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Dublin James Joyce Journal (review)

From: James Joyce Quarterly
Volume 46, Number 3-4, Spring-Summer 2009
pp. 598-601 | 10.1353/jjq.2008.0041

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

The first issue of a new journal in Joyce studies is always a cause for celebration. Because of its association with University College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland, this annual publication, edited by Luca Crispi and Anne Fogarty, possesses the right pedigree both to flourish and to enhance the cause of Joyce studies round the world. The wealth of manuscript and research material held by the Library and the series of annual lectures by visiting scholars at the Joyce Summer School will furnish a ready supply of articles and submissions for future issues, and if Issue 1 is anything to go by, we are at the beginning of a highly successful venture. For the bears among you who might doubt whether or not the market can stand another such journal, well, let the market decide.

The confident cover design is by Design HQ, a company with an appropriately pointed address, 1 James Joyce Street, Liberty Corner, in the center of Dublin. Standing proud on the cover is the classic image of Joyce in waistcoat with hands in pockets in front of Charles Curran's greenhouse, head to one side, wondering if he could touch the photographer for some change. Joyce's image (minus the greenhouse) is set against an attractive mid-blue background, a blue that recalls the cover on the Shakespeare and Company early editions of Ulysses, and it comes complete with a decorative magenta band at the bottom and white banner at the top proclaiming the journal's title with James Joyce picked out in blue. Listed on the back cover are the seven essays that make up the first issue.

There is a down-to-earth quality about this new journal. All but one of the essays boast a business-like, helpful colon in the title. There are no flyleaves or reviews or correspondence, and margins are kept to a minimum. Each page carries around forty lines and around twelve words per line, so the eye confronts a manageable 400-480 words per page. Ten black-and-white illustrations accompany the essays, nine of which could perhaps be sharper, the one exception being the route of the Robert Emmet 1898 centenary procession, which Cóilín Owens skillfully incorporates into an essay on "After the Race" (45). The 1894 period photos from The Dublin Illustrograph, reproduced in Stephanie Rains's essay on "Araby," are a real find (24-29), but I am sure the originals, especially those by Chancellor of Dublin, could yield more pixel information than is reproduced here. This might seem heresy to some, but, at times, when the paper quality is not sufficiently photographic, it is better to lose the wide-angle view and crop an image down to size, that is, to forgo the Victorian posed shot for something having more immediacy for a modern reader.

What we are presented with in the Dublin James Joyce Journal is a back-to-Dublin portrait of Joyce, a view which to my mind has much to commend it. Christine O'Neill recalls Niall Montgomery's lively contributions a generation ago to Joyce studies. The striking thing, however, about force of personality—and Montgomery by all accounts had this in abundance—is that it evaporates into thin air with the passage of time. Moreover, as we move further away from Joyce's period, we are forced to rely less on personal knowledge and insider information and more on the anonymous historical record. According to Montgomery, writing in 1968 to the German translator of Dubliners, Dieter E. Zimmer, "In Joyce's time, most of the business in the city was Protestant. I have heard my old friend, Mr Jack Yeats, the painter, say that in his youth there was no Irish name to be seen on a shop fascia in the city" (5). No doubt there is some truth in this remark, but Thom's Business Directory of Dublin and Suburbs for the Year 1906 (when Yeats would have been thirty-five) is full of Irish names and suggests otherwise. As Terence Killeen's essay also reminds us, correcting the exaggerations of one generation is often the task of the next, and not infrequently the...



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