From charlesreid1



“Joyce, having been pleased to discover that Riders to the Sea disappointed his criteria for great classical tragedy, subsequently embarked on a marvellous parody of Synge’s style in the Scylla and Charybdis episode of Ulysses:

“It’s what I’m telling you, Mr Honey, it’s queer and sick we were, Haines and myself, the time himself brought it in. ’Twas murmur we did for a gallus potion would rouse a friar, I’m thinking, and he limp with leching. And we one hour and two hours and three hours in Connery’s sitting civil waiting for pints apiece. And we to be there, mavrone, and you to be unbeknownst sending us your conglomerations the way we to have our tongues out a yard long like the drouthy clerics do be fainting for a pussful.”

Part II

- It is intoxication in one form or another, I said, to be always drunk, as Rimbaud puts it, drunk with life - is not that what an artist should be ?

- That is the emotional aspect, said Joyce, but there is also the intellectual outlook which dissects life, and that is now what interests me most, to get down to the residuum of truth about life, instead of puffing it up with romanticism, which is a fundamentally false attitude. In Ulysses I have tried to forge literature out of my own experience, and not out of a con­ceived idea, or a temporary emotion.

- p. 36

-Every one hurts and the last one kills. That is good, Joyce remarked, I must remember that.

- p. 37

Part III

He hated anything to do with bohemians, and always showed contempt for their way of life. Once, when I asked where he liked to go for his holidays, he answered abruptly: "To some place where honest people earn an honest living." He seemed to have a passion for an ordered life, and I thought it a reaction from his former life in Dublin, from the poverty and bohemianism of his youth...

- p. 38

One day, meeting his friends in the street, he told each of them that they must meet him again on the following Saturday at midday at the bottom of Grafton Street with a pound note in their pockets-a matter, he intimated to them, of the utmost urgency. On the following Saturday a number of them turned up.

--Have you all got your pound notes? he asked, and when they produced the promised money he said, now let us all go and dine at Jammet's.

(Jammet's being at that time Dublin's best known and most expensive restaurant, a few yards from their meeting place.) Such and other stories are told of Joyce's bohemian youth, but in Paris he lived the most ordinary life imaginable, remaining shut up in his flat during most of the day.

- p. 39

Everywhere he went he acted in the same detached manner. If, for instance, anyone he knew came up to greet him in a restaurant, or at a theatre, or in any public place, he would quickly disengage himself and resume his isolation.

While one talked to him one could not but feel, at times, that he was using the conversation as a sort of counterpoint to his own thoughts, which ran in an altogether different vein as he mentally composed 'Work in Progress'.

- p. 40

Yet in spite of the stiff barrier which he put against the out­side world, he sometimes did unpredictable things. Once as I was entering his flat, I met a strange and very bohemian couple on the landing outside, just about to leave him, a shock­ headed young man and a girl of the very type he professed to dislike. I asked him who they were since strangers with him were such an unusual occurrence. But he seemed uncertain of their names.

-What did they want? I asked him, piqued by my curiosity.

-They wanted to translate Ulysses.

-And you gave them permission?


-But you don't know anything about them. You don't know who they are, or what they are, I protested. Why did you give them your permission ?

-Quite a number of people come to me and ask for my per­mission to translate Ulysses, he remarked, and I always give it to them.

-Always! I repeated, dumbfounded.

-Yes, he replied with a smile, because I know that none of them will ever do it.

And it was this remark more than any other which revealed to me his contempt for people whom he did not regard as serious artists able to undertake the sustained labour of an artistic work, "people who sleep all day and amuse themselves all night", as Hemingway put it.

- p. 41-42

Part IV

Meredith is one of those authors I cannot read. I remember I came across a copy of The Egoist in the trenches and mad for something to read I was delighted with my find, but after a while, being continually reminded that 'he had a leg', I became so irritated with it that I got some string and tying a stone on it I threw it over to the Germans.

- p. 44

At a very early stage I came to the conclusion that to stay in Ireland would be to rot, and I never had any intention of rotting, or at least if I had to, I intended to rot in my own way, and I think most people will agree that I have done that.

- p. 47

Part V

Joyce seemed very interested in the religious aspects of Tutankhamen's tomb, which we discussed shortly after its discovery on 26 November 1922.

