James Joyce - Part II: Pola, Rome, Trieste Summary & Analysis

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Part II: Pola, Rome, Trieste Summary and Analysis

In Paris in 1904 and 1905, Joyce and Nora have no money, but a doctor acquaintance helps them out. Through another acquaintance, Miss Gilfrod, in London, Joyce searchs for vacancies at Berlitz schools throughout Europe and is assured one is waiting for him in Trieste. However, when he arrives, the school has never heard of him and has no position. He is able to take on a couple of pupils but still has no money. Later, he is offered a position at a new school in Pola, in the former Yugoslavia. A man named Francini is the boss there and helps Joyce get settled. Nora, however, had trouble adapting to the new culture and soon becomes pregnant. Joyce writes many letters to his brothers and invites Stanislaus to come join them. Unfortunately, all resident aliens are then expelled from the country and Joyce is transferred to Trieste.

Trieste in 1905 is a port city, somewhat reminiscent of Dublin. Joyce has a bohemian, rather unrespectable air, but still attracts many wealthy, noble pupils, which the manager of the school loves. In the meantime, Joyce comes up with various moneymaking schemes. He has trouble finding appropriate housing, as Nora is pregnant and the two are unmarried. Miserable, he takes to drinking heavily. He comes up with far-fetched schemes to purchase a cottage with Stanislaus in the Dublin suburbs, which never materializes. In July, his son Giorgio is born. Joyce is still working on the stories that will become Dubliners and on Stephen Hero. Stanislaus reads his writings, offering him thoughtful critiques, and fact-checking for him. Joyce interviews at the school and eventually secures a teaching post for his brother, as well.

From 1905 to 1906, Stanislaus arrives at the school, but Joyce has his salary directed to himself, taking all of his brother's earnings. Nora, meanwhile, is indifferent to Stanislaus, who finds her charming. The Joyces, still having housing troubles, eventually move in with the Francinis. During the English lessons he still teaches, Joyce enjoys talking about a variety of subjects, including money, family, country, religion and literature. Finally, Grant Richard, a publisher, takes a liking to Dubliners and accepts it, but requests numerous changes, including the elimination of the word "bloody." He and Joyce eventually compromise, with Joyce removing six occurrences and leaving one. Somewhat stir-crazy, Joyce finds a job at a Rome bank and leaves his brother in Trieste.

However, once in Rome in 1906 and 1907, Joyce finds the city frightening, insipid, and cemetery-like. His work at the bank, translating, is dull and busy, though he is eventually transferred to a receptionist position. He is only paid once per month, which he finds hard to adjust to and he borrows heavily from his reluctant brother. Joyce keeps teaching English for extra money, but this does not stop him from being evicted. He has a lot of anger around this time and writes many stories, including his celebrated story, "The Dead." At the same time, he also works on preparing his poems, "Chamber Music," for publication. He writes to his aunt requesting books, magazines and newspapers from home. Joyce falls into a deeper depression, drinking heavily and giving up first his teaching and then his bank job. He considers where to take his family next, thinking of Marseille but eventually settling on a return to Trieste. Nora discovers she is pregnant again. Not long after, Joyce's wallet is stolen and he loses a significant sum of money.

In the chapter, The Backgrounds of "The Dead," Ellmann examines the roots of "The Dead" in Joyce's own life. He believes that the story demonstrates Joyce's shifting attitude towards Ireland. It is also a story about family, playing on a story from Nora's past, as well as a song entitled "O Ye Dead." Joyce also uses many names and characters from his past, elaborating on his feeling of jealousy at dead former lovers of his partner. With the character of Gabriel, Ellmann writes that Joyce is making a silent tribute to his country. Joyce actually borrows the ending of his story from George Moore's "Vain Fortune." Ellmann ends the chapter by concluding that the snow in the story does not actually symbolize death (a common reading of this symbol) but actually the crowding and silent pressure of Irish life at this time.

During 1907 through 1909, with no real support system in Trieste, Joyce relies heavily on his brother and stays with the Francinis again. He eventually gets a small workload teaching and writes articles on Ireland and famous people and characters there, giving lectures as well about his ties to the country. He sends his father one pound at one point, but it never reaches him, possibly intercepted by another family member. At this time, Joyce also publishes "Chamber Music," which does not bring him any money but has a positive reception. He is very discontented with Trieste and is hospitalized at one point for rheumatic fever. Nora goes into labor and gives birth to their daughter Lucia. However, his employment situation is precarious. When the management of the Berlitz school changes, he leaves without notice, deciding to give private lessons (though he does not give many of these). He is revising Stephen Hero and thinking about a story that will eventually become his novel Ulysses. He begins to have eye trouble around the same time that Nora has a miscarriage; Joyce begins to consider a musical career. One of his pupils, Ettore Schmitz, gives him a lot of moral support around this time, exchanging fiction and writings with his professor and getting critiques. Finally, with a one year's advance on his salary from a student, he leaves for Dublin at the end of the month.

In 1909, Joyce has two goals: to see Dubliners published and to be a professor. He is struck by melancholy and is cold to his old friends. He runs into an old friend who says that he used to date Nora, and Joyce is so upset by this admission that he goes into a rage, even going so far as to question the paternity of his children, greatly disturbing Nora. Later, she shows Stanislaus letters that prove that the old friend actually lied and that she hadscorned him earlier. After they reconcile, Joyce begins to help out his family, though he can ill afford it, giving singing lessons to his sisters and bringing his sister Eva, a pious girl, to live with him in Trieste. Before returning, he goes to Galway with his son, bringing back an expensive necklace for Nora; he, Eva, and Giorgio then take a brief trip to London.

