James Joyce: Political Controversialist

Frank Callanan on the political attitudes of Ireland's high modernist
James Joyce, Paris, 1937. Photograph: Joseph Breitenbach
In a recent article for the Irish Times, Frank Callanan explores recently unearthed evidence pointing to the political leanings and attitudes of writer James Joyce (link via Susan Tomaselli):
James Joyce had graduated from University College Dublin in September 1902 and was in Paris from December 3rd to 22nd that year, on the risible pretext of studying medicine at the Sorbonne. After an extended Christmas in Dublin, Joyce was back in Paris from January 17th to April 10th, 1903, impecunious and undernourished, at the Hôtel Corneille, a now-vanished Irish lieu de mémoire in Paris, on Rue Corneille, flanking the Théâtre de l’Odéon. His sudden return to Dublin was brought about by the last illness of his mother. May Joyce lingered, dying on August 13th, 1903. Joyce thereafter remained in Dublin until he left on October 8th, 1904, with Nora Barnacle to commence what transpired to be a lifelong exile from Ireland.

The intrinsic significance of Joyce’s transcription of the two United Irishman lists will be a subject of debate. Its extrinsic significance is the proof it affords that Joyce was reading the United Irishman at the time he was in Paris and that he was not drawn to the paper solely by reason of its political content. It bears out the recollection of Joyce’s brother Stanislaus that Joyce had declared that “the United Irishman was the only paper in Dublin worth reading, and in fact he read it every week”. [Read more]

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