Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 89

not very difficult to follow a simple, chronological scheme which
the critics will understand.... But I, after all, am trying to tell the
story of this Chapelizod family in a new way.... Time and the
river and the mountain are the real heroes of my book.... Yet the
elements are exactly what every novelist might use: man and
woman, birth, childhood, night, sleep, marriage, prayer, death.. . .
There is nothing paradoxical about this.... Only I am trying to
build many planes of narrative with a single esthetic purpo:>". ...
Did you ever read Laurence Sterne ... ?"
We read Goethe's
but he finally said he could
use nothing from it. He was interested in a comic version of the
theodicy, and he asked me to get one of the Jesuits nearby to give
me an Augustinian text. There was a famous Jesuit school.in the
town, and he occasionally reminisced about his Dublin days with
the fathers. .But his anti-religious convictions were unshakable. I
had come back from a talk with his daughter who seemed to be
interested in knowing something about Catholic dogma. Joyce, on
hearing this, grew suddenly quite violent and said: "Why should a
young woman bother her head about such things? Buddha and
Confucius and all the others were not able to understand anything
about it. We know nothing, and never shall know anything. . . ."
He discussed Vico's theory of the origin of language. The concep–
tion of the cyclical evolution of civilizations born from each other
like the phoenix from the ashes haunted him. He began to speculate
on the new physics, and the theory of the expanding universe. And
while walking with him, I always had the impression that he was
not really in an Austrian frontier town, but in Dublin, and that
everything he thought and wrote was about his native land.
He completed the
in Zurich, after our return there. We
used to take a motorboat in the late afternoon and go out on the
lake. Or else we would go walking up hill to the Zoo, where one
evening he suddenly quoted to me the magnificent nocturne of
Phoenix Park, with the verbal magic of animal sounds dying off
in the gathering night. Or else we would walk up and down the
and I would think of his poem about this street.
He would talk about his World War experiences in the Swiss
town, and chat about old friends, especially his English friend,
Frank Budgen, who was his companion in those days. Then we
would dine at the
which he now preferred to the
more colorful
Zum Pfauen
that had been his
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