- Seventh Annual James Joyce Research Colloquium: 10–12 April 2014
THE CENTENARY OF DUBLINERS: HISTORICAL, DIGITAL, AND ARCHIVAL APPROACHES
In the hours before the Seventh Annual James Joyce Research Colloquium began, I decided to take advantage of my brief time in Dublin and stepped out of my room in search of Joyce’s Dublin — something that did not prove too difficult to discover. Despite having only visited Ireland’s capital city only once before I found myself in familiar territory. Thankfully the paths of Dublin on 10 April 2014 were far from ‘rainladen’ and instead were drenched in spring sunshine as I arrived at the ‘grey block of Trinity’ and looked over to the ‘blind columned porch’ of the Bank of Ireland ‘where pigeons roocoocooed’ and palefaced tourists stood snapping pictures with their cameras (P V.212; U 10.343–4). It was easy to imagine M’Coy dodging a banana peel in Temple Bar and Bloom near O’Connell Bridge searching through titles until he arrived on Sweets of Sin: ‘Yes. Take this. The end’ (U 10.512–13). In the reading room of the National Library I looked over an early draft of the ‘Scylla and Charybdis’ episode in their Joyce Papers 2002 collection and imagined Stephen, Eglinton, Lyster, Russell, and Best discussing Shakespeare in the building. On Baggot Street, I thought of Lenehan carefully trailing after Corley and his female companion. My slow walk toward Newman House, where the first evening of the Colloquium was to meet, reminded me of Stephen’s literary fuelled journey to UCD when the then ‘rainladen trees’ made him think of Gerhart Hauptmann, the ‘sloblands of Fairview’ of Newman, North Strand Road of Guido Cavalcanti, and Talbot Place of Ibsen (P V.71–86). Although we joked during the first panel about Joyce’s lack of interest in describing facades or architecture, imagining him walking through the streets of Dublin with his head down and observing the city through imperfect eyesight, I was continually struck by my easy immersion in Joycean Dublin, a testament to his keen ability to populate a city.
This year’s James Joyce Research Colloquium, organized by Dr Luca Crispi and Professor Anne Fogarty, opened on the night of 10 April to celebrate the centenary of Dubliners, and the first panel focused appropriately on digital [End Page 167] explorations of Joyce’s works. Dr Scott Hamilton (UCD) began the evening with a glimpse at ‘The Dead’ iPad app, allowing us to view the digital text (based on the first edition), along with its many features, among them an audio version of the text read by Barry McGovern, podcasts delivered by Declan Kiberd, Anne Fogarty, and Gerardine Meaney, images of Dublin in 1914, and a video recording of The Lass of Aughrim. Next, Andrew Kuhn of Boston College gave us access to his digital library, Dubliners Bookshelf, which houses about 30 primary texts as well as explanatory essays and translated materials. The Bookshelf provides a digital space for the printed materials alluded to in Dubliners and uses the ‘digital platform as a means of more fully understanding the analogue technology of the book’. Professor Joseph Nugent, also of Boston College, presented Digital Dubliners, an exploratory and inter-disciplinary tool ‘written for students by students’ which offers context, images, advertisements, maps, student essays, and annotated bibliographies in a new multi-media approach to classroom learning. Closing the first panel, Terence Killeen, James Joyce Centre, and Ed Mulhall, Independent Scholar, took us on a journey through the streets of ‘Two Gallants’ in their Digital Model for Dubliners. Their virtual city, reconstructed from Joyce’s work, is populated with Joyce’s characters, popular songs, emerging technologies, and other exciting props which create a gaming-world experience with layers of exploration that demonstrate the new depths to be gained from linking resources in the digital world.
The evening continued with a captivating conversation between Anne Fogarty and Frank McGuinness (UCD). McGuinness described his early encounters with Joyce in an Ireland for which the study of Joyce was typically an extra-curricular activity. Although he admits many Irish writers look at Joyce’s works with some fear and a kind...