viernes, 5 de octubre de 2012

Much Ado About Nothing: Post 1

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was reconstructed in London in 1997

The first video describes the Globe Theatre. It was built west of London Bridge on the South bank of the river Thames in an area known as Bankside. The original Globe Theatre was just a wood frame building. The interior resembled a modern opera house with three galleries protected from rain and sunlight by a roof. Between two thousand and three thousand playgoers would pay two or more pennies to sit in these galleries. The stage was raised four to six feet from ground level and had a roof supported by pillars. In front of the stage there was a roofless yard for up to one thousand groundlings that paid a penny to stand through the performance under the hot sun or rain. At the rear of the stage was an inner stage separated from the front by a draw-curtain. The dressing rooms of the actors were collectively known as the “Tiring House”. Props and backdrops were few, as the exact locality for a scene wasn't usually important and when it was necessary the playwright showed it in the dialogue. The actors weren't separated from the audience, so a common experience was possible. The action was continuous, as there wasn't a main curtain. The lack of artificial light meant that the plays had to be performed during the afternoons. It struck me as odd that the Globe theatre was located in the seedy section of town, an area frequented by prostitutes, pickpockets and other unsavoury people. So definitely the theatre and Shakespeare himself weren't as glamorous as one may think.

Much Ado About Nothing

This two versions of Much Ado About Nothing are quite different. The first one resembles a theatre play, and it seems to be more faithful to the original. The second one appears to be a big-budget Hollywood movie, starring well-known actors and actresses such as Emma Thompson, Kate Beckinsale, Keanu Reeve, etc. The movie seems to be more lively and goofier than the TV series. The main protagonists mentioned in the two videos are: Don Pedro from Aragon, Claudio, Sir Benedict, Hero, and Beatrice. They belong to the nobility or gentry. Two of the characters. Benedict and Beatrice, are portrayed as sparring partners who eventually fall on love with each other.

jueves, 12 de julio de 2012

Tyke or kike: Censorship in the Great Gatsbty

Tyke or kike: Censorship in the Great Gatsbty

I have recently found out that in certain versions of The Great Gatsby the word "kike" is edited to read "tyke". Well, according with the Oxford (or Oggsford) Dictionary:

kike: informal offensive a Jewish person.

tyke:  informal a small child

 Why did the original word was replaced? The following extract from Professor James L. W. West III's book "Making the Archives Talk" explains the motivations for this act of political correctness.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's writings offer some examples of nervous editing. In one of the most memorable scenes in The Great Gatsby, for example, Nick Carraway is at a party in the apartment on West 158th Street that Tom Buchanan maintains for his trysts with Myrtle Wilson. Tom and Myrtle have invited some friends to come in for drinks. Nick finds himself talking with Myrtle’s sister, whose name is Catherine. This is a coarse crowd, not squeamish about what they say in conversation. Catherine brings up the liaison between Myrtle and Tom: “Neither of them can stand the person they’re married to,” she says in a loud voice. Mrs McKee, a neighbour from elsewhere in the building, overhears the remark and, in the 1925 Scribners first edition, reveals how she might herself have fallen into a bad marriage: "“I almost made a mistake, too,’ she declared vigorously. ‘I almost married a little kyke who’d been after me for years. I knew he was below me. Everybody kept saying to me: “Lucille, that mans ’way below you!” But if I hadn’t met Chester, he’d of got me sure’” (41).

Most editions of The Great Gatsby since 1925 print either “kyke,” Fitzgerald’s spelling from the manuscript, or the more commonly found “kike.” But within the first American paperback edition (published initially by Bantam Books in November 1945, five years after Fitzgerald’s death), one finds a plate variant on page 42. The variant occurs between the third impression of March 1946 and the fourth of March 1951. The word “kyke” becomes “guy.” As with Mencken’s revisions for the 1946 Treatise on the Gods, one notes the date and wonders whether the revelations about the Nazi death camps and, more generally, public awareness of the suffering of European Jews during World War II might have prompted the change. There is a further twist: in the 1974 Penguin Books edition of The Great Gatsby, timed to appear with the premiere of the Paramount movie version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, “kyke” becomes “tyke” (40). This alteration was carried forward into an undated Penguin Modern Classics resetting that is still for sale in the United Kingdom today.

Neither Bantam printing of The Great Gatsby includes a true textual note. The Bantam fourth impression of 1951, in which “kyke” becomes “guy,” carries the following statement on the final page of the text: “This Bantam book contains the complete text of the original edition. Not one word has been changed or omitted” (191). Neither of the two Penguin editions (with “tyke”) says anything about its text. The sentence does not offend as it should when “kyke” becomes "guy” or “tyke.” Of course it is the vulgar Mrs McKee who uses the word, not Fitzgerald or Nick, but for safety “kyke” was changed in both of these texts.

Making the Archives Talk: New and Selected Essays in Bibliography, Editing, and Book History.  University Park: Penn State University Press, 2011.  x, 150 pp.  Twelve essays, ten previously published, two new.

domingo, 8 de julio de 2012

The Great Gatsbys

Hark, A Vagrant takes on The Great Gatsby.

And my favourites quotes:

.... Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. [...] No — Gatsby turned out all right at the end;...
...“You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”
[...] It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end. [...]The lawn and drive had been crowded with the faces of those who guessed at his corruption — and he had stood on those steps, concealing his incorruptible dream, as he waved them good-by.

