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Joyce was close to the Jewish community - his great friend, the writer Italo Svevo became one of the models for Leopold Bloom. He taught English to wealthy Greek merchants and attended services in the beautiful Greek Orthodox (now Serbian Orthodox) church of San Nicolò. He feasted on this stew of languages and cultures.

It is, for all sorts of reasons, impossible to imagine the great anatomies of early 20th century London being produced in such a place. But when we think of Dubliners, with its minute etching of the physical and mental topography of the city, we have to remind ourselves that most of its was written, not in our capital, but in a second floor flat in Via San Nicolò.

It was on the third floor of a house in Via Nuova that Joyce rewrote Stephen Hero as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. In a second floor room on Via Donato Bramante, he began work on perhaps the greatest of all Irish artistic achievements, Ulysses.

Joyce is inscribed on this city but it is also inscribed on his Dublin - it was Trieste that gave Joyce the sheer cosmopolitan energy that he infused back into the native city he had left in disgust, making it not the dull provincial nowhere he had fled but, in his re-imagining, a European metropolis.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 25th, 2019 at 05:13:24 PM EST
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