Wednesday, January 14, 2009

James Joyce

The statue of James Joyce by the Canal Grande.

Joyce arrived in Trieste in 1904 to take up a post teaching English at the Berlitz School. A gifted linguist, he took to the local Triestine dialect with ease, and quickly felt at home.

Money was a constant problem for Joyce, despite being much in demand as an English tutor and writing articles for Il Piccolo newspaper. He managed to turn getting money from friends, relatives and students into an art form, but reckless spending and frequent drinking binges kept him in penury.

It was against this unpromising background that Joyce wrote Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, and began his research for Ulysses. According to the writer Anthony Burgess in an article in The New York Times in 1982: “ Ulysses may be about Ireland, but only turbulent and cosmopolitan Trieste could have given Joyce the impetus to start setting it down.”

Trieste was the primary port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, full of hard-headed businessmen and risk-taking entrepeneurs. They have left their mark in the broad avenues and grand buildings of the city, many of them now home to hotels and banks. The arts were not a priority here – making money came first. Trieste was the Empire’s prosperous gateway to the trade of the east. Yet the cosmopolitan nature of the city, with its mix of Italian, Slav and German cultures and its undercurrent of revolution, attracted a number of foreign writers. Apart from Joyce, these included Sigmund Freud, Rainer Maria Rilke and Sir Richard Burton, who translated the Thousand and One Nights while British Consul at Trieste.

6 comments:

USelaine said...

Wow! I had no idea about all the literary connections. I like how you've set this composition too.

Blognote said...

Non lo sapevo!!(Ignoranza mia): Grazie mille per averlo condiviso con noi. Ciao

Bolina Stretta said...

MOlto bella la foto. Composizione, colori, ben fatto.

Interessantissimo l' angolo della storia, molto dettagliato.

L' anno scorso, a Trieste, i miei figli hanno (quasi) preso uno spavento la prima volta che hanno visto le staue a grandezza "reale" in giro per Trieste.

Ciao !

Claudia said...

Joyce รจ uno dei miei scrittori preferiti... :-) bellissima foto!

Danielle&Hannah said...

Grazie, interesting,

Danielle

Hilda said...

Such interesting information about Joyce and about Trieste! Is Trieste still more 'financially-oriented' until now?