Unfacts, Fiction, and Facts
In an undated and so far unedited letter, now in the Joyce Collection at Cornell University, James Joyce wrote from Trieste, then in Austria, to his brother Stanislaus sometime in the autumn of 1905: "When you remember that Dublin has been a capital for thousands of years, that it is the 'second' city of the British empire, that it is nearly three times as big as Venice it seems strange that no artist has given it to the world."  About the same time, 1 September 1905, Joyce asked Stanislaus by card: "Is it not possible for a few persons of character and culture to make Dublin a capital such as Christiania has become?" Sometime in the next year, 1906, Joyce wrote again to Stanislaus, this time from Rome: "The interest I took in socialism has left me. I have gradually slid down until I have ceased to take interest in any subject. I look at God and his theatre through the eyes of my fellow-clerks so that nothing surprises, moves, excites or disgusts me. . . . Yet I have certain ideas I would like to give form to: not as doctrine but as the continuation of the expression of myself which I now see I began in Chamber Music."
The achievement of Joyce is itself the clearest indication of his notable success in these two literary ambitions: no modern capital has been so completely "given ... to the world" as Dublin; no artist has provided so fully an "expression" of himself. Joyce's success in respect to each ambition has been so influential, in itself and on the other, that it is not easy for his readers to judge each in its own reality, to separate the "moral history" of the city from the self-portrait of the artist. Each, the city and the artist, wears many masks. The uneasy relations between the two, in fact and in fiction, continue to baffle those who are impatient for a ready-made key that will at once unlock the secret of the city and of the man. The Dubliners in Ulysses are represented as keyless; it is only on the last page, last line of Finnegans Wake that "The keys to" are "Given!"—"the keys of me heart" (626). Whereas the Portrait concludes with Stephen's resolving in characteristic Deda-lesque sonorities "to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race" (253), the maturer comment of the Wake-artificer has mellowed toward the reality, personal and interpersonal, which has come to exist "seriolcosmically" (263) in the imagined land of art: "Forge away, Sunny Sim. Sheepshopp. Bleating Goad, it is the least of things, Eyeinstye! Imagine it, my deep dartry dullard!" (305).
The reader who makes his way through the revealing personal papers, notes, and letters in the Cornell Joyce Collection finds abundant detailed documentation for the manifest autobiographical basis, or bias, of Joyce's fictional art. A creative polarity between the immanence everywhere of the creator in his work and his absolute transcendence beyond it is a marked characteristic of all his fiction, one that finds an early credal formulation in the often quoted aesthetic principle of Flaubert, one assigned, in the name of Aquinas, to the Stephen Dedalus of the Portrait: "The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails" (215).
The Cornell papers are here chiefly valuable in that they fill us in on the crucial, hitherto little known fifteen years, 1902, when Joyce first went into exile, to 1916-17, when the Portrait was first published in book form, outside Ireland, in New York, 1916, and, 1917, in London. The taut sense of crisis felt in these papers is a less satisfactory clue to the later Joyce than it is to this, his first successful novel. Our reliance on them for his later attitudes requires qualification in the light of how, as he grew older, he came to resolve the crisis and to interpret it in his work. This fresh material enables us to see much more clearly than heretofore how desperately difficult it was for Joyce himself to assume toward his life a posture of artistic "indifference." He wanted, it is clear, to "give form," as he says, to his ideas, to construct some kind of controlled artistic sense out of the helter-skelter of his own Irish boyhood and youth, on which in sorrow and in anger he had recently turned his back. "I would forge as well as furnish the mind" runs one of the entries, this one from Montaigne, in his Commonplace Book, a sheaf of fifty-seven loose autograph sheets, endlessly fascinating as a hint to his readings and to his thoughts during the years 1901 to 1903.  Cumulatively, the entries here and in the letters suggest that the events of his adolescence and his recent adolescent response to them are still too close for him to view either one with that impersonality of detachment to which as an artist he subscribed. The helter-skelter, the chaos of the actual is still too painful; he is too closely involved in it, and his own sense of frustration in coping with it is much too disconcerting for him to find an adequate aesthetic response—the inner poise which he already saw is needed if the artist is to record or control life as a shared experience of existence. One should not be inclined to attach great importance to Stanislaus Joyce's 29 March 1904 statement in his Diary that Stephen Hero (the eleven then completed chapters) "is a lying autobiography and a raking satire," if for no other reason than that Stanislaus in a later entry records: "It is now January 1905 and I am still writing these notes. I dislike them very much. They are not honest. ... I have been dishonourable" (189). One may not, it seems, set aside thus lightly James Joyce's own appraisal: "If you look back on my relations with friends and relatives," he writes from Trieste to Stanislaus, 1905, "you will see that it was a youthfully exaggerated feeling of their maldisposition of affairs which urged me to pounce upon the falsehood in their attitude toward me as an excuse for escape."  A fragment of another letter to Stanislaus, 19 July 1905, manifests the uneasiness which Joyce felt for his probable failure so far to find the right perspective on the purely personal, to catch the bee in amber, to provide for his "hero" Stephen, or for his other Dub-liners, a durable enough, a clear enough amber coat in the crystal of his art. Surprisingly, it is to the stories in Dubliners that he refers: "The Dublin papers will object to my stories as to a caricature of Dublin life. Do you think there is any truth in this? At times the spirit directing my pen seems to me so plainly mischievous that I am prepared to let the Dublin critics have their way. All the pro's and con's I must for the nonce lock up in my bosom." 
