James Joyce

Hi everybody! I’m here to introduce you to the Irish great modern writer James Joyce. If you want to know more about Joyce here’s a nice website.  You can also find all the short stories from the collection The Dubliners READ EVELYNE as homework.

Should you go to Dublin it’s definitely worth visiting the James Joyce Centre.They’ve even created a graphic novel of his masterpiece!

Our first video is a short extract from the video JOYCE TO THE WORLD of which I showed you a section in class; it’s a documentary celebrating James Joyce’s Ulysses, the greatest novel of the 20th century that no one’s actually read.

Have you ever heard about BLOOMSDAY? Watch the video and TAKE DOWN SOME NOTES of some information you have found worth knowing.

Now, I’m here to give you a little help to understand Joyce’s Evelyne  better.

1)Derevan Seraun is a word of unknown origin one of the many Joycean nonsense words but the most frequent translation if considered from latin is, “The end of pleasure is pain” but many other critics believe it has a gaelic origin therefore most prefer not translating it.
2)The Bohemian Girl is a light opera written by the Irish composer M.Willian Balfe and not the Bohemienne. The plot is based on Cervantes “La Gitanella” and is set in Bohemia (check it out!!)

The most important aria is “ I Dreamnt I Dwelt in Marble Halls” that has also been sung by Enya ( I discovered it last year myself!! This is the power of Youtube. When I read the story some years ago it wasn’t that easy to hear and find this kind of info. Lucky you!! There are also the lyrics on the right)

Here I found a video of the short story read in Italian with the written text below. It can help you while you read it in English.
Part 2 is in Youtube.

This short story has reminded me of a beautiful song by Gllen Hanzard soundtrack of the Irish movie ONCE. I think the lyrics can evoke the atmosphere of the story and Evelyne’s frame of mind.

I don’t know you /But I want you /All the more for that /Words fall through me /And always fool me /And I can’t react /And games that never amount /To more than they’re meant /Will play themselves out /Take this sinking boat and point it home /We’ve still got time /Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice /You’ve made it now /

Falling slowly, eyes that know me /And I can’t go back /Moods that take me and erase me/ And I’m painted black /You have suffered enough /And warred with yourself /It’s time that you won /Take this sinking boat and point it home /We’ve still got time /Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice /You’ve made it now /Take this sinking boat and point it home/ We’ve still got time /Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice /You’ve made it now /Falling slowly sing your melody I’ll sing along

As regards the short story THE DEAD and the extract you have to read as home assignment you can watch here the last scene from the movie by John Houston.

The Dead is a 1987 film directed by John Huston, starring his daughter Anjelica Huston. It was the last film that Huston directed, and it was released posthumously.

“Huston directed the movie, at eighty, from a wheelchair, jumping up to look through the camera, with oxygen tubes trailing from his nose to a portable generator; most of the time, he had to watch the actors on a video monitor outside the set and use a microphone to speak to the crew. Yet he went into dramatic areas that he’d never gone into before – funny, warm family scenes that might be thought completely out of his range. Huston never before blended his actors so intuitively, so musically.” (Wikipedia)

I think the last lines of this short story are the essence of poetry. I just love it and every time I read it or listen to it it’s a great emotion.

Hope I’ve been of some help 😉

21 thoughts on “James Joyce

  1. I remain impressed by how the Bloomsday is so important to the Irish. Everyone remembers a small step of his works, in the cities, in the pubs, the atmosphere is very festive. This means that the author was able to convey great values, to enchant a generation, to thrill readers with its revolutionary modernist writing, characterized by a stream of consciousness.

    Joyce was a cosmopolitan, loved to travel and socialize certainly, considering the results of exile in Ireland (-> Bloomsday). We, in our small way, we consider it important for his years spent in Trieste.

    With his novel “Ulysses”, Joyce gave a solid contribution to the development of the modernist movement, considered one of the best novels in the world. The author was able to present the truth without any filter, unvarnished, from the simple thoughts (sometimes meaningless) of Leopold Bloom.
    These thoughts accompany each of us during our lives and highlight the extreme confusion that sometimes affects the sufferer lives of human beings.

