Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 10:41 AM
I live in Dublin
Do you see the same city I see?
[Please note, some books linked from this post may not be available in full view to users outside of the United States.]
Recently, I moved from San Francisco across the Atlantic to the beautiful city of Dublin. The biggest perk of living in the capital of Ireland for an enthusiastic reader and writer like myself is being surrounded by rich literary history everywhere I go!
One of the first nations to practice vernacular writing, Ireland has produced some of history’s most remarkable authors. Notable literary artists from Dublin include Oscar Wilde (1854-1900); poet and author of the famed The Picture of Dorian Gray, Bram Stoker (1847-1912), creator of Dracula; Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who brought fictional Lilliputians to life in Gulliver's Travels (and who was the first great Irish writer to be recognized internationally), and James Joyce (1882-1941), who captured the very essence of what it was like to live in Dublin through his collection of short stories Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and the great epic Ulysses, a work of art I studied intensively in university. Imagine my delight when I could actually experience Joycean Dublin by walking the same streets this great author had!
I took a walk across gorgeous Samuel Beckett bridge, named for the Nobel Prize in Literature-winning writer who had at one point in his life been James Joyce's secretary, examined the very first printing machines and ancient typewriters at the National Print Museum, admired the ancient Book of Kells, preserved in the library at Trinity College, and enjoyed a cappuccino at cozy Finn's Hotel where James Joyce went on his first date with his future wife, which was also the inspiration for Ulysses.
I spent a leisurely afternoon at the Writer’s Museum in the heart of Dublin and discovered the amazing Yeats collection of letters to his lover, friends, and family. Later that night, through the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, I embarked on a pleasant historical walking tour of the great city with our tour guide quoting at length Yeats, Behan, and Larkin- with stops at local pubs for some hearty, delicious Irish fare.
To visualize the influence of great Irish authors on contemporary Dublin, take an afternoon to stroll through the intense language and exploration of identity of Joycean Dublin in Ulysses on Google Books. Try exploring the literary history of where you live by conducting an Advanced Book Search by using location as subject. You may find a more poetic side to the sights around you!