On this point, Joyce's definition of a portrait appears to be even more important than his portrait itself of an artist: "a portrait is not an identificative paper but the curve of an emotion." So he writes in an early undated essay, called simply "A Portrait of the Artist."  This autobiographical essay (it seems scarcely accurate to call it a "story")  is unequivocally, on its own terms, a "real indictment . . . not without a flavour of the heroic" of a way of life which would continue to engage the energies of Joyce at least through the composition of Ulysses: "His reluctance to debate scandal, to seem curious of others, aided him. ... It was part of that ineradicable egoism which he was afterward to call redeemer that he imagined converging to him the deeds and thoughts of the microcosm." The deeply troubled aesthetic self-consciousness of Stephen Daedalus (as his name is spelled in Stephen Hero), the declaration against home and church and fatherland which climaxes in the Portrait Stephen's dedication to the vocation of the artist, "a priest of eternal imagination" (221), are too clearly sketched in this early "Portrait" essay for us to doubt that his image of Stephen constitutes in some crucial sense a fictional maneuver to justify Joyce's own personal rebellion. In a somewhat ranting comic way, "The Holy Office," a broadside which Joyce sent back to Dublin from Pola, late in 1904 or early 1905, strikes the same posture of alienation:
Here as elsewhere this broadside is picking up and echoing phrases from his essay. In "A Portrait of the Artist," Joyce had written: "Let the pack of enmities [sic] come tumbling and sniffing to the highlands after their game; there was his ground: and he flung them disdain from flashing antlers." Vivienne MacLeod has already shown how Joyce bolsters up his far from "indifferent" sense of isolation by taking over metaphors from Ibsen, another rebellious defier of society, and identifying them as the "almost literal blueprint for his own life and art."  The tone of lofty judgment, the defiant gesture of disdain which pervades the inner private world of Stephen, and which runs as an undertone through his defensive aestheticism, are everywhere strongly felt in this earlier paper: "He began loftily diagnosis of the younglings. His judgment was exquisite, deliberate, sharp; his sentence sculptural."
Though Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are as deeply autobiographical in their materials as are all the earlier versions of the Portrait, their tone is less confessional; the disdain is muted; it is often directed against the artist himself. The coincidence of "faction" with fiction is, however, markedly high in all of Joyce's writings, as is his more or less imperfect fictional effort to grasp the full import of all the facts. One is understandably tempted at times to read into the characters or the events of Joyce's fictional universe a factual correspondence which may be unreal or wanting. Our understanding of the Dubliners* story "Clay" (which Joyce at first refers to as "Hallow Eve"),  the most compassionate, perhaps, of all his stories, if we make exception for "The Dead," may need to be revised in the light of Joyce's explanation to Stanislaus, in a letter from Rome, 13 November 1906, of the name of the laundry of Ballsbridge, Dublin by Lamplight, where Maria, the principal Dubliner of this story, works: "It is run by a society of Protestant spinsters, widows and childless women, I expect—as a Magdalen's home. The phrase Dublin by Lamplight means that Dublin by lamplight is a wicked place full of wicked and loose women whom a kindly committee gathers together for the good work of washing my dirty shirts. I like the phrase because [as he had told Stanislaus in a letter the week before in a phrase which Stanislaus had not understood] 'it is a gentle way of putting it'." The extent to which we may choose to revise our interpretations of this story in the light of such private knowledge depends, of course, on our willingness to be influenced by what lies outside the printed page, as well as on the critical reliability we choose to attach to these possibly "theatrical" revelations of Joyce to his brother. "The Dead" itself takes on an added autobiographical dimension when it appears from another letter of Joyce to Stanislaus, 3 December 1904, that Nora Barnacle, Joyce's wife, once had a love affair "when quite young with a boy who died. She was laid up at the news of his death." Richard Ellmann succeeds, indeed, in showing that the imaginative experience of Gabriel Conroy is paralleled almost everywhere by some actual experience in Joyce's own life. Demonstration is scarcely called for to make the point that in his selection and treatment of his own life experience, Joyce was guided in his fiction, as all literary artists must be, by complex principles of structured meaning and of literary form, the impersonally plighted craftsmanship of art. No one of his creative works is explicable simply or solely as the expressionistic poetic manifesto of an expatriate Irishman of genius. Each seeks in some way to impose on the fortuitous a pattern of values, to transcend the purely topical and personal, to delineate for others a more or less universal center of coherence. In theory, every reader of Joyce is, presumably, more than willing to admit this. The principle is an elementary one readily granted to all fiction. Our nearly irresistible inclination in Joyce's case to blur the boundaries between fiction and fact has impeded not a little our understanding of his fiction; it has falsified, it would seem, in not a few vitally important areas our grasp of the facts out of which the fiction grew. The distance that separates the two may be best, perhaps, approached if we consider Joyce's conception of the artist—an isolated, solitary individual whose vocation, the priesthood of the imagination (if one may here cite Stephen without oneself's blurring boundaries), exacts, as in the Portrait, "silence, exile, and cunning" (247), and calls him at a great height to perform his work apart.
In conceiving thus of the artist as an "Outsider," Joyce is by no means singular. The pressures of our social order as well as those of a long art-for-art's-sake tradition have tended to motivate many of our most capable twentieth-century artists to separate themselves from the main stream of humanity. The individualism, the integrity of the artist brooks no compromise, it is felt, with a society, conscienceless and vulgar. In the Portrait, Stephen observes, "To merge his life in the common tide of other human lives was harder for him than any fasting or prayer" (151). For his autonomy, the artist, then, must pay the price: solitude and alienation. In a recent discussion of this problem, "The Artist as Outsider," Melvin Rader, however, has argued, "As a means of spiritual communication, art breaks down the barriers between man and man, and thus provides a defense against estrangement. Many an artist would be an Outsider if he were not an artist."  Our creative artists, in any case, do not remain locked up in their own subjectivity. Their work makes contact in some sense with a community, in which unless this community is completely unhealthy there are other integrities (political, theological, familial, and so forth) which provide a context for art. One is not necessarily a Philistine or against the artist if he respects these other integrities, human values and commitments which, it may be, though not ideally, exist independently of art.
