Friday, August 08, 2003

Monday, July 07, 2003

- Ho Hum -

I need something new to read. Of course, one can
always read Ulysses again and find something
new. Ulysses is a little like the Bible. You don't
read the Bible through once, end to end, then
slam it closed and say "Yep, done with that one!"
It's a lifelong reading process. But that's not
what I want to read right now. It's summer,
there's a breeze; I need something lighter than

That's the problem with having a dead person
as your favorite author. If my favorite author
was the same as my 11 year old daughter's
I'd have a big, new, fat 800 page book in my
hands right now.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

- Ye Banks and Braes -

Joyce used over 1000 songs in his works.
He had originally considered being a professional
singer. He sang professionally before he left
Dublin and entered a large competition. He won
second place and was offered a scholarship to
study with a renowned Italian singer but he
was so pissed off at not winning the damn thing
that he chucked his musical career all together.

He still sang however, at home, and sometimes at
small gatherings of close friends or when off drinking
with buddies. I read once that he sang at a small
birthday gathering in his honor. I think it was at the
Jolas's house, and it was a few days after his daughter
Lucia had been institutionalized. He sang "Ye Banks and
Braes" by Robert Burns:

Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny Doon
How can you bloom so fresh and fair
How can ye chant ye little bird
Wi I sae weary fu o' care
Thou't breaks my heart, the warbling bird
That wantons oer the flow'ry glen
Thou minds me o' departed joy
Departed never to return......

Saturday, July 05, 2003

- Please Mr. Postman -

Even those who haven't read Ulysses are sure
to be familiar with Molly's soliloquoy and
the resulting term "stream of consciousness".
While Joyce was the first to use SOC in a
literary work, credit must also be given to Nora,
who influenced him greatly. Here is the text
from one of her early letters to Joyce, punctuation hers:

Leinster Street -- August 1904

My Dearest
My loneliness which I have so deeply felt,
since we parted last night seemed to fade away
as if by magic but, alas, it was only for
a short time, and I then became worse than ever.
when I read your letter from the moment that I
close my eyes till I open them again in the morning.
It seems to me that I am always in your
company under every possible variety of circumstances
talking to you walking with you meeting you suddenly
in different places until I am beginning to wonder
if my spirit takes leave of my body in sleep and goes
to seek you, and what is more find you or
perhaps this is nothing but a fantasy. Occasionally
too I fall into a fit of melancholy that
lasts for the day and which I find almost
impossible to dispel it is about time now
I think that I should finish this letter as the
more I write the lonelier I feel in consequence
of you being so far away and the thought of
having to write write [sic] what I would wish
to speak were you beside me makes me feel utterly
miserable so with best wishes and love I now close.

Believe me to be ever yours XXXXXXX

Norah Barnacle

Not many of Nora's letters to Joyce have
survived, but you can find Joyce's letters in
this book: Selected Letters of James Joyce by
Richard Ellman (Viking 1975).

You can read some of his more erotic letters to Nora

If your interested in finding out about Joyce's
use of letters in his work check out this paper by
Leah Hill, "Engaged in an ‘Epizzle’:Reading Issy's Practice Letter
in Finnegans Wake with the Printed Letters in Ulysses .

Friday, July 04, 2003

- A Bit About Himself -

He was born on Thursday, February 2, 1882 in
Rathgar, a suburb of Dublin. It was a
misty day with rain and a south easterly
wind. The first Bloomsday was June 16, 1904,
a fine, breezy day with four hours of sunshine
and a clear night. He died on January 13, 1941 in
Zurich of a perforated ulcer and generalized
peritonitis. His body was carried to Fluntern Cemetary
on January 15th, a cold, snowy day, as snowflakes
fluttered silently around the people who loved
him, sifting onto the tops of tombstones and
resting on the graves, old and new.

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