Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thanks for visiting

Hello! Thank you for visiting this site and checking out my project. If the only thing you love is James Joyce, then I have some unfortunate news. Unless an eccentric millionaire steps in as a benevolent patron for this project (could it be you?) my other commitments make it impossible for me to focus on Joyce-related illustration for the time being.

However! I am working on another project that I’d love for you to see. It’s an ongoing serialised comic called The City, produced in collaboration with Melanie AmaralThe City is a dark comedy about the collapse of civilisation, which follows the misadventures of a diverse but equally doomed cast of characters in the aftermath of World War I. Jim Gavin, author of Middle Men, called it “an elegant noir labyrinth constructed of proletarian dreams.”

You can see samples of The City at the website here, where you can also buy copies or download PDFs of both issues for as little as $0!

So I hope you’ll check it out. But if you’re here for Joyce, then welcome, and just scroll down and eat your fill.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ulysses Chapter 1: Telemachus

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding land and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ulysses Chapter 13: Nausicaa

And then a rocket sprang and bang shot blind blank and O! then the Roman candle burst and it was like a sigh of O! and everyone cried O! O! in raptures and it gushed out of it a stream of rain gold hair threads and they shed and ah! they were all greeny dewy stars falling with golden, O so lovely, O, soft, sweet, soft!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ulysses Chapter 6: Hades

Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland’s hearts and hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybody really?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ulysses Chapter 2: Nestor

—I fear those big words, Stephen said, which make us so unhappy.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ulysses Chapter 12: Cyclops

And says he:
—Mendelssohn was a jew and Karl Marx and Mercadante and Spinoza. And the Saviour was a jew and his father was a jew. Your God.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ulysses Chapter 8: Lestrygonians

His heart astir he pushed in the door of the Burton restaurant. Stink gripped his trembling breath: pungent meatjuice, slush of greens. See the animals feed.
Obviously I’m not going to get through the book before tomorrow, but I’m enjoying myself, so I’ll keep going anyway.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ulysses Chapter 4: Calypso

—There’s a smell of burn, she said. Did you leave anything on the fire?
—The kidney! he cried suddenly.
He fitted the book roughly into his inner pocket and, stubbing his toes against the broken commode, hurried out towards the smell, stepping hastily down the stairs with a flurried stork’s legs.
Here’s another scene from Ulysses (featuring a surprisingly controversial kitchen door). I’m trying to develop a lot more looseness in the drawings than I usually manage, because Richard Thompson is amazing, and I want to be amazing.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ulysses Chapter 9: Scylla and Charybdis

Here’s another Ulysses illustration, this one featuring Stephen again, plus AE, Buck Mulligan and a completely invented John Eglinton (I couldn’t find a photograph).

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ulysses chapter 3: Proteus

I hope to have some big Finnegans Wake-related news ready for you next week, but in the meantime, I’ve started doing illustrations of Ulysses for this year’s Bloomsday. Will I finish every chapter in time? Let’s find out! Here’s my first attempt: chapter three, Proteus.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mookse and Gripes: winsome wonsome ways

I’m so close to finishing this!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mookse and Gripes: Nuée! Nuée!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A hundred thousand times welcome!

If you came here from the Guardian, thank you for dropping by! I hope you’ll take a look through the archive (on the left) or the index, maybe glance at the Finnegans Wake reading resources, and please leave a comment. I love comments.

I’ve got big plans in the near future involving a Mookse and a Gripes, so I do hope you’ll be back.

Also, are you a student or academic who has made use of this project? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Mookse and the Gripes: Moo and Gri

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Mookse and the Gripes: newwhere so airly

Monday, March 9, 2015

No Maps: Finnegans Wake and Fiction

Is Finnegans Wake a novel? This was the subject of a discussion I had a couple of weeks ago, and my initial response was perhaps a little weak: if it’s not a novel, what on earth is it?

It’s tempting to see the Wake as a complete literary outlier. I mean, let’s face it, it’s pretty weird. But it uses all the same techniques as any other novel; it’s only the way they’re applied that’s unique. That’s what makes it so fascinating. It’s like the Centre Pompidou: it’s a novel with its insides turned out.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Mookse and the Gripes: efter thousand yaws

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finnegans Wake!

Due to extreme stupidity on my part, the site was down for the last week or so, while I was on holiday. But normal service has been restored! Tell your friends!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Some more thoughts on reading Finnegans Wake

How do you read Finnegans Wake? This has to be the single most troubling question of the whole book. In my last post I talked about the idea of “experiencing”it without necessarily understanding it, which is certainly an important aspect of Joyce’s composition, but it’s hardly a satisfying response to the question. After all, you’d have to be crazy to uncomprehendingly slog through a book of over 600 pages on the vague promise of some intangible psychic reward. So how do we read it? Or to aim a little lower, how do we define the appropriate attitude of a reader to this book in a way that I can summarise in a short blog post?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why understand when you can reenact?

In Joyce’s day, the Catholic mass that he attended as a child – and occasionally as an adult, for aesthetic appreciation – was given in Latin. You can read part of the rite of the Eucharist at the beginning of Ulysses: “Introibo ad altare Dei,” says Buck Mulligan, as he pretends to bless his shaving soap. In theory, everyone who had done their catechism should have learnt the parts of the mass and their meanings. But, in practice, I wonder how many congregants really understood what was going on, and how many simply memorised when to stand and when to kneel?

When we read a book – or a newspaper, or a post-it note, for that matter – there’s one question that always occurs first in our minds. “What does it mean?” Depending on the complexity of what we’re reading, we might not even have time to form the question in our minds before it’s answered. When we read Finnegans Wake, we might grow tired of the sound of our own voices saying it. But in the history of human thought and writing and speaking and singing, there is a vast and rarely thought-about tradition of ritual storytelling, in which understanding is the last thing on anyone’s mind.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Page 34: a pair of dainty maidservants

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Page 33: annoying welsh fusiliers

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Page 38: our cad's bit of strife

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Page 37: ere the hour of the twattering of bards

Friday, January 9, 2015

A cry for help

I’ve been working on this project for a while, at home by myself, when I should be doing work that pays or playing with my son... and I’ve been thinking for some time now about the possibility of turning this project into some kind of graduate project, but I’ve held back from applying anywhere due to a debilitating combination of inertia and fear.

But that ends now! So I’m asking for help.

I know I get a lot of visitors from many college campuses; I don’t know why, possibly my work has been mentioned in an influential psychiatric textbook. Are you, yes YOU, an academic? Do you have any advice you’d like to give me? Have you ever used my work in an academic context that you’d like to tell me about? I want to hear it! Please email me at stephen (at)! And thanks.

Page 35: a cad with a pipe

Ah, it’s like revisiting old friends, discovering they’re hideous, and completely redrawing them.

Is that a good analogy?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Page 36: a nice how-do-you-do

I’m revisiting some old ones right now, in preparation for a talk I’m giving in February. More to come!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Page 160: down to the thither bank

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Page 152½: his father’s sword

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Page 107: who in hallhagal wrote the durn thing anyhow?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Page 162: a singult tear

This is the last page of The Mookse and The Gripes, but not the last page I have to do.