Throughout the typescript copy of Joyce's early essay, "A Portrait of the Artist," dated 7 January 1904 (a later redaction, it would seem, of the partial autograph copy in his Notebook), the role of the artist, as in Stephen Hero (33), is portrayed as one of estrangement: "Isolation ... is the first principle of artistic economy." Under the harassing circumstances, major and minor, of his exile, Joyce's 1904 attitude toward his art as the sole means capable of offering redemption to his "mood of indignant pride" is, humanly speaking, not hard to understand. Lacking a dress suit, he had written from Paris to his mother, Mary Jane Joyce, a year before, 17 March 1903, "I am always on the fringe of things"; he seems hurt, too, that no one in Ireland had thought to send him "some shamrock" for Saint Patrick's day. Later, his frustrating conflicts with publishers and printers, his anguish at their carelessness in handling his manuscripts,  his impatience with them for their delays, first in reading, then in printing or refusing to print his works, the hostility of some of the earliest reviews of his fiction, the long-drawn-out censorship battle over Ulysses, his brother Stanislaus' violent letter, 26 February 1922, damning Ulysses ("Your blackmailing attitude towards life . . . your raging, romping, prancing pride," and so forth) —all these occurrences conspired to put Joyce on the defensive. In some, if not in all of the harass-ments (certainly Stanislaus' letter seems indefensible, and who would care today to defend the publication ethics of the first printers of Dub-liners?), one might be inclined to think, in fairness to others, that Joyce was more than a little accident-prone, and that his marked sensibility as an artist, his refusal at times (not always) in any sense to conform or to compromise on even minor irrelevant points made him a difficult person for practical men like printers, publishers, and book sellers (Sylvia Beach, for example)  to do business with or to assist. In any case, the cumulative effect of such occurrences was to convince Joyce that he was being "persecuted," and so to drive him further along the road to exile (physical, spiritual) which alone seemed to him to offer a tolerable way of retreat. Thus the events of his life tended to strengthen his youthful presumption, often expressed in lofty rhetoric, that the artist, set apart as he is from other men, has no other responsibility than to embody in his art a uniquely personal vision of his world. Whether this world were accessible or not to other men, or whether others were interested or even capable of recognizing their own world in the artist's revelation tended to become a consideration less and less relevant or urgent. Though as a young man Joyce spoke much of the artist as priest or mediator, he never thought of himself, a man of letters, as the priest, in any strict sense, of a corporate society. "I have no wish to codify myself as anarchist or socialist or reactionary," he wrote to Stanislaus from Rome, 1906, in these earlier days when, under strain, he imagined he could still count on his brother's understanding. Referring to a memorial procession he had witnessed in Rome in honor of Giordano Bruno, he continues: "The spectacle of the procession in honour of the Nolan left me quite cold. I understand that anti-clerical history probably contains a large percentage of lies but this is not enough to drive me back howling to my gods. This state of indifference ought to indicate artistic inclination, but it doesn't. Because I take a fortnight to read a small book."
Thirty years after this letter to Stanislaus, years during which Ireland no longer provided the mise en scene of his daily existence, Joyce, in Copenhagen at the time, is quoted in a Danish newspaper, "Since 1922 my book [Finnegans Wake, then called Work in Progress] has been a greater reality for me than reality,—everything led to it and everything outside it was insurmountable difficulties."  This imperious sense of total dedication to a reality that lies beyond the ephemeral and the commonplace is one that Joyce shares not only with his fellow-artists but with other uncommon men of spirit in our times. Our twentieth-century age of collectivities and banal social policies requires, perhaps as never before, this stressed concern for the inviolability of the individual soul, the relevance of the artist's unique vision, his courageous absorption in his work. The uniqueness of his vision may raise difficulties for us, however, if we accept it as the only possible truth about man, the single admissible interpretation of the world which the artist has set out to report. Dublin, for example, is a real city, not simply the imaginary capital of a mythical Poictesme. Whatever we may ultimately decide about the fidelity of Joyce's contemporary portraiture, Ireland historically has cultural traditions vastly more complex than those of Yoknapatawpha County. In one of his already edited letters to Grant Richards, 1906, Joyce concludes: "It is not my fault that the odour of ashpits and old weeds and offal hangs around my stories. I seriously believe that you will retard the course of civilization in Ireland by preventing the Irish people from having one good look at themselves in my nicely polished looking-glass."  Yet howsoever highly polished, a looking glass may be distorting or distorted in some of its planes. The development of Joyce's genius, as has been generally acknowledged, led away from this dismaying sense of flat and literal looking glass reflection of the surface. At the term of his development, the Dublin of the Wake's "fiction-able world" (345), "Dear Dirty Dumpling" (215), has become little more than a symbol of the macrocosm, whose particularity and literalness we are charmed into taking seriously because Joyce has made us see in it a universal comic clue to some of our own riddling questions about life.
Yet in all Joyce's fiction, we are left with the question(s): How does one separate the personal from the general? Where does the autobiographical, the historical end? where does the fictional begin? How can one tell the detached, impersonal ironic from that which is an involvement in anguish or anger of most deeply felt personal import? "Could it possibly be," asks Sean O'Faolain, "that he who has made so much of heroism is afraid of tenderness?'  Is Joyce blasphemous, and, if so, is his irreverence always to be interpreted as repudiation, or is it sometimes a kind of reluctant acceptance, troubled and obsessive, of what he had once loved and now wars upon? Is his defiant sense of betrayal that of the betrayer or of the betrayed? Joyce's creative achievement, more than that of any other twentieth-century artist, invites us to ask such questions. Finally, is it true, as Elizabeth Bowen, another Irish artist sensitive to dilemmas, has told us in her admirable tribute to Joyce on the occasion of his death, that his extravagant buffoonery and scorn were a defensive tactic that made him most like his fellow-Irishmen? "If there seems in the later work to be less pity, that came . . . from the natural human refusal to suffer too much—to suffer, in fact, to that extent of which he was capable. . . . Pity for the frustrated dreams of the living, pity for the finished dreams of the dead—gradually, Joyce withdrew from pity, as he withdrew from Ireland.' 