- p. 48

Indeed, I remember one evening meeting an Irish painter who had turned into a bitter anti­-Catholic, and sitting in Joyce's room he had scoffed at what he had called this Italian conspiracy in which one of their number was appointed to represent God on earth. He had ridiculed the idea of man's creating God and enclosing Him in a tabernacle under lock and key to give Him only to those who were of the same sect as themselves. He had also attacked Confession as taking away God's power of forgiveness, and many other Roman Catholic practices, the details of which I have forgotten. Joyce was said to be anti-Catholic and I waited for him to express his opinion, but he retained his character­istic silence, his thin lips tightly compressed, uttering no word of approval or disapproval in the argument that raged between us.

- p. 49

The only comment I ever heard him make on these matters was his once telling me that when the new pope was being elected the conclave of cardinals were fed with less food each day so that in the end they were forced to overcome their personal jealousies and elect a pope, which, whether true or not, seemed to amuse him greatly.

- p. 49

one day, the subject having arisen between us as we were walking past the Odéon Theatre, I pushed him into a corner of the street, and I asked him the straight question,

-Do you believe in a next life ?

Embarrassed by my sudden seriousness he quickly dis­engaged himself and with a shrug of his slim shoulders he answered,

-I don't think much of this life,

and closed the conversation, so that I realized that I would never get a direct answer on this subject from him.

Indeed, one of his marked characteristics was his avoidance of giving a direct opinion about anyone or about anything, and I attributed some of his reticence to his early life in the provincial atmosphere of Dublin, where everything one said was echoed back and forth with considerable distortion among one's associates, until in the end it could assume the fantastic proportions of a Celtic myth, so that one was inclined to disbelieve all one heard.

- p. 49

All he would say about Paris, when any one asked his opinion about it, was that "it is a very convenient city", though what he meant by this phrase I was never able to discover.

- p. 50

Part VI

-Pushkin! and he looked at me with a puzzled expression on his face. I cannot understand how you can be entertained by such simple fare-tales which might have amused one's boyhood, of soldiers, and camps, villains, gallant heroes, and horses galloping over the wide open spaces, and tucked away in a suitable corner a beautiful maiden of about seventeen years of age to be rescued at a suitable moment. I know that the Russians admire Pushkin, but, as I understand it, it is chiefly for his poetry which since I do not know Russian I cannot read. But I remember once reading a translation of Pushkin's prose, The Captain's Daughter - a bustling affair that might interest the Upper Fourth. As I say there was not a pin's worth of intellect in it, and I do not under­ stand how you prefer him to the other Russians such as Tolstoy, who did much the same thing but on a grander scale; or Chekhov.

- p. 52

-Yes, I always thought that he (Pushkin) lived like a boy, wrote like a boy, and died like a boy, Joyce remarked.

- p. 52

-Here we are, he said, back into a discussion as to what is "poetry" as distinct from "literature", to what is life, and what is a lie trumped up by the imagination: the difference between the perpetual adolescent and homo sapiens.

- p. 53

-...though you criticize Ulysses, yet the one thing you must admit that I have done is to liberate literature from its age-old shackles. You are evidently a die­ hard traditionalist, but you should realize that a new way of thinking and writing has been started, and those who don't fall in with it are going to be left behind. Previously, writers were interested in externals and, like Pushkin and Tolstoy even, they thought only on one plane; but the modern theme is the subterranean forces, those hidden tides which govern everything and run humanity counter to the apparent flood: those poisonous subtleties which envelop the soul, the ascend­ing fumes of sex.

- p. 54

the writer of that period I admire most is Chekhov. For he brought something new into literature, a sense of drama in opposition to the classical idea which was for a play to have a definite beginning, a definite middle, a definite end, and for the author to work up tc a climax in the second act and resolve it in the last. But in a Chekhov play there is no beginning, no middle, and no end, nor does he work up to a climax; his plays are a continuous action in which life flows on to the stage and flows off again, and in which nothing is resolved, for with all his characters we feel that they have lived before they came on to the stage and will go on living just as dramatically after they have left it. His drama is not so much a drama of individuals as it is the drama of life and that is his essence, in contrast, say, to Shakespeare whose drama is of conflicting passions and ambitions.

- p. 57

But since we are talking about Russian literature, what do you think of Dostoevski? Does he appeal to you?

