Summer 1989 • Vol. XI No. 3 NonfictionJuly 1, 1989 |

James Joyce Speaks

He began, the old 78 recording begins: "Mr. chairman, ladies and gentlemen: Great was my admiration in listening to the remarks addressed to the youth of Ireland a moment since by my learned friend." And for just under four minutes--deliberately, solemnly, even with pride--James Joyce reads from Ulysses.1 It is a curious selection. Why not any of a hundred more likely and more welcome passages of comparable length? Why only this, a reconstruction by a minor character of a speech that someone named John F. Taylor gave in 1901 at a meeting of the Law Students' Debating Society (Ellmann 91)? An answer may be that it is one of few passages in Ulysses whose scope is one thing when read as written, quite another when heard in the writer's voice. In the passage, Professor MacHugh does his best to remember word for word Taylor's analogy between Israel and Ireland, two nations in bondage to the laws of their oppressors, each nearly paralyzed with need. Just as Moses' had been, Taylor

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By James McMichael

He began, the old 78 recording begins: "Mr. chairman, ladies and gentlemen: Great was my admiration in listening to the remarks addressed to the youth of Ireland a moment since […]

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