In My Brother's Keeper, Stanislaus Joyce has already given to the world a painfully clear picture of the dismal deterioration of the Joyce family fortunes in the years that preceded his brother's departure with Nora from the North Wall in 1904. The family letters in the Cornell Collection do not contradict Stanislaus' recollection of his family's fallen gentility: the father's hopeless indolence and incurable drunkenness, the violent quarrels and shocking accusations that became increasingly frequent among the members of this large family (James Joyce was the eldest surviving son among seventeen children), the unrelieved grinding poverty of their lives. In spite of all this, an authentic kind of human dignity fitfully breaks through the letters, a resolute courage for keeping up appearances, a stubborn refusal to admit the loss of heart. As the gifted eldest son, for whom special sacrifices had been made and to whom special advantages had been given which his brothers and sisters might never hope to know, Joyce found himself in an awkward human situation. For in spite of his deliberate refusal to share their councils, he remained inconclusive in all his efforts to break the
ties that bound him to his family's love. He is, on the whole, far more tolerant and forgiving than is Stanislaus either in his letters or in his various efforts at "recollections," published in the days when Joyce as a writer had achieved fame. In the Recollections, published in 1950, Stanislaus notes that "except for one bitter and painful altercation," his mother was "very submissive" to James's changes of heart, even as James drifted away from the family's Catholic faith.  In the letters that Joyce's mother wrote to him during the period of his initial exile in Paris, there is no reference of any sort to his apostasy; in fact, no one in his family, even indirectly, adverts to his quarrel with Catholicism in their available letters to him or in their references about him and his family in their frequent letters to one another. The situation of his withdrawal from Catholicism and of his life with Nora Barnacle outside of marriage, ecclesiastical or civil, is accepted as Joyce's personal decision. It is one about which his family in Ireland chose, it would seem— perhaps they had learned—not to ask questions.
Stephen Hero, Joyce's first MS draft of the Portrait, was well under way before his exile began. Later on, he himself scorned and disowned this "original"—"And what rubbish it is!" he wrote to Harriet Weaver in 1934. This early fictional narrative is significant, however, as his first sustained trial flight in "transcendence" above or beyond the personal history of his life. His own family, far from being offended either by Stephen Hero (so far as they knew it) or by the later Portrait, took considerable personal and corporate pride in each of these works. Joyce's sister, May, for example, writes to Joyce in 1916, the year in which the Portrait first appeared in book form: "I am delighted to hear that your novel is being published. The stir Dubliners made will be nothing to this. You have rewritten it since we lived in St. Peter's Terrace, when we used to be all put out of the room when you were reading each new chapter for Mother. I used [to] hide under the sofa to hear it, until you said I might stay. I am looking forward to reading it now" (5 September 1916).
The Portrait, written at half the length of the earlier projected self-styled "autobiographical novel," makes use in other wavs of economy. It spares us, for example, such scenes of "heroism" as those in which Stephen, in the earlier version, unnerves his Irish mother at her ironing-board on the kitchen table for her failure to appreciate the aesthetic excellences of Ibsen, or in which he mocks her simple faith in the Christian mystery of Our Lord's Ascension (86-87, 133). It is not possible for us to tell the extent to which Mary Jane Joyce "recognized" herself in the mother of Stephen Daedalus, or if Stephen's colloquy with his mother on the subject of the Ascension was one of the chapters she listened to, perhaps as she ironed. This seems unlikely since the chapter is a later one which seems to have been started abroad. In any case, she had already provided her son, in one of her letters to him in Paris, a gentle, dignified assurance that she was prepared, if he so wished it, to accept such a "portrait" as just: "My dear Jim if you are disappointed in my letter and if as usual I fail to understand what you would wish to explain, believe me it is not from any want of a longing desire to do so and [to] speak the words you want but as you so often said I am stupid. I cannot grasp the great thoughts which are yours much as I desire to do so" (ca. February 1903). 
The personal diary of Stanislaus Joyce constitutes together with his letters a truly overwhelming indictment of John Stanislaus Joyce, Sr., and, it may be, of John Stanislaus Joyce, Jr., himself. On a single page (6) of this diary, for 26 September 1903, the father is characterized as "domineering and quarrelsome," "voluble in his abu-siveness . . . when drunk," "a crazy drunkard," "spiteful," one who "invents cowardly insults." The Diary entry (31), for 12 April 1904, opens: "I loathe my father. I loathe him because he is himself, and I loathe him because he is Irish." In an undated autograph letter to Joyce nearly twenty years later (now in the Lockwood Library at the University of Buffalo, where the Tuohy paintings of the Joyce family are also on display), Stanislaus writes that Tuohy's "portrait of Pappie is a wonderful study of that little old Milesian. . . . The likeness is striking. The face, the pose, the hands especially, I recognize, and looking at them I feel that I know how they came to be so."  From his diary it is clear that Stanis* laus Joyce was beset with two quarrels against fate: (1) an intolerable dislike of his father: "Remember I dislike Pappie very much, he is intolerable to me" (26 July 1904, 92); (2) a dislike nearly as intense for his "cleverer older brother" James, on whose example he admits his own "life has been modelled" (13 August 1904, 63), but of whom he confesses, "I think I may safely say I do not like Jim" (64). These two obsessions of Stanislaus might be endlessly illustrated; with a disturbing sense of ingenuousness they prepare us for the statement of his basic quarrel with his own destiny, one which comes as no surprise: "I would like to be revenged on my country for giving me the character I have" (10 January 1900, 43).  It also comes as no surprise to the reader of this prolix diary to note that in the entry for 6 April 1904, Stanislaus records, "A few days ago Jim, as is his custom, read these notes of mine. He read them quickly and threw them down without saying a word" (73).