-Of course, replied Joyce, for he is the man more than any other who has created modern prose, and intensified it to its present-day pitch. It was his explosive power which shattered the Victorian novel with its simpering maidens and ordered commonplaces; books which were without imagination or violence. I know that some people think that he was fantastic, mad even, but the motives he employed in his work, violence and desire, are the very breath of literature. Much as we know has been made of his sentence to execution, which was commuted as he was waiting for his turn to be shot, and of his subsequent four years' imprisonment in Siberia. But those events did not form his temperament though they may have intensified it, for he was always enamored of violence, which makes him so modern.

- p. 58-59

-Yes, replied Joyce, but how could a man like George Moore, the Parisian, admire a writer like Dostoevski-Moore whose literary heroes were Balzac and Turgeniev, traditionalists like Moore himself with all the inherited weariness of the tradi­tionalists. But there are people, and many people, who think that The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest novels ever written. Certainly it made a deep impression on me.

- p. 59

-Do you remember when Alyosha goes to see his father after Dmitri has attacked him; his father's head is still wrapped up in a red silk scarf, and he gets up every now and then to examine his wounds in the mirror while he declares he will go on living as he has always lived, passionately, evilly; his pride, his boasting; his desire for the young Grouschengka, the strumpet and virgin in one.

-I remember, I said, being asked by a friend, a writer, his eyes burning with enthusiasm, what I thought of Grouschengka. But I did not know what to answer him, and it was then that I realized that Grouschengka and in fact all of Dostoevski's characters were unreal, so while I am reading him, I am asking myself all the time would any reasonable beings act and speak as they do; exaggerations larger than life; or to speak plain useful language, they are mad, all of them.

-Madness you may call it, said Joyce, but therein may be the secret of his genius. Hamlet was mad, hence the great drama; some of the characters in the Greek plays were mad; Gogol was mad; Van Gogh was mad; but I prefer the word exaltation, exaltation which can merge into madness, perhaps. In fact all great men have had that vein in them; it was the source of their greatness; the reasonable man achieves nothing.

- p. 59-60

Part VII

As a picture I can see it all clearly, exclaimed Joyce, Ilford-the dark streets with dim lights showing behind the yellow window-blinds, and from the distance a soft wind coming up with the raw smell of fish and chips on it, the Thompsons walking arm in arm under the trees when this young man suddenly dashes out and stabs him, her crying and wailing, and her search, or pretended search, for help. I can smell the English effluvia here - and it reminds me... yes... of the Strand, say, on a Saturday night, the huddles of people in the passage outside the pubs; the sudden fights; the traffic-weary streets; the arc-lights shining down on the muddy tramped pavements. I remember how I disliked it all and I decided that I could never have become part of English life, or even have worked there, for somehow I would have felt that in that atmosphere of power, politics, and money, writing was not sufficiently important.

- p. 64

while in Paris here you have the only real freedom in Europe, where no one gives a damn what his neighbour thinks or does, provided he does not make himself obnoxious. But in England everybody is busy about everybody else, which, except for an Englishman, is intolerable.

- p. 65

In ·the Dublin of my day there was the kind of desperate freedom which comes from a lack of responsibility, for the English were in governance then, so everyone said what he liked. Now I hear since the Free State came in there is less freedom. The Church has made inroads everywhere, so that we are in fact becoming a bourgeois nation, with the Church supplying our aristocracy... and I do not see much hope for us intellectually. Once the Church is in command she will devour everything... what she will leave will be a few old rags not worth the having : and we may degenerate to the position of a second Spain.


As I escorted him to the top of the perilous stairs, trebly perilous for him on account of his bad sight, I wondered-as was natural, even as the American journalist must have done-' is this the man who has written the book which has shocked the whole world-the man who in Ulysses has described Bob Doran weeping in the pub about Paddy Dignam's death : " The finest man, says he, snivelling, the finest purest character "...' ?

- p. 69

Truly, appearances are deceptive, for who would think that this slight and delicately built man with his smooth clerkly face, small pointed beard, with those strong spectacles glassing his weak eyes, was the most revolutionary character in this age of artistic revolutions? Indeed I realized that there was much of the Fenian about him-his dark suiting, his wide hat, his light carriage, and his intense expression-a literary conspirator, who was determined to destroy the oppressive and respectable cultural structures under which we had been reared, and which were then crumbling.

