’s a pic of one of the many plaques dotted around the city – each at a site where some action from the novel takes place. This one is on Westmoreland St:
Want to see more of Joyce’s Dublin? There’s currently an exhibition in the James Joyce Centre in Dublin 1 called “Lee Miller in James Joyce’s Dublin” , showing photos of Joyce’s Dublin in 1946. It just opened June 10th, I plan to go this weekend – I’m sure the photos compare favourably to my iPhone snaps!
email me your thoughts at caroline at maglusstylus dot com!