jueves, 21 de junio de 2012

The Great Gatsby - Vocabulary

turn over:to think carefully about all the details of something
privy to something: knowing about something, usually official information, that other people do not know
levity: a way of speaking or behaving that shows you do not think something is very serious
quiver: to shake with short quick movements
mar: to spoil something
parcel out: to share something among several people
riotous: very lively and noisy
unaffected: sincere and natural in your behaviour
scorn: a feeling that someone or something is not good enough to deserve your approval or respect
flabby: flabby flesh is loose and fat
prey on/upon someone: to harm someone who is weak or cannot defend themselves
elation: a feeling of great happiness and excitement
abortive: not finished and therefore not successful
sorrow: great sadness
well-to-do: rich and belonging to an upper class family
wholesale: relating to the business of selling large quantities of goods, especially to people who are going to sell them in a shop
hard-boiled: not showing any sympathy for other people
ragged: torn and dirty: wearing old dirty clothes and looking very poor
talk over: to discuss a problem or a plan
grave: looking very serious and worried
hesitant: doing something slowly or pausing before you do it, because you are nervous, embarrassed, or worried
cardboard: very stiff thick paper, used especially for making boxes
bungalow: a small house that is often all on one level
stove: a machine or a piece of equipment that provides heat for cooking or heating a room
pathfinder: someone who is the first to find a way across an area of land
confer: to give something such as authority, a legal right, or an honour to someone
mint: the place where a country makes its coins and paper money
epigram: a short poem or sentence that expresses something such as a feeling or idea in a short and clever or funny way
jut/jut out: to be further forward than other things or than normal
arresting: attracting your attention
eyesore: something that is ugly or unpleasant to look at, especially a building
savour: to enjoy an experience, activity, or feeling as much as you can and for as long as you can
string: a group of similar or connected things
wistful: slightly sad because you want to have or to do something - used when you are thinking about something that made you happy in the past
sundial: an object that measures time by the position of a shadow made in sunny weather, consisting of a pointed metal piece on top of a flat piece of stone
sturdy: strong and not easily hurt, damaged, or affected by what happens
straw: the yellow stems of dried crops such as wheat
supercilious: a supercilious person behaves as if they think they are better or more important than everyone else
swank: fashionable and expensive
strain: to pull at something very hard
lace: a thick piece of string used for tying shoes or boots
gruff: a gruff voice has a rough low sound
fractious: easily upset or annoyed
guts: the quality of being brave and determined
approve (of): to have a positive feeling towards someone or something that you consider to be good or suitable
defiant: refusing to obey a person or rule
pungent: a pungent taste or smell is very strong and sharp
snub-nosed: with a short nose that looks rather flat
rosy: pink in colour
frosted: covered with icing
ripple: to move like waves, or to make something move like waves
rug: a small carpet that covers part of a floor
buoy up: to keep something floating on water
flutter: to move up and down or from side to side with short, quick, light movements, or to make something move in this way
snap: to suddenly break something with a short loud noise, or to be broken in this way
totter: to stand or move in a way that is not steady
thrilling: extremely exciting
ecstatic: extremely happy or pleased
wreath: a circle of flowers or leaves that you put on a grave to show that you are remembering the dead person
deft: deft movements are made quickly and with skill
start: to move suddenly because you are afraid or surprised by something
retort: to reply immediately in an angry or humorous way to something that someone has said
pantry: a small room for storing food, usually next to the kitchen
wan: pale, or not bright
discontented: not satisfied with something
contemptuous: showing that you do not respect someone or something at all
wedge: to fix something tightly or in a small space
compel: to force someone to do something, or to get something from someone using force
languid: very slow and relaxed
fasten on: if your eyes fasten on someone or something, you start to look at them very carefully or for a long time
hulking: very large and heavy in appearance, especially in a way that seems ugly or frightening
banter: friendly conversation in which people tell jokes and laugh at each other
chatter: continuous fast informal talk, usually about unimportant subjects
profound: showing serious thought and wise ideas
lingering: lasting for a long time, especially when this is unpleasant or not necessary
quicken: if a feeling quickens, or if something quickens it, it becomes stronger
faintly: slightly
extemporize: to perform or produce something without preparing or practising
stirring: causing strong emotions
subdued: not very loud or bright
impassioned: expressing a lot of emotion
mount: if a particular feeling mounts, it gets stronger over a period of time
inquire: to ask someone for information about something
gaiety: a feeling or state of happiness and fun
searching: a searching glance or gaze seems to be looking at you very carefully to try to find out what you are thinking or feeling
startling: surprising, or very unusual
squarely: directly
wicker: long thin pieces of wood that are woven together to make furniture or baskets
settee: a long soft comfortable chair for two or three people
feebly: weakly
absently: in a way that shows you are thinking about something else or are not listening
contributory: partly responsible for a situation or event
exact: to get something from someone by threatening or forcing them or using your authority
smirk: to smile in an unpleasant way because something bad has happened to someone else, or because you think you have achieved an advantage over them
crimson: dark purple-red in colour
soothing: making you feel more calm and more relaxed and less nervous, worried, or upset
toss: to throw something somewhere gently or in a slightly careless way
anon: soon
fling: to throw something carelessly or with a lot of force
creep up on someone: if something creeps up on you, it happens slowly or gradually so that you do not notice it happening
peremptory: speaking or behaving rather rudely, as if you expect other people to obey you immediately
libel: the illegal act of writing things about someone that are not true
banns: an official announcement in church that two people intend to get married
nibble: to show a slight interest in an offer or idea
egotism: a feeling that you are more important than other people and need not care about them
shed: a large building where large machines or vehicles are kept
bellows: a tool used for blowing air into a fire. It consists of a leather bag between two wooden boards that you pull apart and push together.
waver: if a light or image wavers, it is not steady and it shakes or changes a lot
leisurely: slow and relaxed
hasty: done in a hurry because you do not have much time
shrink away: to move back or away from someone or something, especially because you are frightened or nervous
transcendent: not limited or influenced by negative attitudes, thoughts, or feelings
crumble: to break something into very small pieces, or to be broken into very small pieces
crawl: if a vehicle crawls, it moves forwards very slowly
ghastly: shocking in a way that frightens or upsets you
swarm: to go somewhere as part of a large crowd
leaden: made from or containing lead
stir up: to make water or dust move around
bleak: a bleak place seems cold and unfriendly and has no pleasant features
spectacles: glasses that you wear to see
wag: old-fashioned a humorous person
fatten: to make an amount of money larger, or to make a company’s value increase
brood: to think and worry about something a lot
bounded: formal if an area is bounded by a fence, trees, a river etc., this is what is around its edge
drawbridge: a bridge that can be pulled up to let ships pass
barge: a long flat boat used on rivers and canals
dismal: making you feel unhappy and without hope or enthusiasm
halt: a temporary or permanent stop in a process
insist on/upon doing something: to keep doing something that annoys people
saunter: to walk in a slow and relaxed way
heap: a large pile of something, especially an untidy pile
tanked up: extremely drunk
whitewash: a substance used for painting walls or buildings white
minister to someone/something: to help or look after people, especially those who are ill
crouch: to move your body close to the ground by bending your knees and leaning forwards slightly
blind: a window cover that you pull down from the top to the bottom
sumptuous: impressive, expensive, and of high quality
gleam: a look of emotion or excitement in someone’s eyes
stout: slightly fat. This word is less rude than ‘fat’
smoulder: to burn slowly, producing smoke but no flames mainly literary to feel very strong emotions that you do not express in words, especially anger or sexual feelings
flush: if someone flushes, their face becomes red because they are hot or ill, or are feeling angry, embarrassed, or excited
coarse: rude and offensive
mingle: if smells, feelings, flavours etc. mingle or you mingle them, they become mixed together without completely losing their individual characters
intent: determined to do something. This expression sometimes means that you do not approve of the thing that someone is determined to do
scrawny: very thin, in a way that is not attractive or healthy
defer to: to accept someone’s opinion or decision, especially because you respect them
Town Tattle: 1920's gossip magazine.
flask: a small flat bottle that fits in your pocket, used especially for carrying alcohol
upholstery: cloth or leather that is used for covering chairs and sofas
earnest: serious, determined, and meaning what you say
cower: to move your body down and away from someone or something because you are frightened
