A Big Heart - A short story in celebration of the centenary of June 16, 1904, the date when the events in  James Joyce's celebrated novel Ulysses unfold.


James Joyce (1882-1941)

Ulysses is set in Dublin, and the events unfold over 24 hours, beginning on the morning of Thursday 16th June 1904, the day James Joyce first met Nora Barnacle, his life long partner. Some of the events chronicled in the narrative correspond to actual episodes and occurrences in Joyce's life; most of them don't... Despite its diverse styles and fantastic representations, Ulysses is a deeply, even 'magically' naturalistic work. Many of the 'real' things and topical events that the narrative presents (historical references, newspaper reports, descriptions of environments, places and objects) were meticulously researched by Joyce; indeed, he is reported to have desired to "give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book". However, there is also a plethora of misrepresented facts and red-herrings in the narrative which, if you live long enough to research them, are very funny. The work has 18 chapters which correspond, often approximately and strangely, to episodes in The Odyssey of Homer. Although the chapters of Ulysses which were published serially in The Little Review between 1918 and 1920 (when the editors were charged with publishing obscene material) carried 'Homeric' titles, the final novel omitted them.

Shaw's works make me admire the magnificent tolerance and broadmindedness of the English.
- James Joyce, on George Bernard Shaw 

Why don't you write books that people can read?
- Nora Barnacle, to her husband, James Joyce

Nothing but old fags and cabbage-stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest, stewed in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.
- D. H. Lawrence, on James Joyce's "Ulysses"

I confess that I do not see what good it does to fulminate against the English tyranny while the Roman tyranny occupies the palace of the soul.
- James Joyce

There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.
- James Joyce

When the Irishman is found outside of Ireland in another environment, he very often becomes a respected man. The economic and intellectual conditions that prevail in his own country do not permit the development of individuality. No one who has any self-respect stays in Ireland, but flees afar as though from a country that has undergone the visitation of an angered Jove.
- James Joyce

Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.
- James Joyce

Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives.
- James Joyce

Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honoured by posterity because he was the last to discover America.
- James Joyce

The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea.
- James Joyce