  2. I already studied James Joyce some years ago when I was in a college in Dublin. In that occasion I appreciated him and his works and I remember we spoke a lot about his life, his literary model, … I appreciated him maybe because the teachers showed us the places where he lived and I felt more closer to him and his background. So in a first moment I considered the new narrative technique (the interior monologue) that he used in his work “Ulysses” a great innovation for the literature.
    But all the respect toward him disappeared in me one week ago, when in class we read (and listened to ) for the fist time a page of this “masterpiece” Ulysses”. I found it incomprehensible and in my opinion too hard to understand the logic connections and the message of the author.
    In my opinion art is communication: an artist should communicate a feeling, a moral teaching or simply the point of view of the author. So I wouldn’t like read a novel (or other pages from Ulysses) because (also with the presence of the notes ) the readers probably can’t understand well all.

    Giulia Alessandrelli

  3. I found James Joyce a very interesting author, in particular because of his extremely clear, but at the same tame soft, way to express feelings. In fact, in his works, as “Eveline” or “The Death”, he’s able to evoke a lot of particular emotions wich involve very much the reader. I found Joyce’s reflection deeper than a lot of other writerS’ ones.
    I also liked a lot the lecture/READING of a part of “Eveline” by prof. Gabarino, who has been able to create a magic atmosphere by his reading.
    Another things that I really appreciated are the themes of Joyce’s works and the delicate way the author analizes theme.
    On the other side I dislike the stream of consciousness of the “Ulysess” mainly because of its non-sense, even if it is something completely new for me!
    In conclusion, as Ambra C., reading Joyce, I really felt in the shoes of the protagonists, the feature that most makes me understaing/UNDERSTAND the quality of what I’m reading.

    • Sometimes in the nonsense there’s more meaning than in the apparently sensible things 😉 “there’s method in his madness” said Shakespeare in Hamlet.

  4. I find it really tough to deal with people who are egocentric because in my opinion those who only think about themselves lack a critical analysis of reality. Since Joyce was undoubtedly an egocentric man, you can imagine the attitude in which I approached his life and works.

    Nor can I stand people who want to catch the attention of the audience through expressions which sound exaggerated and meaningless. I believe that a considerable artist doesn’t need to advertise his works: if they are masterworks, they don’t have to be emphasized by the author.

    Also his presumption clearly affected my study of James Joyce. I simply followed the lesson because I had to. “Ulysses” could be the greatest book ever, but the idea that it was written by the author with the defects I’ve just underlined makes it difficult for me to enjoy a single word of it. But what really prevents me from going on reading the novel is that I don’t like the way it’s written nor its content, as far as I know. Throughout history there have been a lot of artists as conceived as Joyce and I must admit that I could overcome the refusal of their character because their works are real masterpieces which I will never get tired of reading or admiring. Raffaello’s frescoes are so astonishing that I can’t but be amazed looking at them and thus forgetting about the presumptuous character of the extraordinary Renaissance artist. This proves that the fact that I don’t find “Ulysses”, “Evelyne”, and “The Dead” aesthetically appealing to me is not too much influenced by Joyce’s deplorable personality.

    • I’m awfully sorry that the personality of this writer has put you off so thoroughly 🙁 My aim was exactly the opposite that is to say showing you that what matters is the WORK of a writer not his life nor his flaws ( after all he was so human with all his drinking and health problems and weaknesses). When you say that you don’t like his style well than I can understand your criticism based on aesthetic criteria end not on aversion for his personality. I’m sorry I didn’t succeed in making you appreciate the great innovations in the narrative techniques that have influenced so much contemporary fiction.

  5. Good night teacher!
    I must say I discovered an author I thought of differently. I had been surprised as the true character and temperament of Joyce unraveled through his own novels.
    I already read a part of the Ulysses, translated (if we can say so) in Italian, and, even if nothing was completely clear to me, I felt as I was part of the story itself, probably because if a person gets caught by the stream of consciousness is able to follow the character from the very inside. Even the novels were pleasant to read and nicely written; somehow they help you thinking about many sides of the life you usually don’t think of (be it the death, the passing of time, the importance of love over the family and so on…).
    By the way, I remained perplexed as soon as I found how awful and selfish was the author. Quotes like “If Ulysses is not worth reading, then life is not worth living” are in my opinion emblematic of how much Joyce thought his works were important, surely overestimating them as symbols of the highest literature.
    Nevertheless, I was surprised by the acknowledgement of what and how important Bloomsday is in Ireland, exposing the profound and solid bond that tightened the author and his land together.
    I hope that now I’ll be able to finish reading the Ulysses, maybe unabridged!