peer: to look very carefully, especially because something is difficult to see
wriggle: to move, or to make something move, by twisting or turning quickly
rapture: a feeling of great happiness or excitement
urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take
regal: typical of or suitable for a king or queen
haughty: proud and unfriendly
bonnet: a hat that ties under your chin
countenance: your face, or the expression on your face
rakish: behaving and dressing in a way that is confident and slightly unusual, but attractive
lather: the white mass of bubbles produced when you mix soap and water
hauteur: proud and unfriendly behaviour
shiftless: lazy and not interested in anything
flounce: to walk quickly in an impatient way, because you are angry
absorbing: something that is absorbing is so entertaining that you give it all your attention
blow over: if a dangerous or embarrassing situation blows over, people stop worrying about it and soon forget about it
gyp: to trick or cheat someone when they buy something
kike: offensive a Jew
to beat the band: very briskly: very fast
patent: extremely obvious
chandelier: a large light that hangs from a ceiling and has branches for holding electric lights or candles
in a daze: not concentrating, thinking clearly, or understanding what is happening around you
snap: to speak to someone in a sudden, angry way
scamper: to move quickly with small light steps
toil: to work very hard doing something difficult and tiring, especially physical work
the ravages of something: the damage or destruction caused by something such as war, disease, or weather
fortnight: a period of two weeks
garnish: to add something to a dish of food to make it look more attractive
Hors d'oeuvre: appetizer
gaudy: brightly coloured and ugly, or of bad quality
shear: to cut the wool from a sheep
shawl: a large piece of material that is worn by a woman around her shoulders or on her head
lurch: to move suddenly in a way that is not smooth or controlled
caterer: a person or business that organizes the food and drinks for an event such as a party or meeting
weave: to move somewhere by going around and between things
glide: to move in a smooth and easy way with no noise
gypsy: offensive a Romany
hush: a sudden silence
bear: literary to carry or take someone or something somewhere
chauffeur: someone whose job is to drive a rich and important person around in their car, usually wearing a special uniform
ill at ease: not confident or relaxed
eddy: a current of water or air that moves against the main current in a circular pattern
slink: to go somewhere slowly and quietly so that people will not notice you
linger: to stay somewhere longer than is necessary, or to spend longer doing something than is necessary, because it is enjoyable or helpful to you
roar: to say something in a loud, deep, angry voice
mumble: to say something in a way that is not loud or clear enough so that your words are difficult to understand
undergraduate: a student who is studying for a first degree at a college or university. A student who already has a first degree is a graduate
yield up: to finally allow people to see something that has been hidden
ramble: to talk for a long time in a confused way, especially about other things instead of the subject that you should be talking about
staid: serious and rather boring
guard against something: to help to prevent something from happening
wheel around: to turn around quickly where you are standing
ascertain: to find out something
bona fide: a bona fide person or thing is really what they seem to be or what they claim to be
thorough: including everything that is possible or necessary
tortuous: twisting and turning around many bends
finger bowl: a small bowl filled with water and placed on a table for you to wash your fingers in after you have eaten
rowdy: noisy and causing trouble
lull: a quiet period during a very active or violent situation
roughneck: someone who behaves in a rude or threatening way
constrained: behaving in a way that is very controlled and not natural
florid: containing too much decoration, a florid face is red
coolly: calmly, without getting excited or angry
ring out: to produce a loud clear sound
echolalia: the uncontrollable and immediate repetition of words spoken by another person.
elude: if a fact, idea, or word eludes you, you cannot remember or understand it
convivial: friendly and making you feel welcome
swoon: old-fashioned to become unconscious and fall to the ground
arrest: formal to stop a process from continuing, especially to stop a bad situation from getting worse
jaunty: lively and confident
crisp: crisp weather is pleasant because it is cold and dry
quaver: if your voice quavers, it is not steady because you are feeling nervous or afraid
course: to flow somewhere in large amounts
beaded: covered in small drops of a liquid
rivulet: a small stream of liquid
vinous: affected or caused by the consumption of wine.
rend: to tear something into pieces
asunder: apart
dissension: strong disagreement about something, especially within a group of people
flank: to be at the side of something or someone
wayward: a wayward child or someone with wayward behaviour is difficult to control and does unexpected things
sheepish: ashamed or embarrassed about something that you have done
tantalize: to make someone feel excited by showing or offering them something that they want, often with no intention of giving it to them
enjoin someone to do something: formal to strongly advise or order someone to do something
din: a very loud unpleasant noise that lasts for a long time
duster: a light coat that you wear to protect your clothes from dust
dangle: if you dangle something, or if it dangles, it hangs or swings without anything stopping it
sway: to move or swing gently from side to side
caterwaul: if a person or animal caterwauls, they make an unpleasant loud high noise
wafer: a very thin biscuit
endow someone/something with something: formal to give a particular quality to something, or to say that something has a particular quality
chasm: a very deep crack in rock or ice
mellow: relaxed and satisfied, for example because of having drunk alcohol
racy: a racy story, film, or play is slightly shocking in the way that it describes or shows sex
haunting: beautiful in a way that makes you feel sad and remember something for a long time
loiter: to stand or wait in a public place for no particular reason
poignant: giving you feelings of sadness
throb: if something such as an engine or a machine throbs, it makes a low sound that is repeated steadily
tender: gentle in a way that shows that you care about someone or something
row: a noisy argument
shrewd: able to judge people and situations very well and to make good decisions
subterfuge: the use of lies and tricks
fender: mainly American a part of a vehicle that covers or protects the area round a wheel
flick: to make something move quickly and suddenly, especially with a quick movement of the hand
rotten: informal of a low quality, standard, or ability
tangle: a situation that is difficult to deal with because things are not organized properly
perspiration: liquid that your skin produces when you are hot, ill, or nervous (compare transpiration)
clean out: to use all of someone’s money
consequence: importance or relevance
pull someone’s leg: to tell someone something that is not true, as a joke
sawdust: very small pieces of wood like dust that are produced when you cut wood
detachment: a group of soldiers sent to perform a special job separately from the rest of their group
loaf: to spend time doing nothing, usually when you should be working
host: a lot of people or things
spire: the pointed top of a church tower or other building
gnawing: continuously causing you pain or worrying you
cobbled: covered with cobblestones (=round stones)
gilt: covered with a thin substance that looks like gold or is made of gold
girder: a very large metal bar used for making the frame of a building, bridge, or other large structure
hearse: a large car used for carrying a dead person in a coffin
bloom: mainly literary a flower
sombre: serious, or sad
modish: extremely fashionable
yolk: the middle part of an egg that is yellow
luxuriate: grow in abundance
lapse into: to gradually change to a quieter or less active state
highball: an alcoholic drink made by mixing whisky with water or soda, usually served in a tall glass
hash: meal made from small pieces of meat and potato cooked together
rove: if your eyes rove around a place, you look all around it
underhand: secret and dishonest
cuff: the part of a sleeve that fits around your wrist
outstay/overstay your welcome: to stay at a place for longer than people want
benediction: a Christian prayer that asks God to bless someone
denizen: someone or something that lives in a particular place or goes there often
nobs: knobs
roadster: an open-top car with two seats.
curb: a kerb at the edge of a road
engrossed: so interested or involved in something that you think about nothing else
beau: a woman’s boyfriend or lover
debut: the first appearance of a young upper-class woman in society.
armistice: a formal agreement between enemies to stop fighting a war
grope around: to search for something inside a container, bag etc. by feeling with your hands
spirits of ammonia: a solution of ammonium carbonate in alcohol or ammonia water, used in smelling salts.
hushed: very quiet
chambermaid: a woman whose job is to clean the bedrooms in a hotel
victoria: a light four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage with a collapsible hood, seats for two passengers, and an elevated driver's seat in front.
tough: a rough and violent man.
dip: to move, or to move something downwards
heady: very exciting and making you feel that you can achieve anything you want
cornice: a raised line of plaster, wood, or stone at the edge of a ceiling
blaze: to shine very brightly
shrubbery: an area in a garden or park where shrubs - low thick bushes - are planted
glint: a quick flash of light
rout: archaic a disorderly crowd of people.
fumble: to say something in a way that is not skilful or effective
render: to provide a service, or to give help to someone or something
much obliged: formal used for thanking someone politely
