Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Originally posted by @allthingsjoyceandwilde on Instagram
Nora was as important to ‘Ulysses’ as she was to Joyce. She didn’t only endure Joyce's compulsive writing and spending all his money on drinking, but she was also his muse. She inspired and supported the writing of ‘Ulysses’. There are many anecdotes. The most flagrant is the one Joyce asking her to betray him with another man so as he could know how it would feel to be a cuckold. But on his return with Giorgio to Dublin in 1909 Joyce was less amused. He met with Vincent Cosgrave who made him believe that he dated Nora whilst she was seeing Joyce. Giorgio’s daddy did the maths and asked Nora in a letter if his son was really his. So not only was the date on which the couple dated for the first time immortalised in ‘Ulysses’, also 7 Eccles Street is of meaning in regard to his relation with Nora. The house belonged in reality to John Byrne who invited Joyce to stay the night after a letter from Nora with a response to his allegations didn’t come. Byrne convinced Joyce that Cosgrave was telling lies, because he was jealous and wanted Joyce to be unhappy. This comforted Joyce enough to thank his dear friend with a commemoration of his house in his most famous novel ‘Ulysses’.
A Cuckoo's Nest?
What lies behind the door of number 7 Eccles Street fascinates me even more now and I find it interesting that Joyce picked Oscar Wilde's door as the meeting place for his first date with Nora Barnacle and while she stood him up at first, the date of their first date has gone down in history and we have to wonder what secrets lie behind all of these historic Dublin doors.
One thing I can imagine for sure is that either Nora or Vincent Cosgrave were lying to Joyce, one to make him unhappy as in the Instagram post and the other, to keep him from infinite unhappiness. Cuckoo
Lies, lies, "Pull out his eyes, apologise, apologise, pull out his eyes."
In Molly Blooms' house, the empty nester seems to have made her bed and stained it too.
I love all the wonderful insights into Joyce's world and appreciate @allthingsjoyceandwilde for letting me take you down the garden path of 7 Eccles Street and peek behind the pulled curtains.
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