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Richard Ellmann

Jorn Barger's Issues with James Joyce (the Biography)

Ellmann's Attitude | Ellmann's Errors

The following is drawn from "Richard Ellmann Resources on the Web" (Robot Wisdom)

Does Ellmann's Biography Unfairly Denigrate James Joyce?

[Just collecting quotes at this point.]

71 "Perhaps to substantiate his high opinion of his own work, Joyce wrote the editor of the Fortnightly Review ..."
87 "This is the sort of letter that the recipient discards hastily and the writer files away ..."
106 "his usual impetuous quickness to discover enemies"
106 "he always presented his caprices as reasoned plans"
109 "Joyce needed exile as a reproach to others and a justification of himself"
109 "he fattened on opposition and grew thin and pale when treated with indulgence"
114 "to be 'alone and friendless' was tolerable; to have his poem rejected was less so ... compounding these hints with a child's helplessness ..."
116 "In actual life Joyce searched in vain for any foundation for his feeling" [about Byrne's betrayal]
119 "employing what was by now a favorite device ... immediately launched into a strange, sententious discussion"
119 "Joyce offered no such encomium."
119 "Joyce imaginatively transformed such remote possibilities into certainties"
119 "probably feeling that he had acted foolishly"
120 "signed his name and the date after each as if to guarantee its importance"
122 "He pursued her relentlessly with the glazed, unseeing eye of the very hungry man, his pity reserved for himself"
124 "since Joyce was equally doctrinaire"
125 "No manuscript was ever read with less sympathy."
127 "a useful check on his own penchant for lyricism"

Errors in James Joyce

112 "Maud Gonne ... her niece" (daughter)
115 "As a last gesture" (a full week before leaving)
116 (account of Byrne-break makes no sense)
117 "Gogarty ... taking a degree at Oxford" (Oxford was 1904; 1903 was Trinity)
118 (Best and Magee didn't start at Library until 1904)
118 Best "spoke with a prissiness" (not really)
118 Magee "was down on the imagination" (not exactly)
120 Lady G. "visiting in London" (winter residence, I think)
121 "Men and Women ... never appeared" (it did)
127 "changing his name to René-Ulysse" (not Chown)
128 "Then came a hint" (time-inversion of telegram)

Adapted from   [View source]
(As of this writing, the above domain is inactive; clicking on the "View source" link will bring you to a version of the cited page scavenged from Google's cache.)

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