James Joyce - Study Guide Part Three: Zurich Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 5 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of James Joyce.
This section contains 769 words
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In 1915, the Joyces have spent eleven years in Trieste and continue to speak Italian amongst themselves. Joyce is ambivalent about Zurich and still has money issues; Nora's uncle sends them some money before Joyce is awarded a Royal Literature Fund grant, which helps his family survive for a while. He becomes friends with a man named Weiss, with whom he takes long walks. During this period, he devotes himself to Ulysses and has many pupils who pay him but never take lessons, just wanting to give him financial support. He tries to publish Portrait as a book, rather than just in excerpts, but cannot find an English publisher. Meanwhile, he showes Exiles to Pound, who thinks it is acceptable but not great. The publisher of the Egoist offers to print Portrait, but seven printers refuse to publish it, as they will get in trouble with the censors. To further offset his financial troubles, Joyce is awarded a Civil List grant at this time, with Pound's help.

Joyce spends a lot of the period from 1916 to 1918 in cafes and clubs with his friends. The family is sharing an apartment with a composer, Philipp Janach, who is disturbed by Joyce's singing, though it is pleasant. During this time, Joyce is also deeply troubled by his eyes; he has both glaucoma and synecchia and later tonsillitis. He receives a gift of two hundred pounds from an anonymous donor through a New York lawyer. While Nora is on vacation, Joyce's health fails again, as his eyes give out and he has to have surgery outside of Zurich, permanently reducing his vision. He tries to seduce his female doctor with no success. At this time, he completes the first three episodes of Ulysses and by January is back in Zurich. There, he meets a soprano, Charlotte Sauermann, who likes his voice. Shortly after making her acquaintance, he has a notice that 12,000 francs has been deposited into his bank account; he traces this back to a woman named Mrs. Harold McCormick. With his friend Sykes, Joyce constructs a troupe of English players to perform The Importance of Being Earnest. However, he has problems with the lead, Henry Carr, who is angry about the play and confronts him angrily afterwards, eventually bringing a lawsuit against him.

Still going to many parties, drinking, and eating at restaurants in 1918, Joyce has to deal with Nora's disapproval, though she babies him. Giorgio, who is getting older, is becoming good-looking and excels at singing and swimming. Joyce, meanwhile, plunders his family for inspiration for his writing, even going so far as to read Nora's dream journal. He is constantly looking for inspiration, noting her fidelity to fact. He is still working with the English players, making plans for plays, when he is attacked again by his iritis, almost incapacitated by it. Henry Carr's lawsuit continues, as Nora appears in a play by Joyce's troupe. Joyce keeps writing Ulysses, though both T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound find early excerpts crude. Harriet Weaver, meanwhile, searches for a serial and decides to publish Exiles, as well as Ulysses in book form.

A neighboring woman, Martha Fleischmann, catches Joyce's eye in 1918, and the two begin an affair. She is a bit of a snob, and reads "Chamber Music," engaging in a romantic and physical affair until her lover puts an end to it. Meanwhile, Carr's lawsuit goes to court and he withdraws the damages except for a few small fees, which Joyce is supposed to pay but never does. He is still having eye trouble and gives up drinking absinthe, one of his favorite things. In his writing life, he sends episodes from Ulysses to his friends, but they are disapproving, even Weaver, who normally adores his work. This reception disheartens Joyce, but he is excited that his play, Exiles, is to be performed in Munich (though he ends up not being able to get a visa). Later, he decides to return to Trieste, though, after an argument with a friend, he finds that Mrs. McCormick has cut off his grant money. Joyce goes to Trieste.

In 1919, Trieste has changed since the Joyces last lived there. Eileen is living there now, as is Stanislaus, though unhappily. Joyce begins to teach again, though grudgingly. He finishes an excerpt of Ulysses that Pound and Weaver both enjoy; Pound, meanwhile, is sending Joyce second-hand clothes when Joyce complains of looking homeless and having nothing to wear. Meanwhile, Harriet Weaver sends him money. Joyce goes to Paris for a short visit, but ends up moving the family there.

This section contains 769 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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