Twelve

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Joyce at Platzspitz

1937 by Carola Giedion-Welcker
Zurich James Joyce Foundation

The James Joyce Centre in Dublin feels like Joyce. This is mostly because Mr. Bloom’s front door is attached to the wall in the garden. It is strange but rather wonderful that someone decided to save the door of a fictional character, place it against another wall and display it as a historical spectacle. It is satisfying (if you’ve read Ulysses) to stand by Mr. Bloom’s front door; humorous, because of his character, and silly as you know he’s not real. This photo embodies that feeling; here stands Joyce himself, his elbows jauntily poised, his head cocked to one side and his left leg straight out supporting the pose. The position is slightly comical, full of personality and possibility, even though we can’t see his face. The waters are not Dublin’s but, bearing in mind this is Joyce, his stories come flooding back. The pose and its simplicity makes this an extremely fitting portrait of James Joyce; the fact that it is unceremoniously from behind only adds to the effect.

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