Homer’s Sticks and Stones
Abstract

When critics refer to the “Homer” of Joyce’s Ulysses, it is difficult to determine which author and which Odyssey they mean. As a young man, Joyce read Charles Lamb’s interpretation of the classic and, later, that of Samuel Butcher and Andrew Lang. These translators enacted a nobility of character and events that tended to elevate the tale to the level of mythology. Heinrich Schliemann, the excavator, however, proved that “Troy” had existed, and helped to create the the archaeological “Homer,” thus powerfully influencing the author who wished to reproduce Dublin so exactly in his writing that the city could be reconstructed solely by referring to his work. Through topology, itemization, spatiality, and domesticity, Joyce created in Ulysses a veritable “museum of Homers.”


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