With the support of DFA, Culture Ireland and the University of Notre Dame
Audio walking tour in Joyce’s Paris
This commissioned audio tour looks at the importance of public space to Joyce, who had to negotiate it with very poor eyesight, and how our movement through the city can bring us closer to the ideas in the book. Sound artist and composer Rachel Ní Chuinn teamed up with Joycean scholars Declan Kiberd, Barry McCrea and Katherine O'Callaghan to help answer these questions.
The places and addresses that are evoked in the audio work are rue de l'Assomption, Joyce’s first real residence in Paris; Passy; square de Robiac, where the Joyce family lived for longest; 9 rue de l'Université, the site of the original Hotel Lenox where the family stayed from time to time; 29 rue du Cherche-Midi, where Joyce’s optician Dr Louis Borsch practiced; place du 18 juin 1940, the site of his favourite restaurant Les Trianons; 8 rue Dupuytren, original location of Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co; 12 rue de l'Odéon, later address of Beach's Shakespeare & Co; 71 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, where Joyce finished writing Ulysses in Valéry Larbaud's apartment. Another location of significance is the statue of Sainte Geneviève at the Pont de la Tournelle.
Rachel penned the poem below, to read if you want, before journeying with her through the streets of Paris from wherever you are sitting now!
I suggest down by the Seine, why not?
The mother’s breast nourishing her city
And Joyce did love his mother dearly, as she did him, her pet, I’d guess.
If we go to the river, we will not be alone, Joyce loved the river,
this river that dissects the city like a flea’s back,
not east and west, not north and south, but left and right
Now Jim would have had his cane, an ashplant, proud Irish wood,
tapping and poking at the Paris streets,not just to test and see what they're made of
but also to navigate by touch and sound.
Put on your headphones and take a walk with me
while we think about life and Joyce and Paris and words.
Rachel Ní Chuinn