Thursday, February 2, 2012

Joyce's Ulysses

From James Joyce’s Dubliners

‘He stopped when he came level with us and bade us goodday. We answered him and he sat down beside us on the slope slowly and with great care. He began to talk of the weather, saying that it would be a very hot summer and adding that the seasons had changed gready since he was a boy -- a long time ago. He said that the happiest time of one's life was undoubtedly one's schoolboy days and that he would give anything to be young again. While he expressed these sentiments which bored us a little we kept silent. Then he began to talk of school and of books. He asked us whether we had read the poetry of Thomas Moore or the works of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Lytton. I pretended that I had read every book he mentioned so that in the end he said:

"Ah, I can see you are a bookworm like myself. Now," he added, pointing to Mahony who was regarding us with open eyes, "he is different; he goes in for games."

He said he had all Sir Walter Scott's works and all Lord Lytton's works at home and never tired of reading them…’

Walter Scott figured strongly in author James Joyce’s upbringing.  Joyce mentions Scott, or his work, in several of his own writings, from Dubliners to Araby, to Ulysses.  Neil Davison/Anthony Julius, in their James Joyce, Ulysses, and the Construction of the Jewish Identity Culture comment as follows: 

‘…the appearance of The Bride of Lammermoor in the “gigantic” heroes in the “Cyclopes” episode of Ulysses further implies Joyce’s adult opinion of the overly romantic tenor of Scott’s stories.  But regardless of his later facetious allusions to Scott, Joyce’s youthful reading of Ivanhoe affected his earliest conception of “The Jew” and in many ways challenged what he had learned from the Jesuits.  Although the novel form was considered improper extra-curricular reading for a student of the Jesuits, Joyce ws tempted to read Ivanhoe because of a controversy surrounding the work that occurred about the time he entered the College.

The incident…involved J.F. Byrne, who directly afterwards made friends with a new “frail looking lad named James Augustus Joyce.”…Byrne’s instructor, Father Fagan…suggested that his students read novels to improve their vocabulary, and one of his recommendations was Scott’s work (like Ivanhoe)..’

Enlightened Father Fagan was found out by Byrne’s older cousin, which put an end to novel reading recommendations.  The author’s speculate that Byrne mentioned the incident to Joyce when Joyce joined Belvedere two months later.  

Joyce’s work Ulysses, was published on February 2nd, 1922; on his 30th birthday (born in 1882).

1 comment:

  1. Hey check out (and like) an interesting review, regarding the anniversaries of the literary works of James Joyce's "Ulysses" and Maria Rilke's "Sonnets to Orpheus", by one of the contributors of Culture Catch Mr.Holtje at: