Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Poesy: James Joyce's D-Day

On this day in 1941, James Joyce died of a stomach ulcer at the age of 58. He is the author of Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922), and Finnegans Wake, which remained a work in progress for 16 years until it was finally published in 1939. Finnegans Wake is meant to show that history is cyclic, so the first sentence of the book is the end of the last sentence, which is unfinished. The last sentence is: "A way a lone a last a loved along the," and the first sentence is: "riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

Joyce was buried in Fluntern Cemetery in Zurich. He wrote in Ulysses: "We are praying now for the repose of his soul. Hoping you're well and not in hell. Nice change of air. Out of the fryingpan of life into the fire of purgatory."

- From the Writer's Almanac

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