Everyday Semiotics

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The king was in his countinghouse

So recently one of the folks in my Ulysses reading group stumbled across, at Amherst College's Johnson Chapel, a rest room decorated with Joyceana. I took a field trip there this past weekend to investigate. Essentially there are four quotations: the opening and closing lines of Ulysses (3.1-5, 643.1596-1609) and the opening lines of Giacomo Joyce. I've posted more photos on Flickr.

I emailed the Amherst English department to see what I could learn about this wonderful little curiosity. Professor John Cameron replies:

The “grafitti” appeared mysteriously sometime in the 1980s or late 1970s (I’ve forgotten but can look it up). For a long time the mystery of their appearance remained. But someone hinted that the answer could be found in one of the senior class books (for that year which I’ve forgotten). I looked it up and there is a picture of four young women students doing the job. Several of them were students in my Joyce course. I have a Xerox copy of the picture. A few years later someone, still unknown to me then inscribed the excerpt from Derek Walcott. A few times since there have been crude attempts to add comments. We’ve managed to have most of them removed.

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At 8:46 AM, Blogger Tyrone Slothrop said...

The Derek Walcott inscription reads thus:

Rhyme remains the parenthesis of palms
Shielding a candle's tongue, it is the language's
Desire to enclose the loved one in its arms.


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