Importance of Music to James Joyce (06:28)
Though he remained in self-imposed exile from Dublin, James Joyce uses Dublin as the backdrop for all of his life's work. Many scholars often underplay the influence of music on Joyce, but Joyce truly loved "a good song" and reveled in the music of the common people.
Rhythmic Nature of Joyce's Work (04:36)
References to songs and singers abound in Joyce's work. His sense of sound is much more colorful than his sense of vision. His own life was full of music, figuring importantly into the wooing of his future wife as well.
Music and Memory (04:13)
In "Ulysses" Joyce wrote in stream-of-consciousness style, replicating in words the actual flow of thoughts. Remembrance of songs or snippets of music evoke rich memories. Musical memory is at the heart of Joyce's "The Dead”; for Joyce, songs are immortal.
"Sighing Voice of Sorrow" (03:29)
W.B. Yeats wrote the lyrics to Joyce's favorite song, "The Sally Gardens.”
"The Croppy Boy" (03:30)
As "Ulysses" became more and more experimental, Joyce’s words became more musical, essentially writing songs with words and using "literary tricks" to create the effects of sound/song. Almost the entire story of "The Croppy Boy" plays out in Bloom's mind as he listens to the song.
"The Rocky Road to Dublin" (03:23)
Joyce seems to have psychological need to feel betrayed, and thus betrayal is a powerful theme in his work. Joyce’s hatred for dogs is echoed in "The Rocky Road to Dublin,” a song that pops into Stephen Dedalus's head.
Song of Love and War (05:41)
Joyce's love of music comes from his family of talented singers and musicians. Stephen gives readers the meaning of "Suil Arun," a lament for Irishmen who had to leave homeland to fight in distant wars. This endures as a great song about love and war.
Music in the Joyce Family (02:55)
In the Joyce family, music is a constant companion in times of happiness and in times of struggle. He welcomes each child with a song, fills the parlor with song during his daughter's tragic episodes of schizophrenia, and at his mother's bedside.
"Finnegan's Wake" (04:03)
Joyce's last work—considered by many to be all but unreadable—is intensely musical. Joyce includes parts of hundreds of songs in this great work. Performers in period costumes sing, "There is a Tavern in the Town.”
James Joyce the Artist (06:59)
"Ulysses" is evidence of the deep convictions James Joyce had about himself as an artist. Joyce uses the power of music to summon up other worlds and other experiences. His word-songs transcend the power of language and evoke nostalgia in readers.
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