Letters

Source: James Joyce, extract from letter to Stanislaus Joyce, 1 ?March 1907, reproduced in Letters (ed. Richard Ellman) (New York: Viking, 1966), vol. 2, p. 217

Text: It is months since I have written a line and even reading tires me. The interest I took in socialism and the rest has left me. I have gradually slid down until I have ceased to take any interest in any subject. I look at God and his theatre through the eyes of my fellow-clerks so that nothing surprises, moves or excites me or disgusts me. Nothing of my former mind seems to have remained except a heightened emotiveness which satisfies itself in the sixty-miles-an-hour pathos of some cinematograph or before some crude Italian gazette-picture.

Comments: James Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish novelist and briefly (December 1909-January 1910) a cinema manager. In March 1907, years before his first book was published, he was working in a bank in Rome, a low period of his life. Joyce was an occasional cinemagoer from the 1900s through to the 1920s, even when his eyesight became very poor.

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