The 4 Bedroom Joyce House
In honour of Bloomsday, June the 16th, we want to impart to you, Reader, some interesting information about renowned Irish writer James Joyce – one of our prolific inspirations for Maydenhayes, the 4 bedroom Joyce House.
Why is it called Bloomsday?
“Bloom” refers to the central character of Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses. “Bloom’s Day” – the Day of Leopold Bloom.
Why is it held on the 16th of June?
The 16th of June is the day Ulysses is set, and refers to the 16th of June 1904, when James Joyce and his future wife Nora Barnacle went on their first date.
Lesser-known facts about James Joyce you might find intriguing:
Joyce’s daughter Lucia was diagnosed Schizophrenic by prominent psychologist Carl Jung. After reading Ulysses, Jung declared James was schizophrenic as well.
He could have been Dr. James Joyce – after graduating UCD in 1902, he travelled to Paris to study medicine, but dropped out.
Some of James Joyce’s college friends from UCD would later become prominent figures in Irish history, in particular Tom Kettle, Frances Sheehy-Skeffington, and Oliver St. John Gogarty.
Joyce was an accomplished tenor and won the bronze medal at the Feis Ceoil in 1904.
With the help of his Italian financial backers, James Joyce opened Ireland’s first cinema in December 1909 called Cinematograph Volta on 45 Mary Street. James dropped out of the enterprise after 7 months. The cinema was never hugely profitable and closed in 1948. You’ll find a Penneys department store there today.
His eyesight got so bad that at one stage he was forced to write on large sheets of paper in red crayon.
Joyce and his wife Nora exchanged many explicit love-letters while James was visiting Dublin, as Nora feared James may become “distracted” by the younger courtesans. One of these “erotic letters” from James to Nora sold at Sotheby’s in 2004 for a record £240,800.
He was afraid of dogs (Cynophobia) after being attacked by a dog at age 5. He was also afraid of thunder and lightning (Astraphobia) since his superstitious aunt described storms to a young and impressionable Joyce as “God’s wrath”.
The Irish Naval Service names an off-shore patrol vessel after him, LE James Joyce
Short biography of James Joyce:
James Joyce was born in 1882 in 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, the eldest child to John Stanislaus Joyce and May Jane (May) Murray. He attended O’Connell School, and then joined the Jesuit School Clongowes Wood College which he had to leave in 1892 when his father could no longer afford the fees. John Joyce was declared bankrupt in Stubbs Gazette in 1893, but managed to secure a place for 13 year old James in the distinguished Belvedere College at a reduced cost. James completed his secondary education and went on to study English, French and Italian in UCD. After university he moved to Paris, but returned home when his mother was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently passed.
In 1904 James met Nora Barnacle, and they began what would be a life-long devoted relationship. That same year James and Nora left Ireland and moved to Zurich. They would never again live full-time in Ireland. Together, they had 2 children – Lucia and George. They spent many years first in Zurich, then 10 years in Trieste, Italy, before settling in Paris for 20 years. They moved back to Zurich again while the Second World War raged, but James would not live to see the conclusion of the war.
His first published book, Dubliners, is a collection of 15 short stories of Dublin life which is still popular to this day. “When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart”
Ulysses, based on Homer’s epic the Odyssey, was completed in Paris and published in 1922. After its publication, the US dubbed the content “obscene” and promptly ordered the Post Office to confiscate issues of the magazine that had published Joyce’s work. Fines were imposed against the editors, leading to a censorship battle. This negative publicity only served to hype up the novel and increase sales. He didn’t write another word of prose for over a year, but then began his second masterpiece “Finnegan’s Wake”.
James’s health, hampered by his intermittent bouts with alcoholism and occasional financial mis-management, declined as he aged. In particular he had many surgeries for his eyes, rendering him near-blind. He resorted to wearing an eye-patch for years. James died on the 11th of January 1941 following surgery for a perforated ulcer.
“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday, or some previous day” – James Joyce
A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man