I spent a semester at University College Dublin (It’s no longer on Stephen’s Green) in 1991, around the same time this book came out. I’d read Portrait and Dubliners already, and halfway through reading this book I went out and got Ulysses and the Ellmann biography. (At the time, I got that Finnegans Wake would be more of a read aloud venture. I still think that.)
By the time spring break rolled around and it was time to hit the
continent, I’d talked my travelling companion into adding Zurich to the
itinerary — at the time, Trieste would have been pretty tricky. Joyce’s gravesite is, as they say, very close to Fluntern Zoo.
One thing that has always stayed with me about James Joyce and his work (warning: my $.02 is pretty simplistic)…he spent most of his life in self-imposed exile, and he mostly wrote about the city he’d left behind — which was also, a lot of the time, the city he felt had turned its back on him. As complex as his relationships were with those around him, you could argue that his relationship to the Dublin was really the keystone. (Actually, a lot of people HAVE argued that.)