Continuing our Irish theme, for further understanding of James Joyce, you can read several studies by the American (Vermonter) James Joyce scholor and literary critic Willliam York Tindall : particularly A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce (1959) and A Reader’s Guide to Finnegan’s Wake. Tindall traveled to Europe after graduating from Columbia University. In Paris, on June 16, he bought a copy of the notorious book Ulysses, and “went straight to Luxembourg Gardens and read the final chapters, and discovered that it wasn’t a dirty book but a fascinating one.” He became obsessed with Joyce. When he started teaching a course in modern literature at New York University, he was one of the first to assign Ulysses to his students, although the book was still banned in the U.S. at the time. The students read a bootlegged copy that was chained to a desk in the library. He went on to become president of the James Joyce Society.
One of the best biographies on Joyce is by Edna O’Brien James Joyce (1999).
I think perhaps it takes an Irish to understand an Irish: fresh eye, passionate, stern, but a tribute, with many insights about the individual and his writing. This is the Penguin Lives series, one I hadn’t read in awhile = but loved Carol Shield’s Jane Austen, Peter Gay’s Mozart, Larry McMurtry on Crazy Horse, Karen Armstrong on Buddha and David Quammen on Charles Darwin. The writers are absolutely first rate, nearly obsessed with their chosen subject. I found this series with a $1 paperback (Shield’s on Austen) in the bookstore several years ago. I wondered what else I could learn about Austen, and was astonished with the nuances, the finatics, and the writing style. So, now I have another series to read!! A rather long list.
Fyi, Joyce – matured into a man who was obsessed with home, the usual fate of self imposed exile. I have to tell Robin that some one marked the library’s copy – underlining words they didn’t know. And indeed the first two paragraphs have 15 words most Americans don’t know; (but most of them are common in English academics – we decided two were made up! Need the longer version of the OED). I have to erase all the marks in this library book…it is so distracting from reading.