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12 May 2009


minstrel hussain boy

i am an unabashed lover of joyce. i struggled mightily at first to grasp him, i kept being defeated by the sheer overwhelming nature of the words themselves.

then, a kind professor, seeing my discomfort at knowing i was supposed to grasp some of his genius told me "read it aloud. that's really the only way to understand joyce. can you do an irish accent?"

i told him me da was from county kerry.

he said "better still, use that when you read aloud."

i showed up to the next class hoarse, and grinner ear to ear.

those letters are part and parcel to what makes joyce so incredible. you're absolutely right, they should not only be read, they should be read aloud.

joyce lived out loud. he wrote out loud. that's how we should read him.

Jake Holden

I remember stumbling over this quote in particular:

"Does it give you the horn now to shit?...Do you come in the set of shitting or do you frig yourself off first and then shit?"

When doing some research for an Irish Literature module I was doing at University, it was quite a break from the usual reading! Certainly an interesting mindset that Joyce had...


Love the photo of Joyce and Nora you found...it's new to me.

I liked the phrase "ineffable pleasure of ass fucking" very much. So true...

Doesn't it seem like J. and Nora were very much ahead of their time?

The Molly Bloom soliloquy makes so much more sense now. It's like reading the other half of the story, now that I've read Joyce's erotic ravings...

Amazing these letters still survive, when you think about it.


A friend had the book in the late 70's, and although I did not read it cover to cover, I did read enough to know that beneath the staid social mores of the time, simmered a real and "hot" sexuality.

Based upon the age of the "Karma Sutra", more than the missionary position has been practiced for a long time.

As usual, you painted a beautiful picture with your prose.

chelsea g.

Thanks, all.

As for Joyce and posterior-pumping posterity, I think it pretty much goes without saying that for as long as people have had asses, they've been fucked in them. Every generation acts like they're discovering sex, but it's all a lot of really pleasurable reinventing of the wheel.

chelsea g.


what a read with morning coffee. am invigorated for the
day. i am sure a woman's bum is her best calling card.


A lovely piece, my favorite bit about his letters has always been the clear love and lust he has for Nora.
(As a bit of a historical note, cockstand was the commonly accepted English term at the time for an erection, you can find it in lots of Victorian erotic writing).

Anima Rising

But what I really want to know about are the letters between JJ and Lucia. It's the question of INSECTS. There are clues all over - even in Ulysses. She looked like the mother when she was young.

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