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Sat, 28 Mar


Metropolitan Hotel

A Day With A Chapter: Deep Diving With Sirens

Join Joyce experts Bruce Beswick and Frances Devlin-Glass for a day with Sirens, one of the most pivotal and moving chapters of James Joyce's Ulysses, in which Joyce experiments with musical form in narrative fiction.

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A Day With A Chapter: Deep Diving With Sirens
A Day With A Chapter: Deep Diving With Sirens

Time & Location

28 Mar 2020, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Metropolitan Hotel, 36-42 Courtney St, North Melbourne VIC 3051, Australia

About the event

 The chapter invites us to participate in Dublin's rich musical culture in a pub that is also used for concerts, and where all the barflies have their own party pieces to perform. It is also a profoundly moving chapter because of the emotional challenges the imminent events at 4pm entail for Bloom. How does Bloom keep his failing spirits up? What are we to make of the musical culture of Dubliners?

This chapter alienated the ever-patient Harriet Shaw Weaver and the less patient and opinionated Ezra Pound, his publishers. So, it was a particularly bold and daring venture. Joyce complained to several people that in writing the chapter he lost his lifelong love for music because his technique penetrated the contrivances of music and he understood better how powerfully it manipulated the emotions. Fortunately, it was not a permanent disillusionment. How well does his literary experiment work?

  • Session 1: Getting Oriented in the Ormond Bar: who's who and what's what in Sirens
  • Lunch.
  • Session 2: Music Hath Charms:The songs sung in the Ormond and Bloom's response to them
  • Afternoon tea
  • Session 3: Music into Words and Vice Versa: looking at the fugue form and how it informs Joyce’s experiment with music in prose

We recommend you listen to the chapter: the RTE recording adds a great deal of clarifying musical detail to the reading:


Please note the new venue - the newly refurbished basement of Celtic at Metro, 38-42 Courtney St., North Melbourne. It's very easy to access by Public Transport, being just around the corner from the Flemington Rd/Elizabeth St. roundabout near the new Peter McCallum Hospital, and the pub is right upstairs for our debrief.

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