Saturday, October 04, 2008


A new Zealand Professor has come up with an interesting

“A close analysis of Einstein's Special Theory of
Relativity published in 1905 and Joyce's novel Ulysses,
which is set in 1904, suggests that they had much in
common,” Professor Corballis says. “Indeed Leopold Bloom,
the central character of Ulysses, might have anticipated
Einstein's theory if only Joyce had allowed him to live
on for another year.”

Professor Corballis and Alan Sanson, PhD student, will
investigate this theory in this month’s professorial
lecture, The Race for Relativity: How the Hero of James
Joyce’s Ulysses Almost Forestalled Albert Einstein’s

Find out more here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Of the many, many musical references that Joyce uses
in Ulysses, there are some that are quite significant
and some that are only briefly alluded to. One of the
more significant references, though it's appearance is
much more concise than songs like The Croppy Boy and
Love's Old Sweet Song is the traditional Irish song
Suil a Run. It is used in the Ithaca chapter. Chapter
17 of Ulysses (Ithaca) is written entirely in question
and answer form, like a catechism.

At one point as Stephen and Bloom walk back to Bloom's
house, they each refer to one song, which represents
their culture. Bloom picks a Hebrew song with which I
am unfamiliar. Stephen chooses a song which tells of a
young woman who is pining for her lover, who has fled to
France. If you don't have your copy of Ulysses handy, you
can find this portion on the internet here. But this
particular question and answer are below:

"What fragments of verse from the ancient Hebrew and ancient
Irish languages were cited with modulations of voice and
translation of texts by guest to host and by host to guest?
By Stephen: suil, suil, suil arun, suil go siocair agus suil
go cuin (walk, walk, walk your way, walk in safety, walk with
care). By Bloom: kifeloch, harimon rakatejch m'baad l'zamatejch
(thy temple amid thy hair is as a slice of pomegranate). "

There are many recordings of Suil a Run. The best is on the
album All of It by the band Skylark. Instrumentally, the song
is simple and perfect and no one sings it as beautifully as
Len Graham does in this recording. Suil Arun (the spelling
varies) is also a song from Joyce's personal repertoire. Listen
to it if you get the chance. The link above provides a sample
of the song.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tis the Last Rose of Summer

’Tis the Last Rose of Summer

A hauntingly beautiful song written by Thomas
Moore, also used in the opera Martha by Flotow.
One of his most popular songs, ‘Tis the Last
Rose of Summer sold over a million copies -
quite an achievement for a song in the late 1800s.
(Moore will receive a post of his own later on
this blog). More recently, Ken Burns used it as
background music for his documentary “New York”.
I don’t know of Joyce singing this one anywhere
but it certainly seems like one that would be in
his personal repertoire. It’s in his range
and all about loneliness and being left alone....

He used in the Sirens chapter like so:
“Last rose Castille of summer left bloom I feel so
sad alone.”...“Under the sandwichbell lay on a bier
of bread one last, one lonely last sardine of summer.
Bloom alone.”

Here are the lyrics of the first verse:
'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming all alone,
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
No flower of her kindred,
No rose bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Anniversary to James and Nora, married
this day in 1931 after living together for
26 years. They were married in London and
this well known photo may be the first
documented episode of paparazzi. Note Joyce's
frown and Nora turning her head.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Some Songs You Know and Some You Don't

The hot temperatures here are not conducive to long
thoughtful posts. But here's something to think

Songs you probably know about in Joyce's Works:

Love's Old Sweet Song
I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls
The Croppy Boy
Finnegan's Wake

Songs you probably don't know about in Joyce's

Chin, Chin, Chinaman
The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze
Farmer in the Dell
Toot, Toot, Tootsie.

Monday, June 16, 2008

June 16, 2004

A very Happy Bloomsday to those of you
celebrating today.

And to Nosey Flynn - Happy Birthday ! !

Friday, June 13, 2008


Happy birthday William Butler Yeats
and Tyler Nolan.

James Joyce tried to emulate Yeats not in
writing but in music making.

One of Joyce's early ideas was to be a
traveling minstrel, sort of a 20th century
O’Carolan. He had heard that Yeats had recently
puchased a hand made lute. Here’s how he
explained it in a letter to Gogarty written
June 3rd, 1904:
“My idea for July and August is this - to get
Dolmetsch to make me a lute and to coast the
south of England from Falmouth to Margate,
singing old English songs”

And he told Padraic Colum that the tour would be
“personally conducted, like the Emperor Nero’s
tour in Greece.”

The plan didn’t work out. Dolmetsch, the one who had
made a similar instrument for Yeats, was hesitant
to make another one. He told Joyce that making a
lute would be highly expensive and “I could hardly
say when it would be finished. The lute is moreover
extremely difficult to play and very troublesome to
keep in order.” He recommended Joyce use a spinet
or harpsichord. Joyce gave up on the idea instead.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Good Day at Work for Ms. Beach

The first Frenchman to purchase a copy
of Ulysses was Andre Gide. (Actually, by
purchase, I mean fill in an order blank at
Shakespeare and Co to receive a copy of
the book when it arrived. )

The first American: Ernest Hemingway,
one of Sylvia Beach’s best customers.

Later that same day, Ezra Pound personally
delivered a subscription blank filled in
by W.B. Yeats and put in his order.

Imagine Andre Gide, Ernest Hemingway
and Ezra Pound all coming in your book-
store on the same day. That’s what I call
a good day at work.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Early Bloomsday in Lisbon

PORTUGAL’S IRISH Association holds Joyce
festivities on June 6th including a reading
from Ulysses by Joycean scholar, David Norris.

Admission is free and the evening will start with
a reception hosted by Vincent Herlihy of the Irish
Embassy. The performance will start at 7.30pm
and will finish by 9pm.

The Irish association is located at Casa Fernando
Pessoa, Rua Coelho da rocha N˚16, Lisbon.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ulysses Reviewed

UK paper The Independent ran a review of
Ulysses this weekend entitled:

Book of a Lifetime: Ulysses by James

Chosen by Michael Horovitz who wrote:

“For liberation of language, imagery,
punctuation and sound effects; for stream
of subconscious and shifting points of
view; for dream realities and inner
monologues; for the incorporation of every
extreme of parody, play, epiphany, and
uncensored speech or thought, in a
wondrously ebullient wordhoard that
celebrates the continuity of 3,000 years
of literature. “

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Today is Bloomsday! (If you live in Spokane
Washington and have no idea who James Joyce
is.) Very sad.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Molly Bloom and Her Classmates

Someone named their daughter Molly Bloom!
Well done! Not only that, but Molly goes
to school with a number of classmates
whose names would fit right into one of
Joyce’s works including:
Justice Snickles, Kelly O’Keefe, Olivia Goode,
Brittany Casino and Caroline Augustiniak -
all of whom play on the girls basketball team.

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