shy away: to avoid someone, or to be unwilling to do something, because you are nervous, afraid, or not confident
soggy: wet and soft, especially in an unpleasant way
Finn: a native or national of Finland or a person of Finnish descent.
hollowly: with no real meaning
swan: to go somewhere in a relaxed and careless way, without paying attention to your work or responsibilities
dew: small drops of water that form on the ground during the night
bleared: dim or dull
harrowed: distressed
exhilarating: making you feel extremely happy, excited, and full of energy
ripple: a sound that gets gradually louder and then quieter
streak: a line or long mark on something that is a different colour from the colour surrounding it
stalk: to walk in a way that shows you feel angry or offended
mantelpiece: a shelf above the opening of a fireplace
tilt: if something tilts, it moves so that one side is lower than the other
muster up: summon up
commonplace: a statement or idea that is expressed very often
set back: to delay the progress of someone or something
massed: dense
abound with/in: to be filled with or contain a lot of something
steeple: a tall pointed tower on a church
thatch: to cover a roof of a building with dried plants such as straw or reeds
grocer: someone whose job is to sell food and other goods for the home in a small shop. The shop they work in is called a grocer’s.
spit: to force saliva out from your mouth
smear: to spread a soft or liquid substance on a surface in an untidy way
confounding: confusing, surprising
exult: to feel or show great pleasure and excitement, especially about something that you have achieved
celebrated: famous and praised by many people
postern: a back or side entrance.
jonquil, hawthorn, plum and kiss-me-at-the-gate: different varieties of flowers
frothy: covered with or consisting of a mass of small air bubbles
swathe someone/something in something to completely cover someone or something with something
intrude into: to enter a place where you are not allowed to go
dishevelled: if you are dishevelled, your hair and clothes do not look tidy
dazed: unable to think clearly or understand what is happening because you are surprised, upset, tired, or have been hit on the head
topple: to stop being steady and fall, or to make someone or something do this
shade your eyes: to keep light from shining directly into your eyes
run down: if something such as a machine or clock runs down, or if you run it down, it gradually stops working because it has no power
overwind: wind (a mechanism) beyond the proper stopping point.
disarray: a situation in which clothes or objects are very untidy
billow: a moving cloud of something such as smoke or steam
scanty: not much, and less than is needed
bewilderment: a feeling of being extremely confused
deck out: to decorate a person or object with something, usually for a special occasion
it transpired (that): formal used before you mention a fact or event that people did not know about
laudable: deserving to be praised or admired
random shot: a shot not directed or aimed toward any particular object, or a shot with the muzzle of the gun much elevated.
notoriety: a situation in which someone or something is famous for something bad
insidious: something that is insidious is dangerous because it seems to be harmless or not important but in fact causes harm or damage
spring: to happen or appear somewhere suddenly or unexpectedly
service: a religious ceremony
meretricious: seeming to be good, useful, or important but not really having any value at all
fierce: involving a lot of force or energy
bracing: cold in a way that makes you feel full of energy
self-absorbed: too concerned about yourself and not interested in other people
grotesque: extremely ugly and strange
conceit: a clever and unusual idea or way of comparing things, especially in poetry
ineffable: so impressive or beautiful that you cannot describe it
spin out: to make something last for a long time, usually longer than is good or necessary
washstand: a tall table with a bowl for water used in the past for washing your face or hands
fancy: imagination, or something that you imagine or dream about
oblivious: not noticing something, or not knowing about it
embrace: a situation in which someone completely accepts something such as a new belief, idea, or way of life
reverie: A state of abstracted musing; daydreaming.
dismayed: very upset, disappointed, or annoyed about something surprising or shocking that has happened
ferocious: severe or strong
savoury: usually in negatives morally or socially pleasant
turgid: using language in a way that is complicated and difficult to understand
elicit: to manage to get information from someone
skipper: someone who is in charge of a small ship or fishing boat. The more formal word is captain.
lavish: something that is lavish exists, is spent, or is given in a very large amount, especially if it costs a lot of money
contingency: something that might happen in the future, especially something bad
repose: if you repose something such as trust or confidence in someone, you have trust or confidence in them
inhospitable: unfriendly to guests
debauchery: behaviour that is considered to be immoral because it involves a lot of sex, alcohol, or illegal drugs
seaboard: the part of a country that is next to the sea
explode: to prove that a story or theory that many people believe is in fact false
trot: to walk with short quick steps
ingratiate yourself with someone: showing disapproval to try to get someone’s approval by doing or saying things that will please them
lounge: to lie, sit, or lean in a relaxed or lazy way
cordial: friendly
questioning: showing that you have doubts
trot: if a horse or other animal trots, it moves more quickly than when walking but does not run
profusion: a large quantity of something
expend: to use time, energy, money etc. doing something
hitherto: until the present time
oblivion: a state in which you do not notice what is happening around you, usually because you are sleeping or very drunk
genial: friendly and kind
tipsy: slightly drunk
septic: infected with bacteria
slump: to suddenly fall or sit because you are very tired or unconscious
counter: to reply to a criticism or statement that you disagree with
stoop: to bend the top half of your body downwards
unprecedented: the greatest in size, amount, degree etc. that has ever been known
beget: formal to cause something to happen or be created
chafe: to feel annoyed and impatient about something that stops you doing what you want
obtrusive: attracting attention in a way that is not pleasant or welcome
volley: to hit or kick a ball back to an opponent before it touches the ground
rouge: a red powder or cream that is used to give colour to your cheeks
pebble: a small stone, especially one that has been made smooth by water
menagerie: a large collection of wild animals kept in cages etc.
stir: to move, or to be moved, slightly because of the wind
tip: to pour something from one place or container into another
dilatory: slow to do or decide something
radiant: someone who is radiant looks extremely happy
blot out: to forget something unpleasant, or to make someone forget an unpleasant memory or feeling
outunwavering: strong and steady despite opposition or other problems
rind: the outer skin of a fruit such as a lemon or orange
break off: to stop doing something, especially speaking
venture: to be brave enough to say something
lurking: to wait, sometimes hiding, in order to frighten, annoy, or attack someone
gather: to believe that something is true, although no one has directly told you about it
hum: to make a low continuous sound
bustle: a lot of noisy activity in a crowded place
mount: formal to go up stairs, or to climb up somewhere
pap: mainly American very soft food for babies or people who are too ill to eat ordinary food
gulp or gulp down: to swallow food or drink quickly in a way that shows you are very hungry
wed: to combine one thing with another
perishable: subject to decay, spoilage, or destruction.
romp: if children or animals romp, they play or move around in a lively and often noisy way
tuning fork: a metal object that produces a particular note when you hit it, used by someone making small changes to a musical instrument so that it produces the correct note. It has a handle and two long thin parts.
strike on/upon something: to find or think of something suddenly, unexpectedly, or by accident
the incarnation: in the Christian religion, the appearance of God in human form, as Jesus Christ
sentimentality: the expression of feelings of sadness, sympathy, love etc. in a way that is unsuitable or obvious
wisp: something that has a long, thin, delicate shape, for example a cloud, smoke, or hair
obscure: not known about, or not well known
expectant: feeling excited about something that you think is soon going to happen
sulky: feeling angry and unhappy and not wanting to talk to anyone or to be with other people
villainous: mainly literary evil
squint: to close your eyes slightly and try to see something, either because of a bright light or because your eyes do not work very well
grudging: done in an unwilling way
bribe: to give money or presents to someone so that they will help you by doing something dishonest or illegal
tradesman: someone who sells goods or services
pigsty: informal a place that is very dirty or untidy (chiquero)
caravansary: a group of people travelling together.
something is up: spoken used for saying that something is wrong or something bad is happening
scene: a noisy argument or a strong show of feelings in a public place
harrowing: extremely worrying, upsetting, or frightening
broil: cook (meat or fish) by exposure to direct heat. / become very hot, especially from the sun.
simmer: to cook slowly at a temperature near boiling, or to cook something in this way
noon: twelve o’clock in the middle of the day
weary: showing that you are very tired
design: literary a plan or idea
flushed: looking red because you are hot or ill, or feel angry, embarrassed, or excited
mouthpiece: the part of something such as a musical instrument or a telephone that you put in or near your mouth
furnish: to provide furniture for a room or house
salon: old-fashioned a room in a large house used for receiving and entertaining guests
affront: something insulting that makes you shocked and angry
