HAPPY BIRTHDAY – James Joyce, born 2 February 1882
“Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives.”
It is not Joyce’s birthday which is celebrated around the world, but rather Bloomsday, the 16th June, which is the day when his novel Ulysses takes place. On Bloomsday Joyce fans read the novel aloud (the best way to experience Joyce’s own complex prose) and visit the pubs in Dublin associated with the novel and act out scenes from the book. It was actually the day on which Joyce had his first date with Nora Barnacle, who would become his wife.
I have to confess I do not love James Joyce. I have read Ulysses twice, but feel no desire to re-read it, and I agree with George Bernard Shaw who felt that life was simply too short to wade through the tortured lines of Finnegan’s Wake. I have taken tour groups to places associated with the novel, but Joyce is not magic for me.
If you are a Joyce fan, enjoy his birthday. James Joyce died on 11 January 1941, aged 58.
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