joyce wept

“He was working on Ulysses at the time and often would make appointments to read rather lengthy extracts of what he had most recently written. Probably he read to me about a third of the book. It was impressive to observe how everything was grist to his mill. He was constantly leaping upon phrases and bits of slang which came naturally from my American lips, and one night, when he was slightly spiffed, he wept a bit while explaining his love or infatuation for words, mere words. Long before this explanation I had recognized that malady in him, as probably every writer has had that disease at some time or other, generally in his younger years. Joyce never recovered. He loved particularly words like ‘ineluctable’, ‘metempsychosis’ – grey, clear, abstract, fine-sounding words that are ‘ineluctable’ a bit themselves.”

(Robert McAlmon, in Robert McAlmon & Kay Boyle, Being Geniuses Together, p. 26.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.