awning: a sheet of cloth hung above a window or door as protection against rain or sun, especially outside a shop
idol: a picture or statue that is worshipped as a god
clog: block
launder: formal to wash and iron clothes
croon: to speak in a soft voice that is intended to make someone feel calm
relinquish: voluntarily cease to keep or claim; give up.
root: establish deeply and firmly.
rickey: a drink consisting of a spirit, typically gin, with lime or lemon juice, carbonated water, and ice.
stagnant: stagnant water does not flow and often smells bad
refuse: rubbish
dog days: the hottest days of the year
scalloped: decorated with a row of curves along the edge
ale: a type of dark-coloured beer without bubbles
morbid: showing a strong interest in subjects such as death that most people think are unpleasant
flash: mainly literary if someone’s eyes flash, a sudden strong emotion appears in them, especially anger
temper: a person's state of mind in terms of their being angry or calm.
fuss: a lot of unnecessary worry or excitement about something
savage: criticizing someone or something very much
rigid: unable to move because of a strong emotion such as fear or anger
quart: a unit for measuring an amount of liquid, containing two pints (0.96 litres)
cape: a loose piece of clothing without sleeves that hangs from your shoulders
distasteful: unpleasant in a way that upsets or offends you
boisterous: lively and noisy
keenly: if you look at someone keenly or watch them keenly, you look closely at them and notice everything about them
medium: someone who claims to be able to communicate with the spirits of dead people
snort: to make a sudden loud noise through your nose, for example because you are angry or laughing
stall: if a vehicle or its engine stalls, or if the driver stalls it, it suddenly stops working because not enough power is reaching the engine
run-down: so tired that you do not feel well
flurry: a small amount of snow, rain, or leaves blown around in a twisting movement
wise up: informal to learn or understand the truth about something, or to tell someone the truth about something
relentless: something bad that is relentless never seems to stop or improve
alight on something: to suddenly notice or think of something
locality: a particular area or district
disquieting: making you feel very worried or nervous
whip: a long thin piece of leather with a handle on one end, used for making horses move faster or for hitting someone
inviolate: something that is inviolate cannot be attacked or harmed
spidery: long and thin
elevated: elevated bridge
overripe: informal things such as stories or films that are overripe contain so much emotion that they seem silly. A more usual word is sentimental.
draw up: if a vehicle draws up, it arrives at a place and stops
engage: to start to employ someone or use their services
parlour: old-fashioned a room in a house, used for entertaining guests
mint julep: cocktail usually made with mint leaf, bourbon, sugar, and water.
clerk: American a receptionist in a hotel
stifling: heat or a room that is stifling is so hot that it is difficult for you to breathe
swell: very good
crab: informal to grumble; to complain, especially continuously and about unimportant things
portentous: overly solemn
append: to add something to the end of a piece of writing
putter: a special type of stick that is used in golf for hitting the ball a short distance along the ground towards the hole
bum: get by asking or begging.
tattoo: a rhythmic tapping or drumming.
eye: to look at someone or something carefully
(out) in the open: not secret
content: satisfied
count someone out: to not include someone in a plan or activity
sneer: to speak in an unpleasant way that shows you do not respect someone or something and you think you are better than them
overboard: off a boat or ship and into the water
gibberish: nonsense
libertine: someone who behaves in an immoral way, especially someone who has a lot of sexual relationships
prig: someone who thinks that they are better than other people because they always obey strict moral rules
spring to your feet: stand up quickly
partake: formal to be involved in an activity
vicarious: experienced through the actions of other people
grope: grope or grope around: to search for something inside a container, bag etc. by feeling with your hands
clergyman: a priest or minister of a Christian church
sage: wise and showing good judgment
spree: a short period that you spend doing a particular activity, especially something enjoyable such as spending money or drinking alcohol
revolting: extremely unpleasant
earnest: serious, determined, and meaning what you say
wipe out: to destroy or get rid of something completely
appeal: an urgent request for people to give you something that you need such as help, money, or information
rancour: a feeling of hate or anger that lasts a long time
swindle: to cheat someone in order to get their money
suit yourself: spoken used for telling someone rather rudely to do whatever they want, even though it is not what you want them to do
over the counter: drugs and medicines that are available over the counter can be bought without a doctor’s prescription
come in on: to join other people who are involved in something such as a business project
leave someone in the lurch: to leave someone in a difficult situation without helping them
have someone up: to send someone to a court of law because they have been accused of a crime
babble: to speak quickly in a way that other people cannot understand easily
slander: legal the crime of saying something about someone that is not true and is likely to damage their reputation
magnanimous: willing to forgive people, or willing to be kind and fair
presumptuous: showing too much confidence and not enough respect
flirtation: a short and not very serious sexual or romantic relationship
stroke: an unexpected but important event or action
joint: informal a restaurant, bar, or club, especially one that is cheap and not very nice
inquest: an official attempt by a court to find the cause of someone’s death
racket: informal a loud annoying noise that continues for a long time
agreeable: formal pleasant, nice, or satisfactory
colourless: not interesting, exciting, or original
bound for something: travelling towards a place
gathering: gradually increasing
waver: move quiveringly; flicker
knelt: past and past part.of kneel
shirtwaist: American a woman's blouse resembling a shirt
flap: a piece that is attached on one side only
wreck: American a crash
intent: concentrating hard on something
issue from something: if something such as a sound or smell issues from a place, it comes out from there
expostulate: to express strong disagreement
derange: throw into disorder
threshold: the floor at the entrance to a room or building
glazed: a glazed look or expression shows no interest or emotion
keenly: very strongly
wad: a round mass of something soft, for example cotton wool
truculent: aggressively defiant
self-conscious: embarrassed or worried about how you look or what other people think of you
dispose of something: to remove something such as a problem by dealing with it successfully
brisk: speaking quickly and only saying what is necessary. This word is sometimes used for saying that someone seems unfriendly
despicable: extremely unpleasant
wince: to react to something with a sudden expression on your face that shows you are embarrassed or feel pain
step on it: informal used for telling someone to drive a vehicle faster
presently: old-fashioned soon
unpleasantness: a situation in which people get angry, violent, or upset
rift: a crack or long narrow space that forms in a large mass of something such as rock or clouds
sill: a narrow shelf at the bottom of a window in a house or building
foghorn: a piece of equipment that makes a loud deep sound as a warning to other ships when there is fog
toss and turn: to be unable to sleep, or to sleep badly, especially because something is worrying you
dejection: someone who is dejected has lost all their hope or enthusiasm, especially because they have failed at something
pavilion: a building or tent at an exhibition or show
musty: smelling unpleasant and not fresh
humidor: an airtight container for keeping cigars or tobacco moist.
clutch: to hold someone or something firmly, for example because you are afraid or in pain, or do not want to lose them
extravaganza: a large and impressive celebration or event
play out: to develop or end in a particular way
redolent: reminding you of something / smelling of something
withered: a withered plant has become dry and is dying
pervade: to spread through the whole of something and become a very obvious feature of it
ravenous: very hungry
unscrupulous: willing to do things that are unfair, dishonest, or illegal
trade on something: to get an advantage by making use of something
stratum: a group or class in society
liable to something: likely to suffer from something unpleasant
whim: a sudden feeling that you must have or must do something. This word often suggests that what someone wants is not important
impersonal: used about large organizations that do not think about people's individual needs and situations
the holy grail: informal something that someone wants very much to have or to achieve
hot: difficult, or dangerous
throw someone over: to end a romantic or sexual relationship with someone
tranquil: calm, still, and quiet
majority: the rank or office of a major
wail: to make a long high sound
horn: a musical instrument consisting of a tube that is wide at one end and that you play by blowing into the narrow end
bead: a small usually round piece of plastic, glass, metal etc with a hole through it, that you put on a string or chain with other beads and wear as jewellery
chiffon: very thin transparent cloth made from silk or nylon
sharper: someone who cheats people in order to get their money
out-of-the-way: difficult to find because of being a long way away from major towns, roads etc
day-coach: an ordinary railroad passenger car, as distinguished from a sleeping car, parlor car, or other deluxe accommodations
vestibule: a room between the outside door and the main part of a building or house
folding chair: a chair that can be collapsed flat for easy storage or transport.

