1914 — James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” begins serialisation

Joyce’s first novel was also his most overtly autobiographical, and in its earlier drafts, was even moreso than the final version. It tells the story of the youth of Stephen Dedalus, from childhood until he finishes college. The first publication of it was as a serial in “The Egoist”, a literary magazine based in London after it was urged on the editors by Ezra Pound (who had at that point read only the first chapter). It would continue to be published for a total of twenty-five installments, concluding in the September 1, 1915 edition of The Egoist.

Later, it would be published in its more familiar novel form, and go on to become one of the most respected and critically acclaimed novels of the twentieth century. More immediately, it established Joyce as a major talent, talent whose promise would be more fully realised in his later novels, such as Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake.

Referenced in:
Whatareya? — This Is Serious Mum

A Tale of Two Joyces

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas, and James Joyce, author of Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses, share precisely one thing in common other than their surnames. Their differences, on the other hand, are myriad:

  • James Joyce spoke several languages fluently and was a renowned author whose understanding of Engish was on a par with that of Shakespeare; Alan Joyce’s understanding of English is that of a toddler. To him, words mean what he wants them to mean and other people are stupid for not understanding this.
  • James Joyce grew up in poverty and oppression, and his political sympathies were firmly on the side of the proletariat; Alan Joyce has never missed a meal in his life.
  • James Joyce worked long hours at difficult jobs to support himself and his family while writing classics of literature; Alan Joyce recently gave himself a raise for managing to do less than usual for a Qantas CEO.
  • James Joyce was a staunch patriot of his native land; Alan Joyce is a citizen of the dollar – but only until another currency makes a better offer.
  • James Joyce’s works all stress the importance of history and memory; Alan Joyce’s work relies largely on people not remembering what he did the day before.
    • These two disparate scions of the Joyce lineage do have one thing in common, though: neither of them would piss on the other if he was on fire.

      (Although in fairness to Alan Joyce, it should be pointed out that he would in fact happily piss on anyone, whether they were on fire or not, but only in the event that he had already negotiated generous renumeration for doing so.)

1904 – The first ever Bloomsday. Sort of.

Bloomsday is a commemoration observed annually on 16 June in Dublin, Ireland and elsewhere to celebrate the life of Irish writer James Joyce and relive the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904. The name derives from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses, and 16 June was the date of Joyce’s first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, when they walked to the Dublin village of Ringsend.

At least, that’s the official version.

There are those who say that in truth, the date Joyce chose to set Ulysses on was not to commemorate his first date with Nora, but rather, the first time the two had any sort of sex (in this case, consisting of her masturbating him to orgasm).

But feel free to continue to believe that the author of Ulysses was a chaste man if it makes you happy – I merely suggest that if you wish to maintain this belief, you never read the book itself.

Referenced in:
Bloomsday – The Kingdom of Idiot Rock