  6. I think that James Joyce is a great author, with an interesting life, career and also an unexpected reverence by his fan and Irish’s people, I don’t know that there is a day only dedicated at his masterpiece, one day I want to go in Dublin in the “Bloomsday”, the tour should be fun 
    Studying him in class and reading the two stories by the collection “Dubliners” was delightful, I prefer the first one “Eveline” in my opinion Joyce described the feelings of this young girl in a very realistic and clear way, like we said in class probably I felt in her shoes. Also the scheme of his story with this “epiphany” is very original and involve you to read because he creates a sort of suspense and make you think, in particular “the Dead”.
    The “Ulysses” should be a very interesting provocation, I was intend to read it since a lot of years yet, the motivation is that when I read an interview of Pablo Coelhot, (in that period I appriciated him, I had just finish to read “L’alchimista” and I loved it) he said that this book by Joyce was one of the most difficult to read and I thought “I want read it”. Now that I know who Joyce is and what the book is, I think that this target is something that I really should do!!

  7. I’m sorry about it but I was absent when it was explained the first part, and studying it from the book wasn’t so exciting. So I will talk about 2 things that really impressed me that I studied in class: the extract of “the dead” and the stream of consciousness of the “ulysses”.

    The reflection on “the dead” was so deep, and it touched some topics that are not so easy to analyze. I don’t agree with the author, because in my opinion the best thing is not to have a life like the 2 extremes proposed, but to have an ordinary and dignified life, that has also her adventures and her emotions, not being so flat and boring, but that has not to be so short.

    The stream of consciousness of the “ulysses” was one of the strangest things that I ever read. It was so weird not only for his appearence, but especially for the fact that behind this non-sense and this madness there is a rational and calculated organization.

    Finally, to be honest, now that we are studying poets that are temporally closer to us, I’m feeling more interested in licterature, and I liked these things of Joyce like I liked the works of Oscar Wilde.

  8. I’ve never read anything about Joyce, but what particularly impressed me is the simple language and the technique of “epiphany”, very unique to bring to light the reality of things and to expose the characters in his stories.

    The “Ulysses” has impressed me because is quite amazing to think that this story begins and finishes in a day and it is so rich in texture and details.

    In “The Dead” , the protagonist Gabriel, is a seemingly happily married professor and writer who is attending an annual party hosted by his aunts and Kate and Julia. Throughout the story Gabriel’s true identity is masked and he never reveals his the true nature of his character.

    Initially Gabriel is a fashionable man, at the party he was well liked by everyone, but in the end he has to reevaluate his entire existence.

    Gabriel’s fragile identity is the same that author James Joyce experienced. Although not entirely autobiographical, the story does reflect some of the issues that Joyce and some of his characters dealt with: namely the relationship between man and country, in particular the stall of the latter.

    It’s a work that deserves the success it has reached.

    The Bloomsday is an oddity that I feel for the first time, I think it’s very strange to see so much attachment to a writer by his own people.

  9. Like other my classmates have just said, I have found really interesting studied this author. We read two stories of “Dubliners” and I have appreciated both of them. They are written in a simple and clear language and while I was reading them they involved me a lot. Between the two I prefer “Evelyne” because it had themes nearest to young’s life. It’s very moving and you can feel the same emotions and sensations of the protagonist. Like Dajana have just said, the video of the story read by the professor Garbari is very helpful to create the right atmosphere. Also “The Dead” had significant themes and make you think about the importance of life. I saw the video of the last scene of the movie directed by Houston and in my opinion through the setting, the music, the actor it follow in the best way the story written by Joyce.
    The thing that I have found very curious, original and interesting is the writing technique used by him in his masterpiece “Ulysses”: the stream of consciousness. Through a use of words and sentences, that can appear a lot of time without a sense to the public, the writer can express his personal feelings and thoughts in the way that he prefer.
    I have not ever heard about Bloomsday before. It represent the devotion of the public of this author that with his works have fascinated not only Ireland but also a lot of people from different countries in the world.
    Certainly James Joyce was a genius who used his skill and abilities to create fantastic works.

