A Different Take

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James Joyce with his grandson Stephen in 1934

Terence Killeeen reflects the predominant view of the late Stephen Joyce as a tricky, awkward custodian of the James Joyce estate. I have a different take on Mr Joyce.

In 1999, while resident in the Middle East, I wrote an article for the London Independent describing the work of my friend and translator, Mohammed Darweesh, entitled “The Last Joyce Scholar of Baghdad”.

Mohammed had recently completed a PhD on the challenge of translating James Joyce’s work. He loved Joyce and Beckett but had few to share his literary passions with in Saddam’s Iraq.

Stephen Joyce got in touch and offered to pay for Mohammed to travel from sanctions-bound Baghdad to London to attend a Joyce symposium in the UK – a considerable challenge and an enormous expense. He was as good as his word and Mohammed travelled to London and on to Dublin in 2000.

It was a rare joyful experience for Mohammed, as his country and his life were subsequently torn apart by invasion, conflict, murder and pointless wars.

Richard Downes,
Howth,
Co Dublin.

Remembering Stephen Joyce (The Irish Times letters page)

Stephen Joyce, last direct descendant of James Joyce, dies aged 87 (The Guardian)

Pic: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

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