1 August 2023 Susannah

Book Addict Admires a Literary Statue – James Joyce

James Joyce Statue

Few authors have so anatomised and celebrated a city as did James Joyce with the city of Dublin. It is therefore extremely appropriate that a statue of this enigmatic author should grace a Dublin street. This life-sized brass statue of Joyce stands in North Earl Street, and it was unveiled in 1990. It’s the work of Irish-American sculptor and actress Marjorie Fitzgibbon (1930 – 2018), who also created the bust of James Joyce which stands on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.

Along with its plinth, the statue is 8 feet (2.4m) tall. The statue depicts Joyce standing cross-legged and leaning on a walking stick, one hand in his pocket and pushing back his coat tails, hat slightly askew, gazing contemplatively upwards, as if pondering his fascinating home city and what he could do with it in his fiction. His perhaps slightly smug expression has given rise to a local nickname for the statue – the ‘prick with the stick’ (the Dublin statue of Molly Malone, heroine of a traditional song, is affectionately called ‘the tart with the cart’).

Tourists love taking selfies with the statue, which seems to invite interaction between subject and viewer. It is now a ‘talking statue’, which means there’s a pre-recorded voiceover you can find in an app. There’s a QR code on the statue. The recording is narrated by Irish actor Gabriel Byrne.

I think it’s a statue with a great deal of personality! I don’t think I’d have liked James Joyce very much – he was a sponger, difficult as a husband and father, and arrogant, but he was one of the 20th century’s most influential writers and I love seeing him celebrated in this quirky and memorable way in brass.

What do you think of this statue? Tell me by leaving a comment here.

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Header image- James Joyce Statue by Elisa E, @739elisae, https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g186605-d2322360-Reviews-James_Joyce_Statue-Dublin_County_Dublin.html#/media-atf/2322360/169601262:p/

Comments (2)

  1. Diana Paulin

    I tried to read “Ulysses” but was defeated except for one comment that there was only one leaf left on his tree now. For some reason this resonated with me. I have never forgotten.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      It’s so interesting that that one line has stuck with you. The best way to experience ‘Ulysses’ is on audio book – it makes so much more sense when it is read to you.

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