- p. 69

Mrs Joyce did not seem to be quite so conscious of his difficult position. Indeed the only time she ever mentioned the subject to me was one day when Imet her in the rue du Bae. She had been to see a priest about something-maybe it was to go to confession-and she told me the priest had said to her:

-Mrs Joyce, cannot you stop your husband from writing those terrible books?

But she replied:

-What can I do?

Indeed it was the only answer she could give, for what rebel worth his salt is going to be persuaded out of his course either by his wife or by a priest?

- p. 70

Joyce's sensitivity was such that during the composition of ' Oxen of the Sun ', which takes place in the lying-in hospital, he was put off his food because his imagination was filled with half-born foetuses, swabs, and the smell of disinfectants.

- p. 71

Part IX

-The history of Antony and Cleopatra, I remarked, is one of the greatest love stories in which passion dominates wealth and power; and finally there is their brave contempt for death.

-Yes, agreed Joyce, it is Christianity which has made us afraid of death, for men, nowadays, live in two halves in which their desire to live is tempered by their fear of death so that we no longer know which way to turn, and as a result both our public and private lives are smothered in hypocrisy. The pagans faced death as bravely as they faced life ; ' one life one death ' was their philosophy. But I don't know why you have chosen Antony as your hero. Surely there were many better Romans than he.

- p. 72

-\Vhat I have wanted to say was that the classical style still seems to me to be the best form of writing. -Perhaps, but to my mind it is a form of writing which contains little or no mystery, commented Joyce, and since we are surrounded by mystery it has always seemed to me inadequate. It can deal with facts very well, but when it has to deal with motives, the secret currents of life which govern everything, it has not the orchestra, for life is a complicated problem. It is no doubt flattering and pleasant to have it presented in an uncomplicated fashion, as the classicists pretend to do, but it is an intellectual approach which no longer satisfies the modern mind, which is interested above all in subtleties, equivocations and the subterranean complexities which dominate the average man and compose his life.

I would say that the difference between classical literature and modern literature is the difference between the obj ective and the subjective : classical literature represents the daylight of human personality while modern literature is concerned with the twilight, the passive rather than the active mind. We feel that the classicists explored the physical world to its limit, and we are now anxious to explore the hidden world, those undercurrents which flow beneath the apparently firm surface. But as our education was based on the classical, most of us have a fixed idea of what literature should be, and not only literature but also of what life should be.

And so we moderns are accused of distortion; but our literature is no more distorted than classical literature is. All art in a sense is distorted in that it must exaggerate certain aspects to obtain its effect and in time people will accept this so-called modern distortion, and regard it as ·the truth. Our object is to create a new fusion between the exterior world and our contemporary selves, and also to enlarge our vocabulary of the subconscious as Proust has done. We believe that it is in the abnormal that we approach closer to reality. When we are living a normal life we are living a conventional one, following a pattern which has been laid out by other people in another generation, an objective pattern imposed on us by the church and state. But a writer must maintain a continual struggle against the objective : that is his function. The eternal qualities are the imagination and the sexual instinct, and the formal life tries to suppress both. Out of this present conflict arise the phenomena of modern life.

- p. 74

Part X

-Yes, said Joyce, I met him (Proust) once at a literary dinner and when we were introduced all he said to me was: 'Do you like truffles ?' 'Yes', I replied, 'I am very fond of truffles.' And that was the only conversation which took place between the two most famous writers of their time, remarked Joyce - who seemed to be highly amused at the incident.

- p. 79

-It is a cult I cannot understand, I argued. As Bacon remarked : ' old gold is old family '. It all seems to me to be on such a material basis; while with genius on the other hand one feels it is a gift of the gods.

-I would not altogether agree with you there, he said. There must be some quality in "blood" for it to maintain its position generation after generation : some strength and some wisdom. Also how often do we find that some nobleman was the patron of an artist, or a musician, even when the rest of the world did not take notice of him. Indeed some people think that the decline of the patron has caused a decline in art.

- p. 81

You must admit that patrons have played an important part in the arts. Indeed in many cases they would not have been created but for their help.

- p. 81

{{Quote| But the thought came to my mind as I examined it, this shrunken image, how lucky was the man, a man like Joyce, who had a patron and so had been spared this Calvary for if with increasing years Joyce had decided to abandon everything for his writing it might have happened to him. Though Modigliani had some artistic success, the appreciation had not been sufficiently general to save him financially.