The "necessary evil" of his own father's temperament and habits was on any reckoning a hopeless personal inheritance for Joyce to manage. Early in his exile, Joyce received a letter, 31 January 1903, from his father, who wrote, "I must ask you to forgive me, Jim, for the * might have been'." This contrite mood of John Stanislaus, Sr., evaporated, however, before his son's elopement and his decision of giving up studies in medicine to turn to languages and literature as a way of life: "I need not tell you how your miserable mistake affected my already well crushed feelings, but then maturer thoughts took more the form of pity than anger, when I saw a life of promise crossed and a future that might have been brilliant blasted in one breath" (24 April 1907).  There is a certain Irish humor in one of John Joyce's letters to his son James, 14 December 1908, "I am going into hospital which I sincerely trust I may leave soon—feet foremost," when one comes across another letter, nearly a quarter of a century later, a letter (now preserved in the Lockwood Library, Buffalo) in which the father recalls with pride the days when James Joyce himself had been the "baby tuckoo" of the Portrait. This son's attitude toward his father is more complex than is that of Stanislaus. He has no illusions about him, but his disillusionment on the whole lacks the strident quality of his brother's resentment and loathing. In the large, cloth-bound, alphabetically indexed notebook at Cornell, in which Joyce develops the first character sketches of his early novels—a curious juxtaposition of fictional names (as we have them in the Portrait) with "historical" identifications —Joyce opens his entry "Pappie" with the comment, "He is an Irish suicide," and concludes it, "When drunk he composes verses containing the word perchance." Shortly after the birth of his own son, he tells Stanislaus by letter, 18 August 1905, "I hope to Christ he won't have to make allowances for me when he begins to think"; two weeks later, he concludes another letter to Stanislaus, "Thanks be to the Lord Jaysus no gospeller has put his dirty face within the bawl of an ass of him yet" (1 September 1905) . In the Nighttown chapter of Ulysses, it is the fictional father, Simon Dedalus, who echoes Joyce's phrase (557).
Joyce's father, an only son of an only son, had been all his life fiercely anti-clerical, as had been his own father and grandfather before him; his faults are all associated in his own sons' minds with a vulgar factiousness in violent reaction against Catholicism: each is unsparingly ruthless in thus assigning to the Catholic Church the radical cause, or "curse," for the misfortunes that overtook their large family. As time went on, James Joyce sought in his work a way to clarify his mixed feelings. The letter which he wrote to T. S. Eliot, 1 January 1932, on the occasion of his father's death, sums up a long chronicle of troubled filial love: "He had an intense love for me and it adds anew to my grief and remorse that I did not go to Dublin to see him for so many years. ... I feel that a poor heart which was true and faithful to me is no more." 
For Joyce's brothers and sisters who could not get away from the wearing-down hopelessness of home, as he had, and as Stanislaus, on his invitation, soon succeeded in doing, the misfortunes and miseries of their family's life in Dublin went on unrelieved. There are echoes of all this misery in Ulysses (e.g., 240), discords and self-accusations which Joyce undertook in his art to resolve. Howsoever desperately precarious the two brothers-in-exile may have found life on the Continent, there is little in the letters that they received from Dublin which might have excited cheerfulness in the prospect of returning home. Their younger brother, Charles, had found his own return home from Boston a disaster. "Charlie," an ex-seminarian, seems forever short of paper on which to write a letter, and chronically short of money to buy a postage-stamp, so as to mail his letter when the paper has been somehow improvised: "I could not get the few pence to buy a stamp and paper or I would have answered your letter before now" (Charles to Stanislaus, 30 June 1906). Eileen (Mrs. Franz Schaurek) writes to Nora: "I cook myself where we live. The people allow me the fire and pots gratis" (13 June 1916). Poppie,
another sister (the eldest, Margaret, now Sister Mary Gertrude), writes to Stanislaus in an undated letter: "The circumstances here are very extreme. . . . Could you possibly—and without inconvenience to yourself send anything towards the nightdress?" Eva tells Stanislaus that she intends to try practicing on the piano at their lodging "until such time as I see them getting nasty, as I think a piano would be rather expensive to you" (1 September 1911). Whoever undertakes to account for James Joyce's "rebellion" needs to take this tangled family situation of the Joyces into account. During his own days as a Dubliner, Joyce had recorded in his Commonplace Book a sentence curiously ascribed to Aristotle, one which later finds its way, little altered, as an improvisation of Stephen, into the aesthetic discourse on Aquinas in the Portrait (204): "Pity is the feeling which arrests us before whatever is grave in human fortunes and unites us with the human sufferer" (24). Perhaps Joyce, as an artist, came to feel that there was too little gravity in his family's plight for him to feel pity for them in their sufferings—that is, "pity" in any classical (or Aristotelian) sense of the word. He felt no desire on any grounds, Aristotelian or Christian, the Pauline priestly "compassion" of Christ (tnelriopathein, Hebrews 5:2), to be "united" with those who suffered thus. His physical withdrawal from the city which he blamed for producing this misery was the outward sign of a more intensely felt spiritual recoil. By fostering such virtues as pity, patience, and forbearance to evil, Catholicism, which had not generally presented dogmatic difficulties to Joyce's mind, came to be felt increasingly as an intolerable moral restriction on the impersonal freedom he had decreed for his imagination and art.
