Vladimir Nabokov

Nabokov drew this diagram, which maps the itineraries of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus in twelve episodes, for a course he taught called Masters of European Fiction. The Russian American novelist described these classes as “a kind of detective investigation of the mystery of literary structures.” He encouraged his pupils to approach artworks as entirely new worlds, study them closely in and of themselves, and “fondle the details.” In his notes for Ulysses, Nabokov draws attention to the novel’s synchronicities as exemplary of Joyce’s supreme artistic control—pointing out the near misses and intersections of Bloom and Stephen (“a kind of slow dance of fate”) and of language, gesture, and thought—“Everything is in correspondence.”

Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977)
Map of Leopold Bloom’s and Stephen Dedalus’s travels through Dublin, ca. 1948–58
Graphite and colored pencil
The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
© Vladimir Nabokov, used by permission of The Wylie Agency LLC