- p. 85

Part XI

-I prefer your Portrait to Ulysses for the same reason-for its lambent beauty, its softly flowing phrases full of ascending lights, incandescent forms, and veiled images. It is the best description there is of adolescence, for the first of everything is the best. We are inclined to value experience too highly, but in all it is an ugly thing.

-It is the descent into hell, and Ulysses is that descent, for one cannot always remain an adolescent. Ulysses is the man of experience. Out of this marriage, this forced marriage of the spirit and matter, humour is created, for Ulysses is funda­mentally a humorous work, and when all this present critical confusion about it has died down, people will see it for what it is.

- p. 89

-Then in your opinion, I said, the critics and the intellec­tuals have boggled the issue, have not seen your intention clearly, and have put meanings into it which did not exist, which they have invented for themselves.

-Yes and no, replied Joyce shrugging his shoulders evasively, for who knows but it is they who are right. What do we know about what we put into anything? Though people may read more into Ulysses than I ever intended, who is to say that they are wrong: do any of us know what we are creating? Did Shakespeare know what he was creating when he wrote Hamlet; or Leonardo when he painted 'The Last Supper'?

- p. 89

After all, the original genius of a man lies in his scribblings: in his casual actions lies his basic talent. Later he may develop that talent until he produces a Hamlet or a "Last Supper", but if the minute scribblings which compose the big work are not significant, the big work goes for nothing no matter how grandly conceived. Which of us can control our scribblings? They are the script of one's personality like your voice or your walk.

- p. 89

Part XII

Mounting the balustrade steps we approached those big golden-topped gates opposite the Pantheon. Crossing the Boulevard St Michel we went towards the Church of St Etienne-du-Mont, and turning down a narrow street we stopped before one of those tall grey houses which you find in that quarter. Joyce took out a key and opened the door into Larbaud's flat. I have seen rooms designed for many purposes but never as yet had I seen a room specially designed for writing. It was shaped like the cabin of a ship, had a low, rounded ceiling with a light in the middle and a long table running down the centre with shelves like small bunks along the wall on either side at an arm's length. Situated where it was it would be cool in summer, and as it was small it should be easy to heat in winter. It was also sound-proof and draught­ proof in contrast to the average room in a flat in which most writers have to work. But to my surprise Joyce told me that he did not like working in it.

-I don't like being shut up, he said. When I am working I like to hear noise going on around me-the noise of life ; there it was like writing in a tomb. I suppose I would have got used to it, but I didn't want to because then I might have lost my ability to work wherever I happen to be, in a lodging-house, or in a hotel room, and silence might have become a necessity to me as it was, for example, to Proust.

-...Notre Dame, for instance, with the Madeleine. I remember once standing in the gardens beside Notre Dame and looking up at its roofs, at their amazing complication-plane overlapping plane, angle counter­ ing angle, the numerous traversing gutters and runnels, flying buttresses and erupting gargoyles. In comparison, classical buildings always seem to me to be over-simple and lacking in mystery. Indeed one of the most interesting things about pre­sent-day thought in my opinion is its return to mediaevalism.

...the old classical Europe which we knew in our youth is fast disappearing; the cycle has returned upon its tracks, and with it will come a new consciousness which will create new values returning to the mediaeval. There is an old church I know of down near Les Balles, a black foliated building with flying buttresses spread out like the legs of a spider, and as you walk past it you see the huge cobwebs hanging in its crevices, and more :han anything else I know of it reminds me of my own writings, so that I feel that if I had lived in the fourteenth or fifteenth century I should have been much more appreciated. Men realized then that evil was a necessary complement to our lives and had its own spiritual value. I see that note constantly recurring among the younger poets today.

- p. 92

-And in my opinion one of the most interesting things about Ireland is that we are still fundamentally a mediaeval people, and ·that Dublin is still a mediaeval city. I know that when I used to frequent the pubs around Christ Church I was always reminded of those mediaeval taverns in which the sacred and the obscene jostle shoulders, and one of the reasons is that we were never subjected to the Lex Romana as other nations were. I have always noticed, for instance, that if you show a Renaissance work to an Irish peasant he will gape at it in a kind of cold wonder, for in a dim way he realizes that it does not belong to his world. His symbolism is still mediaeval, and it is that which separates us from the Englishman, or the Frenchman, or the Italian, all of whom are Renaissance men. Take Yeats, for example, he is a true mediaevalist with his love of magic, his incantations and his belief in signs and symbols, and his later bawdiness.

