Vladimir Nabokov Creates a Hand-Drawn Map of James Joyce’s Ulysses

UllysesMap

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Just above you’ll find a sketched-out map of the paths Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom took through Dublin on June 16, 1904. If you’ve ever read James Joyce’s Ulysses (find it in our lists of Free eBooks and Free Audio Books), you may well have tried drawing one of these yourself, connecting the locations as each chapter finds one of the protagonists somewhere else in Ireland’s capital on that “ordinary” day. Maybe you wanted to test the plausibility of the common assertion that, given accuracy and detail with which Joyce wrote about the city, one could, in case of the apocalypse, build the city all over again using the novel as a plan. This particular Ulysses fan map, however, comes from the hand of a very special reader indeed: Vladimir Nabokov, author of a few much-discussed works of twentieth-century literature himself, including LolitaPale Fire, and Speak, Memory.

For those who teach Ulysses, Nabokov has a suggestion: “Instead of perpetuating the pretentious nonsense of Homeric, chromatic, and visceral chapter headings, instructors should prepare maps of Dublin with Bloom’s and Stephen’s intertwining itineraries clearly traced.” A post from Raynor Ganan quotes him as saying that, adding, “Would you not have donated a litre of your own spinal fluid to audit this lecture?” Indeed, Nabokov speaks from experience, having not only produced well-respected literature but taught it, too. The fruits of his time at the front of the classroom appear in his collection Lectures on Literature, though if you want to get as close as possible to the experience of sitting in on one of Nabokov’s classes, go back into our archives and watch the WQED dramatization, starring Christopher Plummer, of his talk on Kafka at Cornell. It won’t give you any insight into Joyce’s Dublin, granted, but some Yale grad students’ more recent project to digitally, interactively map Ulysses just might.

Related Content:

Vladimir Nabokov (Channelled by Christopher Plummer) Teaches Kafka at Cornell

James Joyce, With His Eyesight Failing, Draws a Sketch of Leopold Bloom (1926)

Read Joyce’s Ulysses Line by Line, for the Next 22 Years, with Frank Delaney’s Podcast

James Joyce’s Ulysses: Download the Free Audio Book

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los AngelesA Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.



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  1. A. MOAZZEN says . . . | August 22, 2013 / 11:28 am

    The novel is primarily an activity of the imagination is a great writer. Your imagination is rooted in the author’s feelings and emotions. The author wants the bridge between dreams and reality. Life on the one hand and on the other hand has its own limitations and problems with B. Jhanb dreams and fantasies. Reality and dreams are often not compatible with each other. Is associated with imagination and inspiration literary life of a writer, he calls upon request by calling imagination to ask – it’s a way to chew, the way in which the facts are in front of it. Anyone who reads or writes actually mentioned there is so little to give meaning to their lives living passion, enthusiasm and motivation is given. Benefit of society Literature and society that can not see their ugly and their beauty to see and recognize. Such a society can not be self-critical approach. The novel is not only active imagination, critical thinking is one of the effects of social conflicts and contradictions unyielding. Ages for the appearance of novel, full of tension and conflict are fertile ages. Per animal and per Lhzhash Qdmsh certainty of a challenge to the old warrior. The challenge in Nkyshvt between imagination and reality by his servant, Sancho does, because he sees the reality that exist within the master will, however, interfere in dreams, grand master of petitions Elder can barely bring forth .
    The truth must be discovered and understood and to understand the truth about Nkyshvt novel. But the reality is fragmented and the world has lost its integrity. Milan Kundera’s novel was born when the facts were relative integrated itself into reality. Flourishing his novel is an historical fact. The ontological significance of the novel comes from where? Best Literary novels of our times.
    In “Ulysses” Perhaps no word as “coincidence” is a wonderful and mysterious. Aside from the fact that both the characters and events of the novel occur in Homer’s Odyssey, a book on the experience and the contacts are visible. Joyce avoids the fixed meanings, but the novel is not hermeneutic Dghdghhash or interpretability. He is the bearer of political theory. The author does not colonized cultures to bring up with your work or grant writing transcendental Shani. In 18 of Ulysses, synchronization word is repeated about 17 times. If we consider the last part of the expression of perfect simultaneity and we will make exceptions, Joyce everywhere so the word is repeated. The peak concurrency is the last part. Financial Bloom eight or better to say I think Part Eight runs together. Section VIII – Lastrygvnha or cannibal giants – a scene that bloom during walking in the streets of Dublin to the thousand and one things, but suddenly remembered that Charles Parnl, Irish political leader of the independence movement, escapes. Bloom’s opinion, there is no cause of action, except that his face is Parnl John Howard:
    “Here it is. Brothers. Figure Tskhyrknndh., This is a coincidence. Certainly repeatedly without anybody Kurds have seen him.”
     At this stage, a few steps ahead – Bloom, George Russell sees. Another is that the synchronization has its own logic:
    “He’s here., This is one of the co-Haq. Again. Moments that are about to happen, Sayhshan send in advance.”
    Joyce is trying to be abstract and the simultaneous liberation. Until the date that the novel scene, Although it is not yet occurred – but it has already sent to us their shadows.

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