jueves, 14 de junio de 2012

The Big Binge

Once there was a writer who drank too much.

For some writers the story ends there, but not for F. Scott Fitzgerald. With the publication of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, he became a legend, the symbol and embodiment of all the gaudy and juvenile excesses lumped under that handy misnomer, the Jazz Age. After Fitzgerald's death in Hollywood in 1940, the legend persisted, but with an important addition: the charming playboy was mourned as a great writer who had tragically dissipated his talent. To some intellectuals, the Fitzgerald story seemed the perfect prop to bolster a shaky thesis: that the U.S. is culturally too anemic to nourish its good writers. By implication, Fitzgerald's dipsomaniacal botch of his life derived from and was part of the national botch.

Far from withering, the Fitzgerald legend is livelier today than at any time since its hero's death. Unlike many literary "revivals," the interest in his books is real, not the byproduct of a publisher's promotion. At literary shindigs nowadays the Fitzgerald worshipers generally outnumber the Hemingway and Faulkner fans. Budd Schulberg's The Disenchanted, largely a fictional pry into Fitzgerald's private life, has sold more than 250,000 copies.

Arthur Mizener, an English professor at Minnesota's Carleton College, has tried to do in a biography what Schulberg failed to do in his novel: root out the sources of Fitzgerald's failure as a man and evaluate his worth as a writer. If The Far Side of Paradise is not a distinguished biography, it is at least an honest and sympathetic effort to see Fitzgerald as he really was. And, like The Disenchanted, it is practically insured against failure or dullness by its material—irritating and fascinating in almost equal parts.

Two-Cylinder Complex. The handsome, blond freshman who went to Princeton from St. Paul in the fall of 1913 had been a thoroughly spoiled youngster ("I didn't know till 15 that there was auyone in the world except me . . .")*When he started school at the age of seven, it was on condition that he go only half days, whichever half he chose. Later, when he made the football team at Newman School, the quarterback threatened in the middle of a game to beat up Fitzgerald because he didn't have the guts to make a tackle. Already, as he did throughout his life, Fitzgerald judged himself with ruthless accuracy: "I knew that at bottom I lacked the essentials. At the last crisis, I knew I had no real courage, perseverance or self-respect."

An insatiable climber whose Princeton ambition was to become a big-man-on-campus, Fitzgerald was embarrassed both by his Irish mother and by his father's job as a wholesale grocer's salesman. Years later he wrote to Novelist John O'Hara: "I am half black Irish and half old American stock with the usual exaggerated ancestral pretensions . . . Being born in that atmosphere of crack, wise crack and countercrack I developed a two cylinder inferiority complex ... I spent my youth in alternately crawling in front of the kitchen maids and insulting the great."

He was far too busy with extracurricular affairs to be a good student. His big effort for three years was working on the Triangle Club shows. He never graduated. But he knew what he wanted to become. Said he to his fellow student Edmund Wilson: "I want to be one of the greatest writers who have ever lived, don't you?"

"World's Worst." The drinking had begun. During a college vacation at home he barged into St. John's Episcopal church during a Christmas service, staggered up to the pulpit and casually said to the rector: "Don't mind me, go on with the sermon." It was the first of many Fitzgerald toots that made the papers. From Princeton, in 1917, he went into the Army, never got overseas, but left a reputation at Fort Leavenworth as "the world's worst second lieutenant." In the Army he wrote his first novel, which was rejected by Scribner. And while at camp in Alabama he met his future wife and drinking partner, Zelda Sayre, "just 18, a beautiful girl with marvelous golden hair and that air of innocent assurance attractive Southern girls have."

What Zelda wanted was fun and money, lots of both, and she wouldn't marry Scott until he had the money to pay for the fun. This Side of Paradise reassured them both. The barely disguised story of Fitzgerald's Princeton experience, it made its author famous overnight. The magazines, chiefly the Satevepost, bought his stories at top rates as fast as he could turn them out. Yet This Side of Paradise was far from a great novel. It was crude, snobbish, awkward and frequently juvenile. Critic Harry Hansen exclaimed: "My, how that boy Fitzgerald can write!" But an abler critic, Fitzgerald's old Princeton friend, Edmund Wilson, wrote: "It is one of the most illiterate books of any merit ever published .. . full of bogus ideas and faked literary references . . ." Read today, the book's account of youthful behavior seems almost a burlesque.

Novelist John Marquand once wished "that one's own children behaved as sensibly and nicely."

"They Beat Me." For the Fitzgeralds, as for many of their contemporaries, the big toot was on—what Scott called "the greatest, gaudiest spree in history." In New York, Scott fought with waiters, and Zelda danced on dinner tables. They went wading in public fountains and tried to undress at the Scandals. No matter how much he wrote, Fitzgerald was continually in debt. By 1924, he was living at a $36,000-a-year clip. Two years earlier, he had published The Beautiful and Damned, the story of a rich idler's moral collapse. It had the same faults as Paradise, and most sound critics, Wilson included, gave it the raps it deserved. But his short stories, some of them excellent, sold as well as ever.