The withering away of Joyce's religious faith had come to pass long before he left Ireland. Since, in his own mind, he identified the religious community of Catholicism wTith the paralysis and Philistinism of his family and of his city, it would be far-fetched, in the light of the autobiographical evidence as to what he thought of this "rab-blement," to read his fiction, or try to, in such a way as to see in it at any level a personal act of faith in the particular religious reality that Catholicism exists to keep alive. So far as he could consciously do so, he wanted to keep the break with the Church as absolute in his fiction as it had become in his life. If his language has any literal sense at all, it obliges us to see that he sought to transfer to his art whatever he had once found of value in his boyhood religious faith. Writing to Stanislaus from Trieste, sometime in 1905, Joyce tells of an English teacher at the Berlitz school who predicted, "I will die a Catholic because I am always moping in and out of Greek churches, [that] I am a believer at heart." Joyce adds, "In my opinion I am incapable of belief of any kind." It is in this same letter that Joyce tells his brother how mistaken he is in imagining "that my political opinions are those of a universal lover." Then, he adds, "I cannot tell you how strange I feel sometimes in my attempt to live a more civilized life than my contemporaries. But why should I have brought Nora to a priest or a lawyer to make her swear away her life to me? And why should I superimpose on my child the very troublesome burden of belief which my father and mother superimposed on me?" 
In the alphabetically indexed "character" workbook at Cornell, Joyce's note on "Jesus" opens and closes with the image of Christ as "shadow"—not light: "His shadow is everywhere. . . . The dove above his head is the lex eterna which overshadows the mind and will of God." Joyce's entry for "Ireland," in this same workbook, opens: "Its learning is in the hands of the monks and their clerks and its art is in the hands of blacklegs who still serve those ideas which their fellow-artists in Europe have rebelled against." It closes: "Duns Scotus has won a poorer fame than S. Fiacre, whose legend sown in French soil, has grown up in a harvest of hackney-cabs. If he and Columbanus the fiery, whose fingertips God illumined, and Frigedius [Frigid-ian, i.e., Finn?] Viator can see as far as earth from their creepy-stools in heaven, they know that Aquinas, the lucid sensual Latin, has won the day." The "Proteus" episode of Ulysses shows us Stephen overwhelmed with a similar sense of disenchantment when, beside the sea, he meditates in language nearly identical on the seeming failure of his own apostolate as missionary of the arts (43).
Herbert Gorman included, in his biography of Joyce, the text of the curious "prayer" which Joyce composed at Trieste sometime in the autumn of 1905.  From the correspondence at Cornell, it is now clear that Joyce enclosed this so-called prayer in a letter to Stanislaus. "O Vague something behind Everything": the prayer comes as close as does anything in Joyce to an outcry of despair against the whole Christian economy of suffering, a protest, in particular, against the virtue of trust in God when one collides with evil, with real or imagined wrongs. In an odd verbal way its rhetoric recalls the conclusion to a much earlier and different prayer, to Mary, "holy Queen, Mother of Mercy," which Stanislaus included in his early Notebook, Selections in Prose from Various Authors (dated 7 October 1901), one which he attributes to "Jas. A. Joyce." This Notebook of Stanislaus makes the same attribution for another prayer or devout "epiphany" which Joyce seems to have composed on the evening (10 March 1902) of the death of his youngest and favorite brother George (after whom his own son was later named): "He lies on my bed where I lay last night. They have covered him with a sheet and closed his eyes with pennies. —Poor little fellow! We have often laughed together.—We bore his body very lightly. ... I am very sorry he died. I cannot pray for him as the others do."
No evidence has ever been brought to light to show that Joyce recovered in exile his lost religious faith, or that he ever resumed his broken-off habit of prayer. Beginning with Ulysses, his work, in its attitude toward Catholicism, edges away from accusation. There is more of laughter, sometimes poised, sometimes strained—as of a man getting used to the idea that the universe itself is a joke, a cosmic riddle which the Church has not seen the point of, but which it has neither invented nor meant harm in trying to solve. Even in the Wake, there is a tenderness that underlies some passages in mockery of Catholic beliefs and practices, though these passages alternate with others of clearest parody, if not of outright scorn. In one of the numerous notebooks or workbooks (largely unworked) for Finnegans Wake in the Lockwood Library at the University of Buffalo, Joyce has copied out a poignant passage from Edgar Quinet's Introduction & la philosophie de Vhistoire de la hutnanite which presumably reflects an attitude of his maturity, one scarcely compatible with a religious view of existence by grace in this world, or of any enduring existence of the soul's life beyond the grave. This is not to say that Catholicism lost its complex intellectual sense in Joyce's mind, or that he ever succeeded at odds with it in consistently thinking out a non-Catholic view of existence or of man.
In his own life, Joyce got beyond Stephen Dedalus' state of denunciatory religious rebellion, at least as the Portrait narrates that troubled story. It may be too strong to say that in Ulysses Joyce punishes Stephen for his arrogance, though Stephen's adolescent war against Catholicism, in Ulysses, and, again, in the grotesquely hilarious burlesque of Shem the Penman in the Wake, is shown up as a dismal failure. One may note this, it seems, without needing oneself to join "a Stephen hating school of criticism." Joyce did not dislike adolescents, but he was inclined as he grew older to laugh at that which he himself took seriously "as a young man."  "Sentimentalists are they who seek to enjoy without incurring the Immense Debtorship for a thing done" runs a quotation, actually a paraphrase, from Meredith's The Ordeal of Richard Feverel in Stanislaus' 1901 Notebook (66). This passage as given by Stanislaus occurs several times in Ulysses, the text of Stephen's telegram to Buck Mulligan (e.g., 197, 405). Like other passages from Stanislaus' Notebook which find their way in time into Joyce's own work, this one suggests in itself (whatever may be its implications about Buck Mulligan's overt or passive homosexuality in Ulysses) that the idea of standing by the intellectual consequences of an act had an early and enduring Tightness in his mind. For himself he chose not to imitate the quasi-religi-osity, as he conceived it, of Ernest Renan's apostate pose. Early in his exile, he wrote back to Stanislaus from Pola, 3 December 1904, "I am reading the Souvenirs of Renan. Damme if I understand him. ... He professes . . . regret at having to abandon dear old Grandmother Church—I fancy his life of Jesus must be very maudlin stuff. No wonder Huysmans calls him a comedian."
