James Joyce's Dublin

James Joyce's Dublin

James Joyce's Dublin

James Joyce's Dublin

Excerpt

Dublin children are always playing the game of asking 'the right time please', for every street clock has its own idea of the speed of the earth round the sun. One can leave home at the hour by Mooney's pub., find Trinity College going its sedate pace, contradicted by the opposing views of the Irish Times and the Ballast Office,--'that piece of Dublin's street furniture' under which James Joyce and J. F. Byrne discussed aesthetics,--and yet arrive in front of the G.P.O. five minutes before departure. . . .

In Ireland there is a sense of temps, the present and the past, but little concern with l'heure, to use a handy distinction for a stranger wishing to catch a train or make an appointment. A street or surname, lettering on an entrance gate, the Irish or English for a particular field, very often carries some association with phases of Irish history. Although facts tend to be confused with inaccurate traditions, their context not always understood, these names remain significant. In countries with a less disrupted social and economic development, changes have become blurred by acceptance: with industrial and urban conditions dramatization tends to disappear, gossip and politics replace story telling.

It is not until the emergence of peoples, cultures, ideas, and psychological tendencies have been studied with the care and comparative research now given to factual history, that the issues inherent in James Joyce's work will be clearly defined. For one thing, the early books delineate that subjectivism (so often exploited in earlier centuries by colonist and military interests in Ireland) found in those for whom friendship can have something of the old fosterhood nearness and yet, by some slight or disillusionment, turn to pride-hurt resentment. Joyce's chosen prototype was Ulysses, 'the victim of enmity'. 'I do not think that Jim ever forgot a thing--all his life', said someone who had known him well. Columkille, the saint and poet, was one of the few of this psychological pattern--imaginative, friendly, warring, hating characters met at any country fair or in the streets of Dublin--who faced the problem, and watching Ireland from Iona, became her first spiritual exile. Stephen in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man . . .

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