The Fitzgeralds went to Paris in 1925, and for famous Author Fitzgerald it was "1000 parties and no work." He went on ten-day bats and came to in places as far away as Brussels, wondering how he got there. But that spring he had published The Great Gatsby, a beautifully written, technically near-perfect story about the Long Island rich and a young bootlegger's pathetic belief that money could buy respect and happiness. This time, Fitzgerald got the critical praise he hungered after. Famed Novelist Edith Wharton invited him to call. Drunk, and with his inferiority complex working overtime, he accused her of knowing nothing about life. Improvised Fitzgerald: "Why, when my wife and I first came to Paris, we took a room in a bordello!" Edith Wharton and her friends showed no surprise or shock. As Fitzgerald paused, Edith Wharton said, "But Mr. Fitzgerald, you haven't told us what they did in the bordello." Fitzgerald had no answer for that one. Stuck with his lie and shocked by it himself, he left the party, went home to Zelda and cried, between drinks, "They beat me! They beat me!"

His sense of insecurity led to all sorts of adolescent petulance. Once, when he was not invited to a party on the Riviera, he stood behind a hedge and peppered the guests with garbage. Zelda kept right up with him. At a farewell party for Alexander Woollcott, she kicked off her black lace panties and presented them as a go-ing-away present. When budding Novelist Robert Penn Warren praised This Side of Paradise, Scott truculently replied: "You mention that book again and I'll slug you."

Wet Goods. By the null Zelda had lost her mind (she was to die in a sanitarium fire in 1948), Fitzgerald's indebtedness was chronic, and even his short stories were being rejected. The novel on which he had spent his greatest effort, Tender Is the Night, appeared in 1934, just as the proletarian novel was moving into its heyday. A long, lyrical study of the emotional and moral bankruptcy of U.S. expatriates in France, Fitzgerald's book sold badly, and was received indifferently by the critics. He spent the last years of his life in Hollywood, at first optimistic about what he could accomplish there, at length convinced that "for a long time [the movies] will remain nothing more nor less than an industry to manufacture children's wet goods." When he died of a heart attack at 44, hardly anybody went to the funeral home. One who did was his old friend Dorothy Parker. Taking the epitaph line from The Great Gatsby, she said, "The poor son of a bitch!"

Fitzgerald died leaving two novels (Gatsby and Tender Is the Night) and a handful of short stories that rank with the most accomplished U.S. writing of this century. His unfinished The Last Tycoon, a novel about a Hollywood producer, showed touches of even greater promise that he never lived to fulfill.

Fitzgerald analyzed his weakness better than any of his critics—especially in The Crack-Up, a ruthless confession edited by Edmund Wilson. Too late, he admitted "an overextension of the flank, a burning of the candle at both ends; a call upon physical resources that I did not command, like a man overdrawing at his bank ... I have the feeling that someone, I'm not sure who, is sound asleep—someone who could have helped me to keep my shop open. It wasn't Lenin, and it wasn't God."


lunes, 21 de mayo de 2012

James Joyce


in full  James Augustine Aloysius Joyce 
born Feb. 2, 1882, Dublin, Ire.
died Jan. 13, 1941, Zürich, Switz.

Irish novelist noted for his experimental use of language and exploration of new literary methods in such large works of fiction as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939).

Early life

Joyce, the eldest of 10 children in his family to survive infancy, was sent at age six to Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school that has been described as “the Eton of Ireland.” But his father was not the man to stay affluent for long; he drank, neglected his affairs, and borrowed money from his office, and his family sank deeper and deeper into poverty, the children becoming accustomed to conditions of increasing sordidness. Joyce did not return to Clongowes in 1891; instead he stayed at home for the next two years and tried to educate himself, asking his mother to check his work. In April 1893 he and his brother Stanislaus were admitted, without fees, to Belvedere College, a Jesuit grammar school in Dublin. Joyce did well there academically and was twice elected president of the Marian Society, a position virtually that of head boy. He left, however, under a cloud, as it was thought (correctly) that he had lost his Roman Catholic faith.

He entered University College, Dublin, which was then staffed by Jesuit priests. There he studied languages and reserved his energies for extracurricular activities, reading widely—particularly in books not recommended by the Jesuits—and taking an active part in the college's Literary and Historical Society. Greatly admiring Henrik Ibsen, he learned Dano-Norwegian to read the original and had an article, Ibsen's New Drama—a review of the play When We Dead Awaken—published in the London Fortnightly Review in 1900 just after his 18th birthday. This early success confirmed Joyce in his resolution to become a writer and persuaded his family, friends, and teachers that the resolution was justified. In October 1901 he published an essay, "The Day of the Rabblement," attacking the Irish Literary Theatre (later the Dublin Abbey Theatre) for catering to popular taste.

Joyce was leading a dissolute life at this time but worked sufficiently hard to pass his final examinations, matriculating with “second-class honours in Latin” and obtaining the degree of B.A. on Oct. 31, 1902. Never did he relax his efforts to master the art of writing. He wrote verses and experimented with short prose passages that he called “epiphanies,” a word that Joyce used to describe his accounts of moments when the real truth about some person or object was revealed. To support himself while writing, he decided to become a doctor, but, after attending a few lectures in Dublin, he borrowed what money he could and went to Paris, where he abandoned the idea of medical studies, wrote some book reviews, and studied in the Sainte-Geneviève Library.

Recalled home in April 1903 because his mother was dying, he tried various occupations, including teaching, and lived at various addresses, including the Martello Tower at Sandycove, now Ireland's Joyce Museum. He had begun writing a lengthy naturalistic novel, Stephen Hero, based on the events of his own life, when in 1904 George Russell offered £1 each for some simple short stories with an Irish background to appear in a farmers' magazine, The Irish Homestead. In response Joyce began writing the stories published as Dubliners (1914). Three stories, "The Sisters," "Eveline," and "After the Race," had appeared under the pseudonym Stephen Dedalus before the editor decided that Joyce's work was not suitable for his readers. Meanwhile Joyce had met a girl named Nora Barnacle, with whom he fell in love on June 16, the day that he chose as what is known as “Bloomsday” (the day of his novel Ulysses). Eventually he persuaded her to leave Ireland with him, although he refused, on principle, to go through a ceremony of marriage.

Early travels and works

Joyce and Nora left Dublin together in October 1904. Joyce obtained a position in the Berlitz School, Pola, Austria-Hungary, working in his spare time at his novel and short stories. In 1905 they moved to Trieste, where James's brother Stanislaus joined them and where their children, George and Lucia, were born. In 1906–07, for eight months, he worked at a bank in Rome, disliking almost everything he saw. Ireland seemed pleasant by contrast; he wrote to Stanislaus that he had not given credit in his stories to the Irish virtue of hospitality and began to plan a new story, "The Dead." The early stories were meant, he said, to show the stultifying inertia and social conformity from which Dublin suffered, but they are written with a vividness that arises from his success in making every word and every detail significant. His studies in European literature had interested him in both the Symbolists and the Realists; his work began to show a synthesis of these two rival movements. He decided that Stephen Hero lacked artistic control and form and rewrote it as “a work in five chapters” under a title—A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—intended to direct attention to its focus upon the central figure.

In 1909 he visited Ireland twice to try to publish Dubliners and set up a chain of Irish cinemas. Neither effort succeeded, and he was distressed when a former friend told him that he had shared Nora's affections in the summer of 1904. Another old friend proved this to be a lie. Joyce always felt that he had been betrayed, however, and the theme of betrayal runs through much of his later writings.

