The Dublin Helix
The Life of Language in Joyce's Ulysses
AUTHOR: Knowles, Sebastian D. G.
PUBLISHER: University Press of Florida
Also available at Amazon.com
"[Knowles] willfully, unapologetically, ludically, and joyfully treats Ulysses as literature's greatest puzzle palace. It is the first full-scale book concerned not partially or incidentally but wholly, wholeheartedly, and sympathetically with the cache-cache games that Joyce unquestionably likes to play with his readers. Knowles brings a cryptographer's mind and a musician's ear to Joyce's musemathematical masterpiece, with results that are often illuminating and always stimulating."-- John Gordon, Connecticut College
"[This book's] discoveries in music, mathematics, linguistics, and cultural studies are consonant with the best specialized studies I have read; yet it provides first-time readers with methods that will enrich their experience of Joyce."-- Michael J. O'Shea, Newberry College
Embracing improbable and wildly anachronistic connections, Sebastian Knowles has devised a new approach to reading Ulysses, one that makes its author less of a modernist and more of a prophet of contemporary science, literature, and critical thought.
The Dublin Helix is a puzzle book, taking as its method James Joyce's own playful manipulations of language and matching them with entertaining word searches, acrostics, and other enigmas. Knowles finds ways into Ulysses that have never before been imagined, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to the structure for genetic material. Each chapter presents a puzzle, and each solution completes a little more of the picture of the vital language of the modern classic. By the end, the strange and wonderful text that is Joyce's Ulysses may be finally pieced together.
Both entertainment and scholarship, the book presents Joyce scholars with much that is new, a great deal that is controversial, and an unusual willingness to allow for misreadings and bogus statements. With appendixes that will make inviting handouts (originally developed for Knowles's own students), the book also offers an excellent introduction to a Ulysses course.
Sebastian D. G. Knowles, associate professor of English at Ohio State University, is the editor of Bronze by Gold: The Music of Joyce, the coauthor of An Annotated Bibliography of a Decade of T. S. Eliot Criticism, and the author of A Purgatorial Flame, a study of the literature of World War II.
PUBLICATION DATE: 4/22/2001
CATEGORY: Literary Criticism