Flipping James Joyce

Hi everybody! I’m here to introduce you to the  great Irish modern writer James Joyce.


Watch the video of his biography (6m’). You can see my simultaneous Google notes clicking on this link. Allow opening with VideoNot.es (that I used to add those notes to the youtube video) as you all have a Gmail account 🙂

To know more about Joyce here’s a nice website.  You can find all the short stories from the collection The Dubliners here. Download & print EVELYNE

TASK 1: READ EVELYNE as homework. Now, I’d to give you a little help to understand Joyce’s short story  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)

You can now watch a video of the short story read in Italian with the written text below. It can help you while you read it in English.

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 third video is a short extract from the video JOYCE TO THE WORLD that I bought while living in Dublin and of which I’ll show 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 DO THE QUIZ I’ve created for you while watching. Hope you’ll understand the video better 🙂
You’ll share what you’ve discovered in class with your classmates. You can also watch it full screen if you prefer.

This short story has reminded me of a beautiful song by Glen Hanzard, the 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


Session two: THE DEAD

As regards the short story THE DEAD and the extract you’ll have to read as your next 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.

I’d like to end this post on Joyce with Stephen Fry’s short One Minute Book Review Video of the novel Ulysses. “I’ll tell you the book I have chosen as my favourite book. And it may make some people’s heart sink, because it is associated with difficulty, where in fact it should be associated with joy…” “It is to me the most perfectly written book. Or perhaps the second most perfectly written book. But this book is deeper, richer and wider.” “I have no idea what it’s like in Dutch, I can’t imagine how you would translate it. But if your English is good enough, read it. And you’ll be astonished by how beautiful it is.”


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