It’s Bloomsday+100. My esteemed fellow-countrymen — cheerful descendants of all those who excoriated, despised and censored James Joyce — have now appropriated him for the booming Irish heritage industry. Nice piece by Andrew O’Hagan in last Sunday’s Observer about all this.
My friend Sean O’Mordha, a film-maker who created the best film about Joyce ever made (and deservedly won an Emmy for it), has sent me a Bloomsday present — a copy of John McCourt’s James Joyce: a passionate exile — which has some wonderful photographs. It’s also beautifully written — light and serious at the same time. And it vividly evokes the personality of the exasperating genius we celebrate today. I particularly like this picture:
It’s Michael Farrell’s portrait of Joyce. It was, writes Mr McCourt, “inspired by the story of fellow Irish artist Patrick Tuohy who, while painting Joyce’s portrait, started talking about the soul of the artist only to be interrupted by his sitter: ‘Get the poet’s soul out of your mind’, said Joyce, ‘and see that you paint my cravat properly'”.