"[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.
No Sample Chapter AvailableAwards
Choice Outstanding Academic Title - 2002
Michael J. Durkan Prize for Books on Language and Culture - 2002
"Scholarly and irreverent at the same time, and its freshness and humor are contagious. If its true that Joyce said his novel would keep professors busy for centuries figuring out what he meant, Knowles was whittled off at least a few of those years with this puzzle solving talent and wit. Recommended for anyone at any level interested in Ulysses and James Joyce." - Choice Magazine
"For those who enjoy richly textured, challenging literary works like Ulysses, this is a book to read, to play with, to argue against, and to learn from." - English Literature in Transition
--English Literature in Transition
"The Dublin Helix is a rare beast--one of those few critical books that leaves the reader longing to get back to the primary text , in this case, in order to enjoy what Knowles has made him understand in a new way."
--Studies in the Novel (at U. of N. Texas, Denton)