  10. James Joyce was certainly one of the greatest writers of all time, not only of English literature, but of the world one. Joyce’s most famous work is probably Ulysses, a very difficult book in my opinion. I tried to read it two years ago, but after some pages I stopped myself, because I couldn’t understand well what was written.
    “Eveline” and “The Dead” are both works that I discovered this year, and I found them very interesting because they make you reflect about a lot of topics, for example the question “It is better to burn out or fade away?”.
    The thing that has most impressed me is Bloomsday: I’ve never listen about this celebration before, but watching the video in class, and searching on internet, I’ve understand that is a big celebration in lots of country around the world, with people who read and love Joyce and his works. I’m a bit curious to see it.

  11. I can’t describe the effect Joyce did to me. I have always heard about him, but never read before.
    I found it extraordinarily revolutionary: from my modest literary culture, I have never read something similar.
    Joyce has explored new life’s aspects with a new way of describing them. I’m not referring to the formal side of the stream of counsciousness -which everyone has mentioned-, but to the extremely deep descriptions of human psychology, the way he analized every single thought relating it to the context.
    Well… our mind isn’t banal, regular or predictable and in my opinion Joyce has been able to convey all of its characteristics. I don’t know if I explained myself.
    In summary, when I read Joyce – both Eveline, The Dead and The Ulysses – I felt in the shoes of the protagonists, I thought their reasoning were realistic and not only ‘plausible’ as lots of other writer could have done.
    Maybe I say it only because I empathized all the stories we read so they particulary captured me, but I like thinking that is the author’s merit.
    In addition, as I said before, I appreciated also the original topics: all those situations could happen, are very realistic, but no one have never thought of writing about them.

    I loved seeing Irish people and their attachment to their genial writer.
    Really involving the perform of the prof. Garbarino!

  12. I really enjoyed studying Joyce: I heard about him before but I couldn’t think he was such a interesting character!

    I found amazing the theme of the epiphany and I really liked the novels we read in class, in particular “The dead”, whose reflection about knowing completely other people was revealing to me. I didn’t liked particularly “Eveline”: I didn’t understand so much the epiphany hidden in it, maybe because it was not so near to me.

    I heard about the “Ulysses” before our lessons and I knew it is particular because of the “stream of consciousness”, which I found interesting, but I could have never thought it is a one-day story! It is funny that in Ireland Joyce’s masterpiece inspires the “Bloomsday”, where people experience in first person the facts narrated in the book.

    Even though I found “Ulysses” interesting, I don’t think I’m going to read it because I know it is arduous and I can’t understand it, so I’ll wait some years and I’ll try to read it in the future, when I’ll match up with it! 🙂

  13. The first time that I heard about James Joyce, I was already at the High School and it was when we talked about the technique of the stream of consciousness in the “Ulysses”.
    Then, after have seen the book in a library, I abandoned the idea of reading it!!
    Studying Joyce in class, I understood that it’s better to wait another bit before reading it, because it has seemed to me really difficult to understand, but at the same time very original. So I hope one day to find the time to reading it.
    I appreciated the novel “Evelyne”, because while I was reading it, I could easy embody the protagonist and her problems, so it was like living that situation.
    I have to say that at the end I would have gone with the sailor, differently from Evelyne. If you are not content of your life, it’s better to try change it, instead of doing anything and remain dissatisfied.
    For this reason, I agree also with the message of the protagonist of the other novel “The Dead”. Living, also a short life, but full of emotions and passions, it’s better than live a long and boring life.
    Obviously I think this, maybe because I’m young, but when I will be older, I will appreciate more an everyday life with my family and kids.
    Talking about Bloomsday, I think that is very original. It’s with no doubt, one of the most original way to remember Joyce, with the right atmosphere. I was surprised that also people from other countries, go to Ireland for this event.
    In conclusion, I found the song “Falling slowly” so romantic and sweet and also in my opinion it recreates the atmosphere of” Evelyne”.

  14. It was an unexpected discover approaching with the great Irish writer James Joyce! I’ve only had some messy and superficial informations about him before, but now I can say that I really like him. In particular I was very impressed by “The Dubliners”, because I used to know Joyce only for his masterpiece “Ulysses”. This collection fascinated me and gave me a detailed picture of the historical time and society in which the author wrote. During the reading my mind could figure out the precise feelings of the protagonists and the setting too, thank to the detailed descriptions of the author. The stories have also a deep moral meaning and made me think about the most important and tough struggles of human life, which are very common even today, as human nature is always the same during the centuries. I was very involved especially by “Evelyne”, a novel that I found very moving and that made me put myself in the protagonist’s shoes. But coming in contact with this author helped me understanding his revolutionary mind too: he was a genius that gave a radical shake to literature of his time and voiced the deepest and hidden thoughts of the mind, without any worry. I totally agree with Riccardo about the two videos we watched in the blog, actually I preferred the reading by the Italian professor than the last video. Finally I’d like to give you an information: this evening at 21.00 you can watch on TV the movie “Evelyne”, based on Joyce’s story.

