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JOyce Should Awake

Atualizado: 13 de Nov de 2020





Joyce Should Awake


Dirce Waltrick do Amarante


Many people are trying to guess where James Joyce would like to be after his death. According to documents, the writer didn’t state that he wanted to be buried in Dublin; but he also didn’t specify where he wanted to be until doomsday.

This controversial issue about Joyce’s bones has arrived in Brazil --not the mythical island of Brazil, but the dystopian Brazil, in South America. So, I dare give my opinion about the subject.

For sure, we can say that James Joyce never left Ireland, as he expressed at least once. He chose to live abroad, because of his paradoxical relationship with his motherland. On the one hand, he hated Ireland because its peaceful behavior against, for instance, its colonizer, England, and the Catholic Church; on the other hand, he loved its Emerald Island, and in one of his letters to Nora Barnacle (the future Ms. Joyce), he compares her to Ireland, saying that she was his “little Ireland”. Nora was one of the few people that could understand Joyce, and, with her, he was at ease. In a letter, Joyce wrote: “I want to go back to my love, my life, my star, my little strange-eyed Ireland! A hundred thousand kisses, darling!”.

Who would dare say that Joyce would stay in Zurich after a multitude of changes that occurred in Ireland since 1904, when he left it? Maybe we should wake Joyce with some drops of whiskey, as it happened with Tim Finnegans in the ballad featured in one of his novels, Finnegans Wake.

Ireland’s economy is going well. The Irish government works hard to boost the importance of Irish culture across the globe. In Brazil, for instance, most of the events that are organized for researchers that work with Ireland’s culture are supported by the Irish government, especially by the Irish Embassy and Irish General Consulate in Brazil.

Nowadays Irish people can peacefully see the English people dealing with Brexit. Joyce would never have guessed such a scene, ever in the craziest of dreams. James Joyce might stay with the European community. He was Irish, but he lived abroad; a European passport would be useful for him. Joyce could work, too, as a Minister of Tourism (if this position existed) for Europe. Because of him, Joyce’s readers travel to Triste, to see where Joyce spent many years of his life. They could go to Paris, where they would visit the new Shakespeare and Company near Notre- Dame Cathedral, and go the L’Odéon street, where the original bookstore once was. There, we can see a plaque that informs that was where Sylvia Beach (his editor) and Joyce shook hands. They could also travel to Zurich, where his remains are, and where we can speak to the most important Joycean researcher, Fritz Senn, who leads the James Joyce Foundation with energy and passion. Senn is the soul of Joyce in Zurich.

For those who go to Ireland to follow Joyce’s steps, they will find lots of monuments and places described by Joyce in his books such as the Martello Tower, the Sweny’s Pharmacy, Phoenix Park, etc. All of them are well preserved. As a matter of fact, Sweny’s Pharmacy almost closed its doors last year, but Joyce’s avid readers did not allow it, giving financial support to the traditional pharmacy. Last but not least, researchers find an oasis in Dublin with the James Joyce Center.

Some say that Irish people did not preserve Joyce’s memories, destroying important sceneries present in his books. This kind of lack of preservation isn’t exclusive to Ireland: I do not recall if we were able to visit, for instance, Leonora Carrington’s Crockery House in England.

Regarding Joyce’s bones, we can’t pay homage to his grave in Dublin, but we can visit the graves of Parnell, of Joyce’s parents, and of Paddy Dignam, if we can find them at Glasnevin Cemetery.

Leave Joyce’s bones in Zurich with his soul, Fritz Senn, and leave Joyce’s soul freely in Dublin, with his bones in every inch of Dublin’s streets, and allow Joyce enthusiasts to travel across Europe in search of Joyce’s time, as Marcel Proust would say.

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