Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 90

the old days. His guests were the few friends he had in Zurich:
Dr. Bernard Fehr, of the University; Dr. Borach, and Mr. Edouard
Brauchbar, English pupils during the first World War; Dr. and
Mrs. S. Giedion. He was very fond of the Swiss
wine from
and we often left the restaurant in a grape-happy mood.
A British clipping came saying that Joyce was trying to
revive Swift's
little language
to Stella. "Not at all," said Joyce to
me. "I am using a
Big Language!'
He said one evening: "I have
discovered that I can do anything with language I want." His
linguistic memory was extraordinary. He seemed constantly
always to be listening rather than talking. "Really, it is not
I who am writing this crazy book," he said in his whimsical way
one evening.
is you, and you, and you, and that man over there,
and that girl at the next table." One day I found him in a Zurich
tea-shop laughing quietly to himself. "Did you win
le gros
asked. He said he had asked the servant girl for a glass of lemon
squash. The somewhat obtuse Swiss girl looked puzzled. Then she
had an inspiration: "Oh, you mean
she stam·
mered. (Her German neologism might be translated by: life's
piflle!) Joyce retained all such scraps of conversation, lopped-off
syllables said in moments of inertia or fatigue,
jeux de
alcoholically deformed words, slips of the tongue--all the verbal
grotesques and fantasies which he heard issuing in unconscious
moments. His knowledge of French, German, modern Greek and
especially Italian stood him in good stead, and he added con·
stantly to that stock of information by studying Hebrew, Rus·
sian, Japanese, Chinese, Finnish and other tongues. At the
bottom of his vocabulary was also an immense command of
Anglo-Irish words that only seem like neologisms to us today,
because they have, for the most part, become obsolete. His revival
of these will some day interest the philologists. Language to him
was a social as well as a subjective process. He was deeply inter·
ested in the experiments of the French Jesuit, Jousse, and the Eng·
lish philologist, Paget, and
Finnegans Wake
is full of strange
applications of their gesture theory. He often talked with a derisive
smile of the auxiliary languages, among them Esperanto and Ido.
Back in Paris he became more and more absorbed by medita·
'lions on the imaginative creation. He read Coleridge and was
interested in the distinction he made between imagination and
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