From 1904 Dublin to the Megacity: Public Access in Ulysses and Katarina Schröter’s The Visitor

November 13, 2014

This talk raises the question of urban knowing, of processes of knowledge that take place outside of familial, social and professional contexts and that depend upon the urban fabric. It looks at the means used to construct and represent such processes in literary and filmic representations of the city and the megacity. It examines Schröter’s 2014 filmed record of encounters with strangers in Shanghai, Mumbai and Sao Paulo and her passage from the street to the dwelling places of these randomly encountered individuals. To begin thinking about the complexities of Schröter’s engagements, the talk looks at Joyce’s representations of urban life at a series of scales: a scene between Leopold Bloom and an old acquaintance on a Dublin street, a montage of multiple events in the city, and a comprehensive description of the municipal waterworks’ route to a kitchen. It compares the technical means availed of by Joyce and Schröter: urban (infrastructure, systems of circulation), artistic (stream of consciousness, static camera, montage) and personal (both Joyce and Schröter’s personae engage in silent looking, empathy and mimicry) and it considers the pressures put upon those means by the megacity.

Catherine Flynn works on British and Irish modernist literature. Her book project, James Joyce, Walter Benjamin and the Matter of Modernity, reads Ulysses and Finnegans Wake alongside the Arcades Project, considering Joyce and Benjamin’s radical rejections of the conventions of fiction and theory within a context of urban writing that ranges from nineteenth-century realist fiction to twentieth-century surrealist works.

Flynn joined the Department of English in 2012. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University’s Introduction to the Humanities Program from 2009 to 2012. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2009 and her B.A. in English and Philosophy from University College Cork in 2000. She practiced as an architect in Ireland and in Vienna, Austria; she has a B.Arch from University College Dublin.

The complete PowerPoint presentation can be viewed here.
Video of the presentation can be viewed here.

Readings and Resources:

Katarina Schröter's film The Visitor (74 minutes) will be screened the day before the lecture:

Wednesday, November 12, 5 p.m.
Wurster 106

Professor Flynn will be discussing the following passages from James Joyce's Ulysses, which can be accessed in an online version at

"Lestrygonians," lines 200-315, 
"Wandering Rocks," lines 208-256
"Ithaca," lines 160-185

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