Saint Genevieve

Stephen's extensive recollections in Proteus of the time that he spent in Paris, after his university days and prior to his mother's death, are anticipated by one such memory in Nestor. The "library of Saint Genevieve," located on the Place du Panthéon, contains a large salle de lecture that is magnificent but utterly lacking in overhead illumination. It would have been quite dramatically dark as Stephen read there "night by night," and he takes the darkness as a metaphor for his own mind. On the desks were "glowlamps" that cast circles of light for reading.

JH 2012

The reading room of the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The page from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell from which Gifford quotes (Blake's illumination shows the eagle of a subsequent paragraph, rather than dragons). Source: