Akasic records

When Stephen imagines in Telemachus that his mother has been “Folded away in the memory of nature with her toys,” readers may suspect that he is indulging a passing idiosyncratic fancy. But at Stephen's age Joyce was expressing belief in a universal memory, as in his 1902 lecture on James Clarence Mangan: "In those vast courses which enfold us and in that great memory which is greater and more generous than our memory, no life, no moment of exaltation is ever lost." Later chapters in the novel show that he remained interested in the theosophical notion of a cosmic memory that "enfolds" the lives of all sentient beings in a kind of universal library. Stephen ponders these "akasic records" in Aeolus, and in Oxen of the Sun the narrative glances at the similar idea of a "plasmic memory."

John Hunt 2011

The Long Room, the old library of Trinity College, Dublin, ca. 1885, in a photograph held in the National Library of Ireland. Source: twistedsifter.com.

Photographic portrait of Alfred Percy Sinnett, date unknown. Source: Wikimedia Commons.