Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

All-Ireland Architecture Research Group Conference 2016


“You are walking through it howsomever. I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space.” (Joyce,1986, p.31).

James Joyce wrote about Dublin from a position of exile. He created a model Dublin, one in which he mixed people and places, events and activities, real and imagined and combined them into a city that suited his own ends.

This imagined city has been examined remotely in a multiplicity of ways, and by people in a way that the real city has not. One can ask whether it is Dublin at all?

Developing on from an earlier paper to be published in a forthcoming edition of Iterations, the Irish Design Journal, and from the running blog, this paper develops the themes of the model city that Joyce created and the importance of exile in the creation of his city. It looks closely at real events that took place in the city and compares them with imagined events in the literature, examining the changes that Joyce made to suit his dramatic ends. Scrupulously accurate about some details, Joyce’s manipulations involved people and events, but he also moved buildings to suit his narrative and his motivations. The places he chose are deliberate, and his writing created a textual layer, adding depth to these locations.

As well as James Joyce, other people play with the city to suit their own ends and various examples are examined.

Cities are not just economic engines and we all use them in different ways. Joyce was playing with the city, and in exile using it in a different way to all of its citizens. He was having fun with it and he was having fun with us. “I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant.” (Ellmann, 1983, p.521).