These four books are concerned with Joyce's writings, Joyce's Dublin, or his relations with his contemporaries, and all offer to guide readers to new encounters with his art and its sources. For anyone who has not yet traced the steps of Bloom and company, as well as for those who have already had the pleasure, the best place to start is with Robert Nicholson's excellent Dublin tour book, The "Ulysses" Guide. This compact paperback vade-mecum follows the eighteen episodes of Ulysses, setting out the famous itineraries of 16 June 1904 more or less in their order in the novel. (For example, for logistical reasons, Nicholson combines the commentaries on the relevant sections of "Calypso," "Wandering Rocks," "Ithaca," and "Penelope" in Tour 3, which explores the environs of 7 Eccles Street.) In his chapters devoted to suggested routes, Nicholson generously reprints many of the appropriate passages from Ulysses, amplifying Joyce's original 1904 Dublin "Blue Book of Eccles" with the details of his own text. This is a happy marriage: while he supplies contexts and notes the physical changes which have occurred during nearly ninety years' time, Nicholson succeeds in showing the modern pilgrim that there remain many places in Dublin where Joyce's prose is the best guide.
At 150 pages, the book is quite portable, with clearly designed maps prefacing each of the tour routes. Nicholson's well-informed comments and companionable writing style remind me of the most appealing aspects of the Michelin green guides, without any of Michelin's occasional stumbles into snobbery. His book makes valuable connections between Ulysses and the Dublin places it names and will appeal both to the novice and to the veteran of Joycean perambulations. All in all, a fine "Ulysses " Guide to bring along for the Dublin Joyce Symposium in 1992.
Corinna Del Greco Lobner's James Joyce's Italian Connection maps a different field, adopting an approach that is part biographical and part exploration of a fascinating side of modern literary history. Her main subject is Joyce's parlayings as reader and writer with contemporary Italian writers. The study's four chapters [End Page 273] deal with Joyce's education in Italian literature at University College and beyond: the years in Trieste during which Joyce acquired a sense of the fluidity and adaptability of the colloquial Italian language, Joyce's labors on the Italian translation of Anna Livia Plurabelle, his youthful readings in D'Annunzio, and later, his response to the rhetoric of Marinetti and the Italian Futurists.
Especially in Trieste, Lobner argues, Joyce began to learn the rich possibilities of experimentation with languages. As he spoke colloquial Italian, Joyce discovered how Italian words undergo gymnastic contortions, changes of suffix, and diminutive forms, all in order to vary their expressions of meaning and intensity. Such a wealth of "parola alterata," altered words, endowed Joyce with a model for linguistic change and ultimately led him to feel so at home in the Italian cultured and linguistic context that he undertook to translate ALP into Italian himself. Lobner expertly discusses the translation, especially the "femininization" of Anna Livia Plurabelle through the use of Italian's gendered words.
Since the publication 25 years ago of Scholes and Kain's Workshop of Daedalus , we have known that stylistic echoes of D'Annunzio's Il Fuoco (The Flame of Life ) appear in A Portrait. Lobner moves from this point to show that there is also a much later D'Annunzian presence, in the closing words of the Italian version of ALP, where "[Joyce's] rivers whisper a melodious farewell to D'Annunzio . . . since it is here that the history of the Italian epic experiences a ricorso through a diction...