  15. I think Joyce was an author very different compared to the other writers that we studied .
    In fact, reading the two stories “Eveline” and “The Dead”, I was surprised because I’ve never expected that, short stories like these make you reflect on very deep topics; as the discussion that we did in class about if “it is better to burn out or fade away” .

    Looking to the videos of the blog, I like very much that of Garbino because of the way in which he recited the story of “Eveline”, but also I like the video that shows the last scene of the movie “The Dead” because it helps me to understand better the story, not so much for the manner in which the protagonist did his monologue, because I found very difficult, but for the setting and the atmosphere that contributed to identify myself in the story.

    About the “Ulysses”, I think it’s very difficult to understand the meaning for the stream of consciousness and sincerely I don’t like it so much because it seems to me a set of thoughts that the author wrote in a moment when he felt those feelings, without an order ; personally I prefer his stories.

  16. Unlike some of my classmates in junior high school I have not had the good fortune of studying Joyce and then I discovered this year. I liked to study his life in order to find references in his works. Speaking of blogs, I can say that it was useful to hear the text read Evelyne, the video was very well done, with a nice interpretation and intonation. The initial part of the blog speaks of Bloomsday, a celebration of which I had never heard of it and I did not think existed. I found it interesting to study an author Joyce and his lyrics simple enough to understand.

  17. As we have seen in class, Bloomsday is a special occasion, almost unique in the world, because it’s the first time that is celebrated the work of an author in the entire world.
    It is to appreciate the fact that people care to remember, through such an important work, even the author himself, in fact James Joyce is not only an Irish, but seems to be an international man.
    Talking about Eveline, definitely the second video that showed the professor Garbarino, while he was reading a part of the work, has been very helpful, because through the right intonation, pauses and also thanks to the music in the background, had allowed us to immerse ourselves in another atmosphere, which I would never have been able to create by myself.
    What I have figured out through the work is that this girl, frustrated by both the past and the future, seems to be very confused.
    In fact, sometimes it seems that she is no longer able to bear her life and she would overcome this situation (the fact that she must obey her father, that she must bring the salary at home, etc.).
    It was hard for her because she had to take care of everything and everyone.
    Therefore, it is understandable that a young girl wants to put an end to all and she wants to think more to her happiness. Despite everything, she chose to remain faithful to his old lifestyle.
    Probably, in my opinion, Eveline made this choice because it was greater the fear of losing the old landmarks that the desire to be free and think about her life.
    As regards THE DEAD, the last video is very important and useful to immerse yourself in the atmosphere that is created by reading the text. Certainly, the reading is a bit too fast for me, but I have found it helpful to imagine the situation that was emerging.
    James Joyce is a very special and at the same time so extravagant character, man and author. He is unique and what makes him unique are hiss “negative” sides ( I mean what for the epoch was considered negative).

  18. At last I met James Joyce! Well, I’d “met” him also during my third year of scuola media when my classroom and I studied him, I was so excited about his stream of consciousness that I bought the “Ulysses” but I was too young and the book too difficult so I buried it in one of my drawers. Now it’s time to exhume it!
    The most important discovery I made during these lessons are Joyce’s novels: “Eveline” and “The Dead” are wonderful pieces of art. In these short works Joyce described perfectly the time when he lived and what was the society and the mentality of that period, this is not simple. I enjoyed the reading of “Eveline” of the second video, prof. Gabarino read it perfectly; instead I didn’t appreciate the last video, with the scene from the film “The Dead”, the voice of the actor was too chewed in my opinion and it didn’t represent the atmosphere that I felt while I was reading the text, but obviously it’s my fault if I didn’t bear that voice.
    Finally I’m always amazed when I thought about Bloomsday, I’ve never thought before that this kind of celebration could exist, it’s the evidence of the deep relationship between Irish people and their writer.

    • THANKS Riccardo, I Read your comment from the other side of the world while sipping my cup of early coffee ( American!) since I woke up very early due to jet lag 😉 The sky is blue, the sun is shining and I send you best wishes for a peaceful Easter.

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