"james joyce message board"

my response to a fruitless google search

‘Le conseiller’ and the Cinematic-Literary Hybrid

Le conseiller (2013)

I was in Québec when Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor released to theatre, which forced me to attend a screening of the dubbed French version. Understanding only about one tenth of the dialogue I was left to focus on the visuals, piecing together the plot while reading on-screen body language and listening to the intonation of le doublage francophone. While the dialogue specifics were lost on me I nevertheless followed the narrative, fully enjoying the isolation of immersion as a form of cinematic engagement.

Random House published McCarthy’s original screenplay for The Counselor and I read it afterwards as a supplement to my in-theatre experience. Reading McCarthy’s text, which varies from the final edit of the screenplay used for The Counselor‘s anglophone release, gave me an altogether different experience of the film. In the cinémathèque I watched actors dislocated from their lines. It was pure movement, driven by the script, but removed from it. When I read the screenplay I recalled the scenes in my mind, remembered the mise-en-scène, the expression, the cinematography, but I fit the images and the sound and the lighting to McCarthy’s literary voice, untampered with by studio executives and producers before release. I appreciated the details of this screenplay that were omitted from the final edit, as when Malkina reveals that she is from Buenos Aires. This is a minor point, a detail that was later altered and left out of the film, but that line Buenos Aires completely changed her character and affected my reading of the film. I’m grateful that the screenplay was published in tandem with the cinematic release so I could accidentally experience this inversion of the cinematic and the literary across languages and mediums.


On Being and Essence (Endpapers)


St. Thomas Aquinas, On Being and Essence. Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1968.


James Joyce and Heraldry

James Joyce & Heraldry

Joyce scholarship is compelling because it is a process of untangling rather opaque riddles and attempting to provide as many solutions as possible. After years of reading Joyce I hadn’t thought for a moment that heraldry might be of any significance, but I found this book by Michael J. O’Shea and it provided me a new way of looking. Published by SUNY Press in 1986, it combs through Joyce’s corpus to demonstrate that heraldry is an essential key to the symbols therein. Full of heraldic language and illustrations, the book provides the reader with a history of heraldry in literature and is exhaustive in its presentation of how heraldry functions in Joyce. I look forward to acquiring a copy of David Gordon Butler’s Bishop John Strachan and Heraldry in the University of Trinity College, Toronto (Stratford Herald Publishing) and reading it in tandem with O’Shea because I’m certain they will compliment each other in a manner befitting the subject. 

Musée des beaux-arts du Québec

Personnages et étoile, after Joan Miró (2014)


La collection William S. Paley
un goût pour l’art moderne
a été organisée par la

Jas de Bouffon de Cézanne,
the farm of his focus.

Cheeks flecked red and

Degas’ ballerinas in
Buenos Aires et Québec?

“It’s only there that I can discover the movement of the Greeks”
Degas on dancers

I’m not impressed by Jean-Paul Riopelle.

Cultural Property Export and Import Act,
ministère de la culture et des communications du Québec

Le Jockey

«la splendide barbe rousse»


—D’où venons-nous? Que
sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?
MFA de Boston, Van Gogh

—nu couché
unimpressed by Matisse.

L’expressionisme et la foi

Georges Rouault’s
tête de clown

Francis Bacon
Joan Miró

la peinture mystique

Rodin’s bronzes
Juan Gris
Nicolo Picasso

Ashe’s House

John Kane | “fauvXe”

Kelly Wood, London ON

World Soundscape Proj.


épiphanies et allégories

Jean-Baptiste Côté created this statue
of Gutenberg for the Québec City printers
and typographers float for the Saint-Jean
Baptiste parade of 1880. Based on work
by David d’Angers

et la lumière fut

Ashe’s House, Charleston,
South Carolina, 1929

Hopper’s bricks

Rouault’s portrait of
Ambroise Vollard


Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball

Today I had a few hours to kill in a city not my own so I went to a Chapters Indigo outlet and started Jesse Ball’s new novel Silence Once Begun. After ~sixty pages the torturous music at Chapters became unbearable and I had to leave. I went to a nearby Burger King and got a coffee and read the Toronto Sun.

I didn’t have any money to buy Silence so I quit just before starting a new section, the first dialogue with Oda’s father. The pages leading up to this point were fresh, exactly the style I’ve craved for a long time. It’s sparse and almost journalistic in its presentation of fragmented conversation, transcribed glimpses of legal mechanisms and their languages. The Interviewer’s work, his words, his interviews, look best laid out as a table of contents. That’s what excited me most, the table that looked like a court document, an affidavit reading dry but glowing with what’s behind it. This novel moves toward a new kind of detective fiction, a fiction that goes beyond hyper-realism to something found in legalese and piles of paperwork, evidence that reads how evidence really reads. I can’t wait to continue.

Computer Chess


Still from Computer Chess (2013)

Yesterday I watched Computer Chess  and today I read that Google bought DeepMind, the artificial intelligence firm founded by Demis Hassabis, former chess prodigy. Chess and artificial intelligence have a rich combined history and Andrew Bujalski’s film functions as an entertaining primer on that relationship. It’s what I’d call an AI period piece, and the scenes that work best are the ones that replicate the atmosphere of academic colloquia. I don’t think I have ever before seen grad student mannerisms depicted in film with such fidelity.

Tao Lin interviewed Bujalski for Motherboard and you can read their conversation here.

Philately I

Philately I