The Ulysses Project: Architecture and the city through James Joyce’s Dublin: Part I

By Freddie Phillipson

This is part one of two posts pairing Freddie Phillipsons’s drawings from The Ulysses Project with excerpts from James Joyce’s landmark novel. The drawings are on display at the Irish Architectural Archive, Dublin, until 19 August 2022. The exhibition is part of Ulysses100, an international programme of events celebrating 100 years since the publication of the novel.

She crosses the threshold. He hesitates. She turns and, holding out her hands, draws him over. He hops. On the antlered rack of the hall hang a man’s hat and waterproof. Bloom uncovers himself but, seeing them, frowns, then smiles, preoccupied. A door on the return landing is flung open. A man in purple shirt and grey trousers, brownsocked, passes with an ape’s gait, his bald head and goatee beard upheld, hugging a full waterjugjar, his twotailed black braces dangling at heels. Averting his face quickly Bloom bends to examine on the halltable the spaniel eyes of a running fox: then, his lifted head sniffing, follows Zoe into the musicroom. A shade of mauve tissuepaper dims the light of the chandelier. Round and round a moth flies, colliding, escaping. The floor is covered with an oilcloth mosaic of jade and azure and cinnabar rhomboids. Footmarks are stamped over it in all senses, heel to heel, heel to hollow, toe to toe, feet locked, a morris of shuffling feet without body phantoms.

Chapter 15, lines 2031-45

Turning, he scanned the shore south, his feet sinking again slowly in new sockets. The cold domed room of the tower waits. Through the barbacans the shafts of light are moving ever, slowly ever as my feet are sinking, creeping duskward over the dial floor. Blue dusk, nightfall, deep blue night. In the darkness of the dome they wait, their pushedback chairs, my obelisk valise, around a board of abandoned platters. Who to clear it? He has the key. I will not sleep there when this night comes. A shut door of a silent tower, entombing their blind bodies, the panthersahib and his pointer. Call: no answer. He lifted his feet up from the suck and turned back by the mole of boulders. Take all, keep all. My soul walks with me, form of forms. So in the moon’s midwatches I pace the path above the rocks, in sable silvered, hearing Elsinore’s tempting flood.

Chapter 3, lines 270-281

He stayed in his walk to watch a typesetter neatly distributing type. Reads it backwards first. Quickly he does it. Must require some practice that. mangiD kcirtaP. Poor papa with his hagadah book, reading backwards with his finger to me. Pessach. Next year in Jerusalem. Dear, O dear! All that long business about that brought us out of the land of Egypt and into the house of bondage alleluia. Shema Israel Adonai Elohenu. No, that’s the other. Then the twelve brothers, Jacob’s sons. And then the lamb and the cat and the dog and the stick and the water and the butcher. And then the angel of death kills the butcher and he kills the ox and the dog kills the cat. Sounds a bit silly till you come to look into it well. Justice it means but it’s everybody eating everyone else. That’s what life is after all. How quickly he does that job. Practice makes perfect. Seems to see with his fingers.

Mr Bloom passed on out of the clanking noises through the gallery on to the landing. Now am I going to tram it out all the way and then catch him out perhaps. Better phone him up first. Number? Yes. Same as Citron’s house. Twentyeight. Twentyeight double four.

Chapter 7, lines 204-220

The turnstile.

Is that?… Blueribboned hat… Idly writing… What? Looked?…

The curving balustrade: smoothsliding Mincius.

Chapter 9, lines 1122-4

Notes

All excerpts reference The Bodley Head’s 2007 reprint of the Hans Walter Gabler edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1986.