The Sun Shines Today

Ok well maybe it didn’t, maybe it was windy and rainy but if it did shine today, it would be shining for James Joyce.

January 1st, 2012 – today Joyce’s published works come out of copyright in Europe, which is exciting times for Joyceans. Now hopefully artists and writers will have the freedom to use Joyce’s work to create their own art – for example, Joyce’s play ‘Exiles’ can now be produced without the restrictions or preventions of the notoriously strict Joyce estate. Stage and screen adaptations of Joyce’s work can now be freely produced. And I can copy and paste entire sections of Joyce’s work and publish them on my blog worry free – happy days.

I can’t quite explain why this is my favourite passage from Ulysses, I think it’s the humour and perhaps the lovely turn of phrase, but this always stands out for me whenever I think of Joyce’s blue book of Eccles. It’s a conversation between some men in Barney Kiernan’s pub, just general chit chat, but when they start speaking of a certain Paddy Dignam, confusion ensues:

“So I saw there was going to be bit of a dust. Bob’s a queer chap when the porter’s up in him so says I just to make talk:

— How’s Willy Murray those times, Alf?

— I don’t know, says Alf. I saw him just now in Capel Street with Paddy Dignam. Only I was running after that.

— You what? says Joe, throwing down the letters. With who?

— With Dignam, says Alf.

— Is it Paddy? says Joe.

— Yes, says Alf. Why?

— Don’t you know he’s dead? says Joe.

— Paddy Dignam dead? says Alf.

— Ay, says Joe.

— Sure I’m after seeing him not five minutes ago, says Alf, as plain as a pikestaff.

— Who’s dead? says Bob Doran.

— You saw his ghost then, says Joe, God between us and harm.

— What? says Alf. Good Christ, only five… What?… and Willie Murray with him, the two of them there near what-doyoucallhim’s… What? Dignam dead?

— What about Dignam? says Bob Doran. Who’s talking about… ?

— Dead! says Alf. He is no more dead than you are.

— Maybe so, says Joe. They took the liberty of burying him this morning anyhow.

— Paddy? says Alf.

— Ay, says Joe. He paid the debt of nature, God be merciful to him.

— Good Christ! says Alf.

Begob he was what you might call flabbergasted.”

Happy New Year!

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