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5 July 1984
... fist jerked swiftly upwards – The most deliberate of all gestures because most futile, Defiantly conceding the lost battle. The gesture towards Finnegans Wake was deliberate: So much so that Joyce should have seen it coming Even through the eye-patch of his last years. He wrote a book full of nothing except writing For people who can’t do anything but read, And now their gestures clog the ...
21 February 1980
James Joyce​ and the Revolution of the Word 
by Colin MacCabe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £8.95, February 1979, 0 333 21648 2
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... The aim of this work,’ Colin MacCabe announces, ‘is not to provide the meaning of Joyce’s work but to allow it to be read.’ ‘Well, ta ever so,’ I wrote in the margin. In 1922, when Ulysses was first published and copies were burnt by the New York Post Office, or 1923, when ...

His Spittin’ Image

Colm Tóibín: John Stanislaus Joyce

22 February 2018
... in his Confessions of a Young Man, blatantly proclaims his sense of liberation and relief when his father died. Synge makes an attempted parricide the theme of his Playboy of the Western World; JamesJoyce describes in Ulysses how Stephen Dedalus, disowning his own parent, searches for another father. Portrait of John Stanislaus Joyce by Patrick Tuohy (1923) Just as Oscar Wilde began to ...
14 May 1992
... for his pen, the cold coming and the three wise men. And if you interview a charred head (‘How does it feel, then, being dead?’) let him speak in his own voice, not like a Yorkshireman or JamesJoyce. That photograph and its violence sit in an alien silence where a fraught polyphony might speak, but not epiphany – transcendent insights that replace missed moments of religious grace are not just ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Ulysses vs. Ulysses

13 December 2001
... On 22 November, judgment was handed down in a case brought against Macmillan and Danis Rose by the estate of JamesJoyce. Ulysses: A Reader’s Edition, edited by Rose, was published by Macmillan in 1997. Joyce died in 1941, and under the Copyright Act 1956 any of his work that appeared while he was alive passed out of ...
24 January 1980
... its prefix meta. Science, First having put black shoes and a blue suit on, Controls the World’s supply of mental giants. A Goethe now would lack words to loathe Newton. It’s forty years since JamesJoyce named the quark. Now nobody’s nonplussed to hear light rays Get sucked down holes so fast they show up dark. Nor would the converse of that news amaze. It all gets out of reach as it grows ...

Our Founder

John Bayley: Papa Joyce

19 February 1998
John Stanislaus JoyceThe Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father 
by John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello.
Fourth Estate, 493 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 85702 417 6
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... Joyce’s prose is ‘beautifully written’, as they used to say. Written, like his poems, in the old style of the Nineties. Paradoxically, it is not composed but spoken. The voice that echoes through it ...
27 July 1989
Memoir of Italo Svevo 
by Livia Veneziani Svevo, translated by Isabel Quigly.
Libris, 178 pp., £17.95, April 1989, 1 870352 40 8
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... into the socialist pantheon, for there are at least two great writers, usually counted as Modernists, in whose work ordinariness achieves a highly individual and idiosyncratic literary status – JamesJoyce and Italo Svevo. Growing older, a bit despondent, never feeling quite well – these are the symptoms of Svevan man which we all recognise, and from which we suffer ourselves. The Svevan ...

Raiding Joyce

Denis Donoghue

18 April 1985
James​ Joyce 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Cambridge, 262 pp., £20, November 1984, 9780521240147
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James Joyce​ and Sexuality 
by Richard Brown.
Cambridge, 216 pp., £19.50, March 1985, 0 521 24811 6
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Joyce’s Dislocutions: Essays on Reading as Translation 
by Fritz Senn, edited by John Paul Riquelme.
Johns Hopkins, 225 pp., £22.20, December 1984, 0 8018 3135 0
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Post-Structuralist JoyceEssays from the French 
edited by Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer.
Cambridge, 162 pp., £20, January 1985, 9780521266369
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... by being patient of interpretation.’ It follows that a work of art is not a classic if it insists, apparently, on being read in one way. By that criterion, Ulysses would appear to be a classic. Joyce relentlessly explicated it, and gave his fans the authorised version of its structure, but the user’s manual doesn’t limit the ways in which the book may be read. Nothing said about Ulysses seems ...

Poor Harold

C.H. Sisson

3 December 1981
Harold Nicolson: A Biography. Vo. II: 1930-1968 
by James​ Lees-Milne.
Chatto, 403 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 7011 2602 7
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... broadcasts on ‘The New Spirit in Modern Literature’. The pamphlet which the BBC published to accompany the series gave me my first sight of the work of T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and I believe JamesJoyce, though I learn from the volume before me that Sir John Reith, reigning at the BBC, forbade Nicolson to mention Ulysses, then banned. Little encounters of that kind were to be expected in those ...
24 January 1991
... Frank Budgen’s last pamphlet ‘Further Recollections of JamesJoyce’ (1955) carries a bit of personal reminiscence which looks as if it might be more important than most. He remembers that he had one day remarked to Joyce that he could never understand why Bloom ...
21 January 1988
The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect 
by George Davie.
Polygon, 283 pp., £17.95, September 1986, 0 948275 18 9
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... Provinces’ – full of provincials to be translated. Yet something Scottish persisted. Smith’s interest in the collection and presentation of minute facts impressed one of his Glasgow auditors, James Boswell, whose marvellous accumulation. The Life of Samuel Johnson, is a major peak in the Scottish eclectic tradition. In Edinburgh, formulating the canon of the new university study of English ...

Joyce​ and Company

Tim Parks: Joyce’s Home Life

5 July 2012
James JoyceA Biography 
by Gordon Bowker.
Phoenix, 608 pp., £14.99, March 2012, 978 0 7538 2860 1
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... brother, or a young and loving wife whose humble social background and limited education guarantee that she will always be beholden to you, however you behave. Conscious or unconscious, such was JamesJoyce’s strategy with regard to Dublin, to Ireland. From the age of 22 until his death at 58 he lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy, Switzerland and France, but his creative attention ...
20 September 1984
Ulysses: A Critical and Synoptic Edition 
by James Joyce, edited by Hans Walter Gabler, Wolfhard Steppe and Claus Melchior.
Garland, 1919 pp., $200, May 1984, 0 8240 4375 8
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James​ Joyce 
by Richard Ellmann.
Oxford, 900 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 19 281465 6
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... Joyce’s Ulysses was published on his 40th birthday, 2 February 1922, in a limited edition of 1000 numbered copies. The text was full of misprints, as Joyce irritatedly knew. As late as November, he had been tinkering with the last chapters, getting further detail from Dublin – ‘Is it possible for an ordinary person to climb over the area railings of ...

Quashed Quotatoes

Michael Wood: Finnegans Wake

16 December 2010
Finnegans Wake 
by James Joyce, edited by Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon.
Houyhnhnm, 493 pp., £250, March 2010, 978 0 9547710 1 0
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Joyce’s Disciples Disciplined 
edited by Tim Conley.
University College Dublin, 185 pp., £42.50, May 2010, 978 1 906359 46 1
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... Lewis Carroll seems an obvious precursor of JamesJoyce in the world of elaborate wordplay, and critics have long thought so. Harry Levin suggested in 1941 that Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty was ‘the official guide’ to the vocabulary of Finnegans Wake ...

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