Ulysses also is mediaeval but in a more realistic way, and so you will find that the whole trend of modern 'thought is going in that direction, for as it is I can see there is going to be another age of extremes, of ideologies, of persecutions, of excesses which will be political perhaps instead of religious, though the religious may re­-appear as part of the political, and in this new atmosphere you will find the old way of writing and thinking will disappear, is fast disappearing in fact, and Ulysses is one of the books which has hastened that change.

- p. 93

What is the first thing you notice about a country when you arrive in it? Its odour, which is the gauge of its civilization, and it is that odour which per­ colates into its literature. Just as Rabelais smells of France in the Middle Ages and Don Quixote smells of the Spain of his time, so Ulysses smells of the Dublin of my day.

- p. 93

-What about Walt Whitman ? I asked.

-Yes, agreed Joyce, he has a certain flavour it is true, the smell of virgin forest is in him, and of the wooden shack, a kind of primitive colonialism, but that is a long way from being civilized.

-And now there is Ulysses.

- Yes-that is my contribution, and in it I have tried to lift Irish prose to the level of the international masterpieces and to give a full representation of the Irish genius, and my hope is that it will rank among the important books of the world, for it was conceived and written in an original style. If we have a merit it is that we are uninhibited. An Irishman will seldom behave as convention demands; restraint is irksome to him. And so I have tried to write naturally, on an emotional basis as against an intellectual basis. Emotion has dictated the course and detail of my book, and in emotional writing one arrives at the unpredictable which can be of more value, since its sources are deeper, than the products of the intel­lectual method. In the intellectual method you plan every­thing beforehand. When you arrive at the description, say, of a house you try and remember that house exactly, which after all is journalism. But the emotionally creative writer refashions that house and creates a significant image in the only significant world, the world of our emotions. The more we are tied to fact and try to give a correct impression, the further we are from what is significant. In writing one must create an endlessly changing surface, dictated by the mood and current impulse in contrast to the fixed mood of the classical style. This is 'Work in Progress'.

The important thing is not what we write, but how we write, and in my opinion the modern writer must be an adventurer above all, willing to take every risk, and be prepared to founder in his effort if need be. In other words we must write dangerously : every­ thing is inclined to flux and change nowadays and modern literature, to be valid, must express that flux. In Ulysses I tried to express the multiple variations which make up the social life of a city-its degradations and its exaltations. In other words what we want to avoid is the classical, with its rigid structure and its emotional limitations. The mediaeval, in my opinion, had greater emotional fecundity than classi­cism, which is the art of the gentleman, and is now as out-of­ date as gentlemen are, classicism in which the scents are only sweet, he added, but I have preferred other smells. A book, in my opinion, should not be planned out beforehand, but as one writes it will form itself, subject, as I say, to the constant emotional promptings of one's personality.

- p. 95


The object of any work of art is transference of emotion; talent is the gift of conveying that emotion. But I cannot understand your admiration for the romantic. If ever there was an exploded myth that is one. realism you are down to facts on which the world is based: that sudden reality which smashes romanticism into a pulp. What makes most people's lives unhappy is some disappointed romanticism, some unrealizable or misconceived ideal. In fact you may say that idealism is the ruin of man, and if we lived down to fact, as primitive man had to do, we would be better off. That is what we were made for. Nature is quite unromatic. It is we who put romance into her, which is a false attitude, an egotism, absurd like all egotisms. In Ulysses I tried to keep close to fact. There is humor of course, for though man's position in this world is fundamentally tragic it can also be seen as humorous. The disparity between what he wants to be and what he is, is no doubt laughable, so much so that a comedian has only to come on the stage and trip and everyone roars with laughter.

- p. 97

Part XIV

I met Joyce by chance one evening in the Champs Elysees and we sat down for a drink in ' Le Beri ', with its scarlet canopy and the straw-coloured chairs spread out over the pavement. It was getting on towards six and the cars were racing up towards the Arc de Triomphe. The sky was pale over the roofs of the houses opposite and in front of us the boule­ vard trees were shimmering in that dark enamelled green which is a combination of artificial light and daylight. As we sat there on the terrace drinking our cinzano Joyce repeated some lines from The Waste Lewd, which had evidently caught his fancy :

O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag­ -

It's so elegant

So intelligent

'What shall I do now? What shall I do? '

'I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street

'With my hair down, so. What shall we do tomorrow?

