Saturday, May 22, 2010

Giorgio Joyce: Behold the Boy!

Nora Barnacle, Giorgio and Lucia Joyce in Zurich, 1918 while James Joyce was writing Ulysses.

Joyce often used his family for inspiration. Nora was the inspiration for Leopold's adulterous wife Molly Bloom. Joyce pestered her while he was writing Ulysses to have an affair so that he would know what it felt like to be a cuckold. Nora refused.

When asked by a reporter what made her different from Molly, Nora replied, "She was fatter."

Lucia was a major inspiration for both Finnegans Wake and the character of Milly in Ulysses. There is no corresponding character for Giorgio in Ulysses. Leopold and Molly's son Rudy died in infancy in the novel and is the reason the couple have not had sex in ten years.

Giorgio Joyce was born in 1905 in Switzerland just around the time his grandfather died in Dublin. Joyce's father was the model for Simon Dedalus, Stephen's alcoholic, wastrel of a father in Ulysses.

Joyce wrote the poem Ecce Puer (Behold the boy) when his son was a newborn.

Ecce Puer

Of the dark past
A child is born;
With joy and grief
My heart is torn.

Calm in his cradle
The living lies.
May love and mercy
Unclose his eyes!

Young life is breathed
On the glass;
The world that was not
Comes to pass.

A child is sleeping:
An old man gone.
O, father forsaken,
Forgive your son!

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