Toward the end of his "Dedalus" entry in the alphabetically indexed workbook at Cornell, Joyce says of Stephen, "Having left the city of the Church by the gate of sin he might enter it again by the wicket of repentance if repentance were possible." That never was possible for Stephen as Joyce conceived him: the last we see of Stephen, in Ulysses, is his going out into the darkness, away from the friendly human light in Bloom's house with the echoes of the Church's litany for the dying resounding in his ears (688). Joyce does not offer the slightest hint that the Church will ever win back this errant son. Stephen, moreover, is as incapable of writing Ulysses as he is of religious repentance. He can no more make artistic than religious sense of his existence. Joyce saw and faced clearly the falseness in Stephen's position. How far may art go in compensating for the reality of a lost religious faith? One of Joyce's living sisters, Sister Mary Gertrude, the "Poppie" of the Joyce family letters, tells us: "I can recall Jim's room. On his desk he had always a statue of Our Lady . . . and he would kneel in prayer at his desk before beginning his evening study. . . . Reading was a passion with him, yet I recall in Belvedere days he would give up all reading except his text books during Lent. On Easter morning we would delight in heaping his chair and table with all sorts of reading matter. It is hard for me to reconcile the intensely Catholic student of those days and the later sad developments."  Joyce's subsequent development led him even as a young man to be intensely defiant of the Church's creed, to see it mostly as a depressing, threatening barrier between himself and the only reality that came at last to matter, the all-absorbing reality of art.
At the time when Joyce thus felt obliged to carry his war against the Church into the open, as at the University he had, on his own admission, carried it on in secret,  he seems, in particular, to have reacted aggressively against the Church's sacramental view of the body's dignity and holiness, though one may suppose that even in his rebellion some search for ethical motivation persisted. The early trial transferral, in the Portrait (e.g., 36, 171, 179), of Our Lady's titles and excellences to the quasi-goddess woman, the essential female, was a step in the resolution of the problem of sex which his apostasy complicated. The restricted correspondence, at Cornell, Joyce's astonishing letters of 1909 to his wife (which may not be edited or quoted until 1987), does little to reassure those who may have been inclined to view Joyce's insight into sex as an altogether normal and healthy one. Only at the end of his development, with Anna Livia in the Wake, who combines the qualities of the Portrait's angelic vision of "mortal youth and beauty" (172) with the vision, in Ulysses, of the earthy Molly Bloom, does Joyce succeed in his search for a lay equivalent or symbol of the flesh and of woman which might supplant in his imagination the sacramental attitude which had been the theological inheritance of his lost creed. Yet, though Anna Livia stands for much that is loved in Joyce's vision of the real, a kind of archetypal feminine principle in nature and in man, she does not stand for the Church. She is not a handmaid of theology; more significantly, perhaps, she does not appear, either, to be a handmaid of art, even though it is her message that the Wake artist transmits to the world. Lay symbols are seldom completely satisfying substitutes for one who remembers in spent anger the transcendent religious ones they are set up to replace.
On this subject of sex, one needs to consider the extent to which Joyce's early education may be responsible for the symptoms of sexual malaise which his fiction at times reveals. Irish Christianity has been noted for its austerities, penances, and rigorous mortifications of the flesh. The Irish temperament has been inclined, it seems more than other temperaments, to value in the Gospel the counsels of self-abnegation, the renunciation of bodily comfort, the mortification of the body's instinctive appetites or desires. In the large, alphabetically tabbed workbook (at Cornell), Joyce asserts, under "Ireland": "One effect of the resurgence of the Irish nation would be the entry into one field of Europe of the Irish artist and thinker, a being without sexual education." In one of the Finnegans Wake workbooks (at the University of Buffalo), a curious autograph comment, added late in life, it would seem, as a comment on the Dubliners' story "A Little Cloud," reads: "Cruelty of sexual idiocy (Desdemona)." Without needing to define here, or to defend, exactly what Joyce may have had in mind, the outside observer of Irish national traits (who is always himself in the most precarious position) may be disposed to accept these entries as in some sense just appraisals of the sexual attitudes fostered in Ireland when Joyce was young. The Irishman of intelligence would be inclined, no doubt, to explain the alleged immaturity and idiocy, if he admitted their existence, as the national inheritance from the Victorian age of British rule.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, viii, 1910, notes under the heading "Irish Colleges on the Continent," that in the petition for the establishment of Maynooth College, 1795, it appears "that out of a total of 478 Irish ecclesiastics receiving education on the Continent, 348 were resident in France, and of these 180 were students in the Irish colleges in Paris. More than one-half, therefore, of all the Irish secular clergy in the eighteenth-century were educated in France, and more than one-third in Paris" (162). The same article notes that "the students of the Irish college in Paris were pronounced opponents of Jansenism" (162). In its article "Jansenius and Jansenism," in the same volume, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes that "the spirit" of Jansenism "lived on [even after the Papal condemnation Unigenitus, 1713], especially in the rigorism which for a long time dominated the practice of the administration of the sacraments and the teaching of moral theology. In a great number of French seminaries, Bailly's Theologie, which was impregnated with this rigorism, remained the standard textbook until Rome in 1852 put it on the Index 'donee corrigatur' " (294). This book of Bailly's, brought over to Ireland by the Sorbonne professors, many of them refugees from the French Revolution, was used at Maynooth College until 1852. 
