Roll Away the Reel World
James Joyce and Cinema
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Cork University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Notes on Contributors
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Introduction: From the Real to the Reel and Back: Explorations into Joyce and Cinema
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Thus wrote Stanislaus Joyce in his diary in June 1907 expressing his surprise at the mushrooming of new cinemas in Trieste in the early years of his life there. In the same entry, he complained about the programme of films he had recently seen, which had, he writes, âan air of America and degeneration, and of pandering to the lowest imagination of the rabbleâ. ...
1. James Joyce and the Volta Programme
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It is one of the more surprising and intriguing corners of James Joyceâs biography that he founded one of Dublinâs first cinemas.2 From being a passing anecdote in his personal history, interest has grown in Joyceâs brief flirtation with film exhibition, with scholars becoming intrigued by the actual films shown at the Volta Cinematograph, and asking to what degree they might reflect Joyceâs own enthusiasms. This essay aims to...
2. Dedalus Among the Film Folk
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The following article is based on my research for the exhibition entitled James Joyce, Trieste and Cinema: A History of Possible Worlds, held at the Palazzo Costanzi, Trieste, in January and February 2009, which was one of a series of events commemorating the centenary of Joyce and the cinema Volta during the 2009 Alpe Adria Trieste Film Festival. The purpose of the research was to explore and document the Triestine...
3. Joyce, Early Cinema and the Erotics of Everyday Life
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At first, nothing much seems to happen in Thomas Edisonâs 1901 film What Happened on 23rd Street, New York City.1 It shows an everyday scene, full of busy passers-by. However, a few boys and men appear to be loitering on the lookout, and the filmâs promising title invites its spectators to do likewise. A grate in the foreground is pointed up when a woman strolls...
4. The Ghost Walks
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You donât have to believe in ghosts in order to see them. What you make of what you see is another matter entirely. One personâs mysterious apparition is anotherâs optical illusion. Horatioâs reaction on seeing the ghost of King Hamlet walking the night seems to me a most commendable one, in that his scepticism has not disabled his imaginative capacity...
5. Mirages in the Lampglow
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The silent film historian James Card offers an anecdote that illustrates the special challenge that Joyce faced when he returned to Dublin in late 1909 to promote and operate the Volta Cinematograph. He was courting an Irish audience whose everyday lives were âfilled with magic and illusions, with the commonplaces of banshees, pixies, gremlins and...
6. Futurist Music Hall and Cinema
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In denying âany surfacing of even vague futurist traitsâ in Joyce and claiming that âbetween Marinettiâs crazy ideas, the confused theorizing of the futurists and his brotherâs there was the same difference that is found between a clown and a tragic actorâ,1 Stanislaus Joyce was implicitly overlooking the meaning and relevance of the intertwining of clownish and...
7. Circeâs Costume Changes
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In order to build such a structure not only did Joyce draw on a huge variety of literary texts but also, as pointed out by Cheryl Herr, on various forms of public entertainment such as the theatre, pantomime, the music hall, the circus and harlequinade.3 Another very important source for the âCirceâ episode was the cinema, which, having been born as a part of the...
8. âSee Ourselves as Others See Usâ
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I would like to argue in this essay that Ulysses conveys a Merleau-Pontian model of perception, which is heavily influenced by early cinema. According to Maurice Merleau-Ponty, âthe philosopher and the moviemaker share a certain way of being, a certain view of the worldâ.1 As I shall show, Joyce shared this philosopher/moviemakerâs viewpoint. In...
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In the 1950s a new wave of âliteraryâ filmmakers â self-styled auteurs â emerged in Paris, linked to the journal Cahiers du CinÃ©ma. It is a wellknown story. Led by Jean-Luc Godard, these filmmakers â heavily immersed in the traditions of Italian neo-realism and the films of Chaplin, Griffith, Hawkes and Welles â comprised a neo-avant-garde...
10. Tracing Joyce
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James Joyceâs story âThe Deadâ fell into the hands of two of the most celebrated filmmakers of the twentieth century, Roberto Rossellini and John Huston, who made, respectively, Voyage in Italy (1953) and The Dead (1987). This essay seeks to measure some consequences of their re-working for cinema of the material structures of Joyceâs complex written text. Joyceâs story has an extraordinary narrative structure: it is almost...
11. Odysseys of Sound and Image
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This essay examines how Joyceâs 1922 novel extends the classical principle of ekphrasis â verbal imitation of visual representations â into the age of moving images. In turn, it considers in what ways this literary âcinematicityâ is engaged with in the film adaptations of Ulysses. More broadly, cinematicity has come to denote the tendency in late Victorian culture to...
12. James Joyce, Subliminal Screenwriter?
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Our world is primarily the world of the visual, in Joyceâs matchless phrase, the âineluctable modality of the visibleâ (U, 3.1). These self-eyed images are joined to a secondary extent by those provoked by sounds, spoken words or dreams. For some the most memorable of the visible images stem from moments in the movies. Born in 1935, âI have measured out my lifeâ not with coffee...
Appendix Volta Filmography
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Notes and References
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Page Count: 262
Publication Year: 2010