Friday 28 June, 2024

En féte

I came on this the other evening in the village where we stay. No idea what the event was celebrating

(Footnote for shutterbugs I would have liked to get in closer without being obtrusive, so what really bothered me was that I had come out with a 35mm (wide-angle) lens fitted to the Leica when I really should have had a 50mm one. Not for nothing was the latter Henri Cartier-Bresson’s usual lens. Growl.)

Quote of the Day

“All rising to great place is by a winding stair.”

(Wise old bird. I love his categorisation of reading material: “Some books are to be tasted; others swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested.” The last is what I’m doing at the moment with Tony Judt’s magisterial Postwar).

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Norah Jones | The Long Way Home


Long Read of the Day

Ireland rejected James Joyce. Did he reject it back?

Very nice, thoughtful essay by Henry Oliver on Joyce, Ulysses and his complicated relationship with his native land.

Strange as it might be, there was sympathy between Joyce’s fellow writers and the censors who banned his work. Ireland—the country that now celebrates Bloomsday every year, hosts statues of Joyce, and runs tours of the routes taken by the main characters in Ulysses—was the most stringent country when it came to banning Ulysses. Richard Ellmann wrote, in his celebrated biography of Joyce, “To his Irish countrymen he is still obscure and very likely mad; they, alone among nations, continue to ban Ulysses.” That was in 1959, more than thirty years after Ulysses was published, and some eighteen years after Joyce’s death. Ireland never printed or imported the book. It was only available as contraband until the 1960s. The 1967 film was also banned, only released in 2001.

The feeling was perhaps mutual. Joyce left Ireland first in 1902 to study in Paris. He returned in 1903, when his mother was dying. He met Nora on 10 June 1904: they left Ireland that October. From then on, Joyce lived in Europe. In 1906, he tried to get his short story collection Dubliners published, but controversial passages caused anxiety. These sections would hardly be noticed today—implied sexuality, mild swearing, petty violence—but the publishers demurred. In 1909 Joyce visited Dublin, hopeful that a publisher would take Dubliners. It took them three years, until 1912, to finally reject the book, which was deemed so unsuitable the galleys were burned.

So it was that James Joyce left Ireland and never went back…

Do read on…

My commonplace booklet

Internal Combustion Engine by Bartosz Ciechanowski

My comment in Monday’s edition — about how remarkable it was that humans figured out how to propel themselves around by a series of controlled explosions — prompted Johannes Björkman to point me to this wonderful animated explanation of how it works. For which enlightenment, many thanks.


Something I noticed, while drinking from the Internet firehose.

  • Fascinating video of Seamus Heaney talking to Richard Ellman (the acclaimed biographer of Joyce, Yeats and Wilde) about the trio.

It’s quite long (40 minutes) but worth it IMO.

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