Saturday, November 19, 2016

Kindred spirits …

 Friendship’s Garland | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Joyce and Svevo, though far apart in age, had much in common. They were both genuine artists, willing to suffer any setback rather than displease their importunate muses. They were both masterly at making the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune serve their fiction. They were both fond of the ridiculous, even in the most tragic of circumstances. When Joyce fled Paris in 1940 ahead of the invading Nazis, the Swiss border authorities mistook him for a Jew, doubtless confusing him with his hero, Bloom, which caused Joyce to respond: “Je ne suis pas juif de Judée mais aryen d’Erin (I am not Jewish from Judea but Aryan from Erin).” As Price remarks, “Even in this surreal predicament, Joyce was still able to pun bilingually.”

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