February 03, 2010

Happy (Belated) Birthday, James Joyce!

For Christmas, I got a wonderful literary desk calendar that I am obsessed with. It includes quotes, short bios, and birthdays of many famous and not-so-famous writers. Unfortunately, I didn't look at it yesterday and only realized today that February 2 was the great James Joyce's birthday. My love of Irish literature, and literature in general, naturally leads to a love of Joyce - undoubtedly one of the most important (if not the most important) writers of the last century. Here is the last paragraph of "The Dead," the final short story in Dubliners. It is one of my favorite Joyce pieces, and especially appropriate with all the snow that fell last night. Beautiful.

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
-from "The Dead" 1914

(Image via Wikipedia)

1 comment:

  1. is it the Barnes and Nobles planner? Because if so, I have it and I LOVE IT. I unfortunately forgot it was James's birthday, even though the calendar told me. FAIL