Chapter 8: “Aeolus” – A Sightseeing Tour

in Publishing in Joyce's Ulysses
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“Aeolus”, the newspaper-office episode in Ulysses, is one of the least understood when it comes to indoor topography. And yet, although the book says relatively little about Bloom’s passing through the offices, it is possible to see how the descriptions in Ulysses tally with what is known about them by drawing on contemporary resources. Various materials – such as a 1910 plan showing the Freeman’s Journal public office where Bloom talks with Murray about Keyes’s ad, an 1893 fire insurance map, reports about events in the building in 1916, extracts from Thom’s Directory of 1910 or a photograph of the interior of the Freeman’s printers’ room – are valuable documents to partly reconstruct the premises and to trace Bloom’s route through the Freeman’s building: from ground floor, to caseroom, through gallery, to upper floor, down the staircase to the editor’s office on the ground floor, and out of Freeman on to the streets toward Williams’s Row. “Aeolus”, the windy memorial palace of the press, turns out to be a near-documentary fictional resurrection of a reality James Joyce knew had been irreversibly destroyed in the Easter Rising of 1916.

Publishing in Joyce's Ulysses

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