BBC Radio 4: „Paris-Zurich-Trieste: Joyce l’European“

Logo BBC bei Wikimedia CommonsPro­fes­sor Andrew Hussey exam­ines the mas­sive impact that James Joyce’s self-pro­claimed exile in Con­ti­nen­tal Europe, where he spent more than half his life, had upon his work.
The Irish cul­tur­al indus­tries have in recent decades man­aged to turn James Joyce into a valu­able tourist com­mod­i­ty – ‚a cash machine‘, ‚the near­est thing we’ve got to a lit­er­ary lep­rechaun.‘ Joyce would sure­ly have dis­ap­proved. „When the soul of man is born in this coun­try,“ he wrote, „there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nation­al­i­ty, lan­guage, reli­gion. I shall try to fly by those nets.“ That is pre­cise­ly what he did, leav­ing Ire­land behind and liv­ing more than half his life across Con­ti­nen­tal Europe. As Antho­ny Burgess put it, „Out there in Europe the mod­ernistic move­ment was stir­ring,“ and by plac­ing him­self in the cul­tur­al cross-cur­rents of cities like Tri­este, Rome, Zurich, Paris & Pola, where he expe­ri­enced the ear­ly rum­blings of Dada, Psy­cho­analy­sis, Futur­ism et al, Joyce became a part of an end­less­ly plur­al social and lin­guis­tic explo­sion, far removed from the mono­lith­ic oppres­sive­ness of Ire­land. Backed up by inter­vie­wees includ­ing Colm Tóibín, John McCourt and Liv Mon­aghan and illus­trat­ed by rich archive record­ings, Andrew Hussey argues it was the delib­er­ate rup­ture of leav­ing home – tak­ing up „the only arms I know — silence, exile and cun­ning“ – that allowed Joyce to devel­op the nec­es­sary breadth of vision and lit­er­ary skill to write his great­est works. The Dublin of Ulysses itself becomes, accord­ing to Tóibín, ‚a Cos­mopo­lis… anoth­er great port city like Tri­este.“ For Hussey, who has him­self lived and worked as a writer in Paris for many years, Joyce was not only a great pathfind­er, he also offers an inspir­ing trans-nation­al vision of Europe and the world just at a time when bor­ders are tight­en­ing and the dark­er shades of nation­al­ism are once again loom­ing large.

Sie kön­nen die Sendung, die am 1.2.2023 in der Rei­he „Seri­ous­ly…“ lief, über die Seite der BBC nach­hören oder als Audio­datei herun­ter­laden.

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