In the chapter "The Growth of Imagination," Ellmann explores the development of Joyce's creativity. He discusses his deep and conflicted bonds both to Dublin and to his mother; he considers the love between a mother and a child of the utmost importance and even puts Nora in a mother role at times. The mother plays an important role both in Dubliners and in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Other family relationships are also important to Joyce: for example, Ellmann sees the theme of Ulysses as the ultimate reconciliation with his father. Overall, the author sees Joyce's writings as a way he has of reconstituting important relationships from his life.

During the period from 1909 to 1911, acting like newlyweds (though they are still, technically, unmarried), Joyce and Nora and their family return to Trieste. Joyce has come up with a scheme to set up a cinema in Dublin, as well as to distribute Irish tweeds in Trieste. At home, Joyce is troubled by sciatica and iritis, his eye trouble, even as he still gives lessons. His sister Eva is horrified to find out that the couple is not married, though Nora confesses that, while she is willing, Joyce is not. The publication of Dubliners is delayed even longer due to censorship and the Volta (the theater Joyce succeeds in establishing) falls at a loss to the investors. Joyce continues to be loose with his money, sometimes buying presents and clothing instead of food as the family goes hungry. He is bitter about his publication difficulties and at one point throws his draft of Portrait into the fire, though his sister Eileen saves it. Fed up with the delay, he eventually writes a letter to King George V, asking him to intervene on his behalf (he has no success). Joyce even goes so far as to publish a public letter telling the publisher he can make whatever changes he wishes, but to no effect. Nora, meanwhile, has many men falling in love with her, which Joyce takes a kind of perverse pleasure in watching, even as he ends relationships with some of them.

In 1912, Joyce gives a series of lectures, some on Defoe and Blake. He also publishes an article about Parnell and the idea of home role. His current money-making scheme is to teach in Italian schools; he takes the teaching exam twice and eventually passes, but eventually has a problem with his Irish degree, as no system of reciprocity exists between the two countries at this time. He sentds Nora and Lucia on a trip to Ireland, but forbids Nora to wear a wedding ring to appease her mother. He eventually follows them, going to see Yeats and then the city of Galway, where he enjoys the cemeteries and writes another article. Meanwhile, in Trieste, they have been evicted from their apartment and it falls to Stanislaus to move their things. Dubliners is still being held up, this time on the charge that it is an anti-Irish book. Joyce's friends can give him little help and Joyce looks into legal proceedings. At one point, Roberts flat-out refuses to publish the work. He later offers Joyce the proof sheets for thirty pounds and Joyce agree.

Joyce eventually gets a position at the Scola Superiore in Trieste, helping him to manage his debts somewhat between 1913 and 1914. He also does private tutoring, in which he likes to talk about various subjects, including superstitions, giving his lessons absolutely no discipline. He becomes enchanted by a female student at this time, and writes much about her, though she moves away. Grant Richards asks Joyce for a copy of Dubliners, at the same time Ezra Pound writes to introduce himself and request manuscripts for publication from Joyce, adding that Yeats had already given him a poem by Joyce that he would like to publish in an anthology. Joyce sends him a lot of things, including an excerpt from Portrait, which will be published in a magazine called The Egoist, of which Harriet Shaw Weaver is the editor. Richards eventually gets back to Joyce, wanting to publish Dubliners, and Joyce concedes. Inspired by his recent successes, Joyce works on a play called Exiles, as well as on Ulysses.

In the chapter "The Backgrounds of Ulysses," Ellmann discusses his findings on Joyce's inspirations for his novel Ulysses. He believes that the idea is traceable back as far as 1907, to ideas that Joyce first used in Portrait. He sees a counterpoint in the book between myth and fact. Joyce does not plan everything in the eighteen episodes of the book, but instead relies on the "good mind" of his character, Leopold Bloom. He finds it to be a personal book, to which he becomes attached, seeing it as "history fabled." The names are often lifted from people he has known. Ellmann also sees a kinship between Stephen, from Portrait, and Bloom. Some themes that emerge throughout Ulysses are degradation, family love (particularly paternity) and the kindness of animals. Leopold Bloom, the main character, is a Jew, a convert and a drifter; Ellmann suggests that his prototype is Joyce's pupil, Ettore Schmitz. Molly Bloom has a mind like Nora's, though Nora is not as promiscuous (Molly has two lovers since her marriage). The date of the story, as Ellmann has already remarked, is June 16th, 1904, the date of Joyce's first walk with Nora. The theme, Ellmann writes, is that "casual kindness overcomes unconscionable power."

As the First World War develops in 1914 and 1915, Stanislaus gets into trouble for his politics and is arrested, spending the war in work camps. Joyce is still teaching, talking with his friends about the national sins and his disgust with wars and the troubled times. He looks for an American publisher for Dubliners, but cannot find one right away. Meanwhile, he has stories published in Smart Set. Eileen gets engaged and moves to Prague. As the political situation worsens, the Joyces leave Trieste for Switzerland.

This section contains 2,103 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
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