Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Lost Poem of James Joyce

A nine-year-old James Joyce wrote a poem. Broadsides were printed. Where are they?

From a story in the Irish Times...

But it was the nine-year-old Joyce who, in 1891, composed the eulogistic verses that his younger brother Stanislaus later referred to as “the Parnell poem”. (Joyce subsequently sanctioned the Latinate title Et Tu, Healy .) Stanislaus, to whose imperfect memory we owe the three lines with which I began, described the poem as “a diatribe against the supposed traitor, Time Healy, who had ratted at the bidding of the Catholic bishops and become a virulent enemy of Parnell, and so the piece was an echo of those political rancours that formed the theme of my father’s nightly, half-drunken rantings”.

Stanislaus reports that John Joyce, delighted by his son’s production, “had it printed, and distributed the broadsheets to admirers. I have a distinct recollection of my father’s bringing home a roll of 30 or 40 of them.” He also remembered that, in the (largely destroyed) thousand-page first draft of A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man , later published under the title Stephen Hero , “my brother referred to the remaining broadsheets, of which the young Stephen Dedalus had been so proud, lying on the floor torn and muddied by the boots of the furniture removers” when the family moved from Blackrock in 1892.

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