James Joyce - the Dubliners Essay

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1) James Joyce – Dubliners - The Dead One hundred and eight years ago today James Joyce and Nora Barnacle went out walking together for the first time. "Bloomsday", the day on which the novel Ulysses takes place, happens also on 16 June 1904. Hidden aspects of his own life nourished the narrative for Joyce. His own mythology could thus merge with a number of other mythologies to add weight and substance to what was, on the surface and maybe buried in the depths too, an ordinary day in an ordinary place. Nora worked in Finn's Hotel, and the walk between there and Merrion Square, where they originally arranged to meet, passed by 6 Clare Street, from where Samuel Beckett's father ran his business, and where Beckett would write some of his novel Murphy. Joyce, who would begin the stories in his book Dubliners in that year, 1904, and Nora planned to meet outside the house where Sir William Wilde had lived and where Oscar Wilde had been brought up, the site of many parties. Bram Stoker, who had known Wilde at Trinity College Dublin, had been a visitor to this house. His wife was a former girlfriend of Oscar Wilde. Thus the run-down city of Dublin could become sacred space if you cared and knew about those names. If you did not, or were in a hurry somewhere, as characters in Ulysses often are, as many people today still are, then it could be ordinary, like a street in any city. In the autumn of 1974, I moved into a damp room at the back of the basement of one of two gaunt Victorian houses which stood on Upper Hatch Street, 10 minutes' walk away from here. They were the only houses on the street and were demolished in the early 1980s. My room was called the "garden flat" by the genteel landlady who lived upstairs and who often entertained her friends for drinks. There was a sink in the corridor in the basement and a toilet outside, but there was no bathroom. At night as I

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