Famous last words – James Joyce……

You may not be aware, but the acclaimed author of Ulysses was also an unashamed underwear fetishist. He was aroused by just looking at his wife Norah`s knickers and insisted she left them around the house.

Not content with keeping his peccadilloes private, he was also in the habit of keeping a pair of doll`s panties in his pocket. Whatever bar he was in , if he was feeling playful, he would put them on his fingers and “dance” across the counter of the bar.

A few years after Ulysses was published, he had an affair with a young woman whilst at a symposium in Zurich. He apparently met her at a unisex toilet and fell for her, he told a friend “at the very moment she pulled the chain”

Joyce was remarkably candid about how he dealt with writers block, he was an excessive masturbator. There is a lovely story about an attractive American lady coming up to him in the street and ”wanting to shake the hand that wrote Ulysses” Apparently Joyce closed his eyes , thought about it and then said “Probably not, it`s done a few other things as well”

In 1939 whilst living in Paris, Joyce finished Finnegan’s Wake, his long awaited follow up novel, which, with its myriad of puns and new words, proved to be an even more difficult read than his previous work. Still, the book was an immediate success.

A year after Finnegan‘s publication, Joyce and his family moved to Zurich in advance of the coming Nazi invasion of Paris. Sadly, Joyce never saw the conclusion of World War II. At around one o’clock in the morning on January 13th, after surgery on a perforated duodenal ulcer He called out “Does nobody understand?” before relapsing into a coma.

 

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