'What shall we ever do?'

- p. 100

-But does tradition ever die? I asked him. What is art but the same formula used over and over again in a different way ?

-Browning of the many words, replied Joyce, whose characters, no matter who they are, all talk like intellectuals : a mind that creeps along repeating itself endlessly until eventually he is lost in the maze of words. But did you ever hear anyone talk like Browning's characters? Or if you did, didn't you feel you were going crazy, or getting drunk? The Waste Land is the expression of our time in which we are trying to lift off the accumulated weight of the ages which was stifling original thought: formulas which may have meant something in the past but which mean nothing today. Eliot searches for images of emotion rather than for an ordered sequence, and in this he is related to all the other modern poets.

- p. 101

-Lawn Tennyson, he said, repeating the quip in Ulysses, the rectory prude, a poet deficient in intellect.

- p. 102

And Donne's love poems are more intricate, deeper than any others I know. To me he is very English, far more so than Tennyson, for the English mind, in spite of all that has been said about it, is intricate, and with Donne you enter a maze of thought and feeling. A poem of his is an adventure in which you do not know where you will end, which is what a piece of writing should be. In life you don't know where an experience will lead, and a work of literature should be the same. It is that which gives it the excitement. Donne is Shakespearian in his richness, and in comparison the famous French love poets sound trivial.

- p. 102

But in general he was not interested in modern art which was the rage in Paris. Picasso, Matisse, Braque, were names which never seemed to occupy his mind. I was, as it happens, more interested in painting than in literature and as a critic on the New York Herald I was constantly in touch with the art of the day. Ofren as we passed an art gallery in the rue de Seine, of which there are a great number, I stopped in front of them and asked his opinion of the latest Picasso, or Braque, but he would stare blankly at them, his face registering no interest or emotion, and would ask, after a time:

-How much are they worth ?

- p. 103

In fact, he had a contempt for the multiple artistic activities of Paris. Either he did not understand them, or it was his bourgeois caution, a prejudice one might say, against anything new and fashionable which he looked on as a "racket", a novelty which would subside as quickly as it had arisen.

- p. 103-104

Part XV

-Take Hemingway. He seems on the way to the top because he is original. But his originality is a venal one, and what he writes about smells in life, and in time it will smell in literature too: stories about alcoholics and nymphomaniacs and people who live in a waste land of violence and who have no emotional depth. I admit to his merit, of course, that he is very much of our time. But in my opinion he is too much of our time, in fact his writing is now more the work of a journalist than that of a literary man.

-He has reduced the veil between literature and life, said Joyce, which is what every writer strives to do. Have you read "A Clean Well Lighted Place"?

-Yes, I said, and it is one of his best, and I wish that they were all up to that standard.

-It is masterly, replied Joyce, in a glow of enthusiasm. Indeed, I think it is one of the best short stories ever written; there is bite there.

-p. 107

-You do not agree with Aquinas then, that the act of copula­tion is the death of the soul?

-I suppose in the Christian sense every material contact is death to the soul, but since I am not a religious man I am not too certain what the word "soul" means. It can have so many meanings that I cannot decide which is the true one.

Joyce shrugged his shoulders, and turning away, picking up his glass, drank from it without answering, indicating, it seemed to me, that in his opinion it was useless to discuss such abstract matters, a waste of time even.

- p. 108

On the whole Joyce was a very reasonable man, and it was only about three things that he was quite fanatical : the first was the merit of Ibsen ; the second, strangely enough, ·the merit of Carmen; the third was the relative merits of restaurants, for a bad meal could sour his temper.

- p. 108

So much of my life in Paris had been bound up with him and Mrs Joyce, both of whom had given me a steady friendship as close as if I had been a member of the family. It had not ended, but had lessened as so many friendships lessen when distance puts its cold hand between them, damped as they are by circumstances and time, and by differences of personality. A personality can fuse with another personality for a time, but when that time is over we gradually re-enter the soli­tude of ourselves. Then all that remains is the memory of the fire which once warmed us both, and it is fragments of that memory which I have tried to reconstruct in this short book.

- p. 111