Remembering James Joyce on a lesser anniversary

On this date 109 years ago — September 9, 1904 — James Joyce moved into the Martello Tower in Sandycove, a suburb of Dublin. The place is now a museum — a shrine to some of us — and I snapped the above photo a couple of months ago. Joyce arrived here uninvited, having recently fallen out with the legitimate occupant, Oliver St. John Gogarty. Alas, Joyce had no place else to go. Gogarty waited until the young writer had fallen asleep, and then began shouting as if delirious while blasting away in the dark with a gun. Joyce perceived that he was unwelcome and beat a hasty retreat. You get a glimpse of this in the opening to Ulysses, arguably the greatest novel ever written. Don’t take my word for it. When, while interviewing Salman Rushdie a few years back,

 I said of Satanic Verses: “I seem to see a lot of Joyce in here.” Rushdie said, “Ah, Joyce. The Master.” Rushdie, too, has poked around inside this tower. Thanks to Tom Keyser for bringing all this back with a Facebook posting. And here we have a Sheena photo: Our Hero with His Hero on O’Connell Street.

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