When Italy declared war in 1915 Stanislaus was interned, but James and his family were allowed to go to Zürich. At first, while he gave private lessons in English and worked on the early chapters of Ulysses—which he had first thought of as another short story about a “Mr. Hunter”—his financial difficulties were great. He was helped by a large grant from Edith Rockefeller McCormick and finally by a series of grants from Harriet Shaw Weaver, editor of the Egoist magazine, which by 1930 had amounted to more than £23,000. Her generosity resulted partly from her admiration for his work and partly from her sympathy with his difficulties, for, as well as poverty, he had to contend with eye diseases that never really left him. From February 1917 until 1930 he endured a series of 25 operations for iritis, glaucoma, and cataracts, sometimes being for short intervals totally blind. Despite this he kept up his spirits and continued working, some of his most joyful passages being composed when his health was at its worst.

Unable to find an English printer willing to set up A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man for book publication, Weaver published it herself, having the sheets printed in the United States, where it was also published, on Dec. 29, 1916, by B.W. Huebsch, in advance of the English Egoist Press edition. Encouraged by the acclaim given to this, in March 1918, the American Little Review began to publish episodes from Ulysses, continuing until the work was banned in December 1920. An autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist traces the intellectual and emotional development of a young man named Stephen Dedalus and ends with his decision to leave Dublin for Paris to devote his life to art. The last words of Stephen prior to his departure are thought to express the author's feelings upon the same occasion in his own life: “Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of my experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”


After World War I Joyce returned for a few months to Trieste, and then—at the invitation of Ezra Pound—in July 1920 he went to Paris. His novel Ulysses was published there on Feb. 2, 1922, by Sylvia Beach, proprietor of a bookshop called “Shakespeare and Company” Ulysses is constructed as a modern parallel to Homer's Odyssey. All of the action of the novel takes place in Dublin on a single day (June 16, 1904). The three central characters—Stephen Dedalus (the hero of Joyce's earlier Portrait of the Artist), Leopold Bloom, a Jewish advertising canvasser, and his wife, Molly Bloom—are intended to be modern counterparts of Telemachus, Ulysses, and Penelope. By the use of interior monologue Joyce reveals the innermost thoughts and feelings of these characters as they live hour by hour, passing from a public bath to a funeral, library, maternity hospital, and brothel.

The main strength of Ulysses lies in its depth of character portrayal and its breadth of humour. Yet the book is most famous for its use of a variant of the interior monologue known as the “stream-of-consciousness” technique. Joyce claimed to have taken this technique from a forgotten French writer, Édouard Dujardin (1861–1949), who had used interior monologues in his novel Les Lauriers sont coupés (1888; We'll to the Woods No More), but many critics have pointed out that it is at least as old as the novel, though no one before Joyce had used it so continuously. Joyce's major innovation was to carry the interior monologue one step further by rendering, for the first time in literature, the myriad flow of impressions, half thoughts, associations, lapses and hesitations, incidental worries, and sudden impulses that form part of the individual's conscious awareness along with the trend of his rational thoughts. This stream-of-consciousness technique proved widely influential in much 20th-century fiction.

Sometimes the abundant technical and stylistic devices in Ulysses become too prominent, particularly in the much-praised “Oxen of the Sun” chapter (Episode 14), in which the language goes through every stage in the development of English prose from Anglo-Saxon to the present day to symbolize the growth of a fetus in the womb. The execution is brilliant, but the process itself seems ill-advised. More often the effect is to add intensity and depth, as, for example, in the “Aeolus” chapter (Episode 7) set in a newspaper office, with rhetoric as the theme. Joyce inserted into it hundreds of rhetorical figures and many references to winds—something “blows up” instead of happening, people “raise the wind” when they are getting money—and the reader becomes aware of an unusual liveliness in the very texture of the prose. The famous last chapter of the novel, in which we follow the stream of consciousness of Molly Bloom as she lies in bed, gains much of its effect from being written in eight huge unpunctuated paragraphs.

Ulysses, which was already well known because of the censorship troubles, became immediately famous upon publication. Joyce had prepared for its critical reception by having a lecture given by Valery Larbaud, who pointed out the Homeric correspondences in it and that “each episode deals with a particular art or science, contains a particular symbol, represents a special organ of the human body, has its particular colour . . . proper technique, and takes place at a particular time.” Joyce never published this scheme; indeed, he even deleted the chapter titles in the book as printed. It may be that this scheme was more useful to Joyce when he was writing than it is to the reader.

James Joyce, photograph by Gisèle Freund, 1939.

Finnegans Wake

In Paris Joyce worked on Finnegans Wake, the title of which was kept secret, the novel being known simply as “Work in Progress” until it was published in its entirety in May 1939. In addition to his chronic eye troubles, Joyce suffered great and prolonged anxiety over his daughter's mental health. What had seemed her slight eccentricity grew into unmistakable and sometimes violent mental disorder that Joyce tried by every possible means to cure, but it became necessary finally to place her in a mental hospital near Paris. In 1931 he and Nora visited London, where they were married, his scruples on this point having yielded to his daughter's complaints.

Meanwhile he wrote and rewrote sections of Finnegans Wake; often a passage was revised more than a dozen times before he was satisfied. Basically the book is, in one sense, the story of a publican in Chapelizod, near Dublin, his wife, and their three children; but Mr. Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (often designated by variations on his initials, HCE, one form of which is “Here Comes Everybody”), Mrs. Anna Livia Plurabelle, Kevin, Jerry, and Isabel are every family of mankind, the archetypal family about whom all humanity is dreaming. The 18th-century Italian Giambattista Vico provides the basic theory that history is cyclic; to demonstrate this the book begins with the end of a sentence left unfinished on the last page. It is thousands of dreams in one. Languages merge: Anna Livia has “vlossyhair”—wlosy being Polish for “hair”; “a bad of wind” blows, bâd being Turkish for “wind.” Characters from literature and history appear and merge and disappear as “the intermisunderstanding minds of the anticollaborators” dream on. On another level, the protagonists are the city of Dublin and the River Liffey—which flows enchantingly through the pages, “leaning with the sloothering slide of her, giddygaddy, grannyma, gossipaceous Anna Livia”—standing as representatives of the history of Ireland and, by extension, of all human history. And throughout the book Joyce himself is present, joking, mocking his critics, defending his theories, remembering his father, enjoying himself.

After the fall of France in World War II (1940), Joyce took his family back to Zürich, where he died, still disappointed with the reception given to his last book.


James Joyce's subtle yet frank portrayal of human nature, coupled with his mastery of language and brilliant development of new literary forms, made him one of the most commanding influences on novelists of the 20th century. Ulysses has come to be accepted as a major masterpiece, two of its characters, Leopold Bloom and his wife, Molly, being portrayed with a fullness and warmth of humanity unsurpassed in fiction. Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is also remarkable for the intimacy of the reader's contact with the central figure and contains some astonishingly vivid passages. The 15 short stories collected in Dubliners mainly focused upon Dublin life's sordidness, but "The Dead" is one of the world's great short stories. Critical opinion remains divided over Joyce's last work, Finnegans Wake, a universal dream about an Irish family, composed in a multilingual style on many levels and aiming at a multiplicity of meanings; but, although seemingly unintelligible at first reading, the book is full of poetry and wit, containing passages of great beauty. Joyce's other works—some verse (Chamber Music, 1907; Pomes Penyeach, 1927; Collected Poems, 1936) and a play, Exiles (1918)—though competently written, added little to his international stature.

James Stephen Atherton.


Joyce, James. (2012). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.