Saturday, September 06, 2003

I'm having a lovely day. 84 degrees with a gentle
wind. And I found Rejoyce by Anthony Burgess
at the thrift store for a measley ten cents. That's
right. You heard me. Ten centaroos. Nothing feels
better than finding a book you've been wanting for
awhile at a thrift store. A present from the universe.
Joyce the Sponger

James Joyce has been called literature's greatest
He was known for his ability to borrow money
with no intention of ever paying it back. He borrowed
from everyone: friends, enemies, students, supporters,
family (on the rare occasion that they had any money).

While I share Joyce's usual financial status (broke), I
cringe from borrowing money and usually resort to
selling books or other desperate measures. (this is
probably as good a place as any to mention that a
five dollar donation would allow me to get my last
$18.00 out of my Paypal account)

There were times when Joyce would have to use each
days earnings from teaching to pay for that night's
lodging. Nora and Georgio would sit in the park all day
until Joyce had the money in hand from that day's
student to pay the landlord for another night. Then
they'd all go to the room until the next morning when
the whole rigamarole would start up again.

When he had to go to the hospital, in severe pain with
the perforated duodenal ulcer which was to kill him, he hesitated over the necessary operation and
asked his son, "How will we pay for it?". Joyce was
rarely without money troubles .

Friday, September 05, 2003

Page 53 of Ellman’s biography of James Joyce
contains the following sentence: “Joyce sang
all in a sweet but rather weak tenor voice”. It
is not a quote from someone else, but Ellman’s
own words and I take issue with them.

Joyce was a fine singer. He did not have the
range of John McCormack, but that’s no justifica-
tion for calling his voice weak. Joyce won a bronze
medal at the 1904 Feis Ceol, a competition which
brought together tenors (and other singers) from
all over Ireland. The judge had planned on giving
Joyce the gold medal, but could not because Joyce
refused to participate in the sight singing portion
of the competition.

He was offered a scholarship with the greatly
respected voice teacher Benedetto Palmieri, who
offered to train Joyce for three years in exchange
for ten percent of his concert earnings. In a country
that produces talented tenors by the score, an offer
like that, in addition to Joyce’s Feis medal, indicate
that his voice stood out among others. There were -
and are - many weak tenors. James Joyce wasn’t
one of them.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Well I missed my post yesterday, damn
it. 17 year old son troubles. Which got
me thinking about Papa Joyce. I think
Nora handled most of the parenting duties
but Joyce was extremely attached to his
children. He was proud of Georgio’s
tenor voice. He thought Lucia had
inherited his genius, but that it had
gone awry for some reason with Lucia.
Here’s a letter he sent to her while she was
in the Nyon sanatorium. Later that year, after
setting fire to her room, she was transferred
to an asylum in Zurich and then to Karl Jung’s

Dear Lucia: Mamma has dispatched to you
today some articles of clothing. As soon as
the list of what you want comes we will send
off the things immediately...

Mamma is chattering on the telephone with
the lady above who dances the one-step so
well and fished my note of a thousand lire
out of the lift. The subject of the conversation
between them is the lady on the fifth floor who
breeds dogs. These 'friends of man' hinder the
lady on the fourth floor from meditating like the
Buddha. Now they have finished with dogs and
are speaking of me.

I see great progress in your last letter but at the
same time there is a sad note which we do not
like. Why do you always sit at the window? No
doubt it makes a pretty picture but a girl walking
in the fields also makes a pretty picture. Write to
us oftener. And let's forget money troubles and
black thoughts. Ti abbraccio...

— James Joyce (1879-1940),
Letter to Lucia Joyce, 15 June 1934
(42, rue Galilée, Paris)

More on Lucia including pics here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Here’s an interesting item from the May 2003
edition of the James Joyce Newestlatter:

A signed first edition of Ulysses sold for a record
$460,500 at Christie’s in New York in October

You too can receive the James Joyce Newestlatter
by becoming a member of the International James
Joyce Foundation. More info here.

Monday, September 01, 2003

More on James Joyce's literary habits. I found this
informative page on the James Joyce Portal. To see
how this thread began, go to the post for Aug. 17 .

Joyce liked these writers greatly:
Shakespeare, Aristotle, Dante, Homer, Ibsen,
Flaubert, Ben Jonson, Defoe, Chaucer, Yeats,
Wordsworth, Tolstoy, Jacobsen, D Annunzio,
Chekhov, Plutarch, Stendhal, Donne, Hans
Hans Christian Anderson, Hemingway.

He had mixed feelings about these authors:
Whitman, Maupassant, Kipling, Dostoevski, Eliot,
Shelley, Gide, London, Harte.

He disliked these writers:
Wagner, Synge, Hardy, Turgeniev, Balzac,
Thackeray, Thoreau, Browning, Tennyson, Goethe.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

A Joycean day . Today I purchased the last
set of bricks for my labyrinth. Drove home with
300 pounds of bricks in the back of my Jeep.
Saturday I purchased 420 pounds of bricks and
100 pounds of sand. Friday I purchased 384
pounds of bricks and my first 100 pounds of sand.
What was the total number of bricks Kelly bought
for her labyrinth? 184 . Who knew bricks were so

I’ve been attracted to labyrinths for a long time,
before I knew of their relation to Joyce. They
always seemed so much kinder than mazes. So
we’re building one in my backyard. I’ll post a photo
when I’m finished.

The other Joycean part of my day was when I did
the dishes. I put my daughter’s discman into my
itchy wool purse and put it over my shoulder. While
washing, I listened to the first in a series of lectures
by Joseph Campbell called “Wings of Art”. All about
James Joyce.... The first 45 minutes were spectacular.

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