It would be an unfair procedure, unfounded surmise, to argue from all this that the formal heresy of Jansenism (especially in its political, Gallican aspects) was ever widely fostered or tolerated in Ireland. Furthermore, Joyce was not born until 1882, so that the clerical education of the priests of his time should not have been directly influenced by the moral rigorism of such a book as Bailly's Theologie. It is, perhaps, sufficient to note that a certain austere disposition toward matters sexual—excessive reticences, unduly stringent precautions—prevailed in the theological moral climate of Joyce's time. The violence of Joyce's reaction to his sexual education becomes thus easier to understand. In some respects, compulsive and unhealthy, Joyce is like a lapsed priest in his reaction. A disturbed awareness of the body's appetites is not the normal response to Catholicism, nor the usual counter-reaction, even when one withdraws from the Church; it is the heretical moralisms (Mani-chean, Jansenistic) existing on the fringes which breed revulsions like these. Since the Jesuits, Joyce's teachers, have been the outspoken foes of the Jansenists, and their traditional targets, it is not altogether clear why he should be thought of as in some special sense forever dominated by their authoritarian severity.
Kevin Sullivan's Joyce among the Jesuits undertakes to define "the basic facts" of "Joyce's actual relationship" with the Jesuits, and to distinguish these from the "modifications of Stephen's consciousness" and "the ulterior ends of his rhetoric."  Until these basic Jesuit facts are defined—or our criticism of the fiction desists, at least, from making so much of them—it seems that our discussions of Joyce the artist must forever be off-centered by imagined recriminations, willed refusals of forgiveness which the artist himself sought less to foster than forget.
(1) Since the first publication of the Portrait, no fictional aspect of the novel has been more confidently assumed to be factual than Stephen Dedalus' discussion, in the fourth chapter, with the Jesuit, the Spiritual Director of Belvedere College (a secondary school, or high school, in the American sense) who asks him, "Have you ever felt that you had a vocation? ... I mean have you ever felt within yourself, in your soul, a desire to join the order" (157). Often enough, this fictional discussion is spoken of as one which occurred at University College, though the hurried final chapter which deals with Stephen's days at University College, Chapter v, assumes
from the outset that Stephen has quite resolutely turned his back on this possibility of vocation well before his university life began. Furthermore, the Jesuit priest who speaks of vocation to Stephen is not represented in the Portrait, if we speak strictly ourselves, as "inviting" Stephen to join the Society of Jesus. The text makes it clear that he is exploring with Stephen the nature of religious vocation, a subject on which Stephen, in common with actual young men of seeming religious aspirations, might understandably feel awkward in speaking first himself. Though Joyce's fictional presentation of the situation is from first to last, and unmistakably, from the point of view of a person who has come to believe that the priestly vocation is an invitation to death and to darkness, his narrative aims at an illusion of naturalism: Stephen is truly "tempted" by the possibility; the director, scarcely more than a voice, a specter in the shadows, is heard saying to Stephen, "But you must be quite sure, Stephen, that you have a vocation because it would be terrible if you found afterwards that you had none" (159-160). Even such an "invitation" must within the fiction have had something of value to enhance Stephen's refusal of it.
In Ulysses, Stephen Dedalus is haunted by the memory of a priestly vocation declined, but there is no mention of an "invitation" to join the Jesuits. In the Nighttown scene in Bella Cohen's brothel, the Circe chapter, Stephen celebrates a pathetically defeatist lay-parody of the true Mass, but not as a Jesuit; he later participates in the Black Mass of Buck Mulligan and Haines, but not as the celebrant. Florry, one of the prostitutes, suspects he is a "spoiled priest" (512), but thinks he is out of the diocesan seminary of Maynooth (508); in one of the hallucinations, Stephen imagines himself to be the son of a Cardinal, "His Eminence Simon Stephen Cardinal Dedalus, Primate of all Ireland" (512)—but there has never been an Irish Jesuit Cardinal in Ireland. Buck Mulligan habitually thinks and speaks of Stephen as a spoiled spiritual son of the Jesuits—"you have the cursed Jesuit strain in you, only it's injected the wrong way" (10)—but Buck does not taunt Stephen for having once been actually invited to join the Jesuits, nor does he ever ask him why he declined the invitation. In Finnegans Wake, Book in, Section 1, Shaun paints as dark a picture as he dares of his brother's (Shem's) life. Shaun seems unclear in his own mind whether it is more damaging to Shem's reputation to accuse him falsely of having entered the Society of Jesus ("the society of jewses")) or of having wanted to enter the Order of Preachers, "as a Dominican skyterrier" (423-424). Joyce's own fiction, then, provides no very sturdy peg (even an imaginative one) on which to hang confident assertions about the actual or even possible circumstances of Joyce's own often alleged vocation to the sacerdotal life.
In the extensive correspondence of Joyce and of his family, so far at least as the family letters, edited and unedited, are now generously available, there is nowhere any personal statement of James Joyce or of anyone in his family to the effect that the Jesuits once extended an invitation to him to join their ranks. If such an invitation had been actually extended, silence on such a point seems scarcely probable, especially in the exchange of letters between Joyce and his brother Stanislaus. Furthermore, nowhere in Stanislaus' Diary is there any retrospective reference to a Jesuit trick to capture his brother "Jim." One imagines that Stanislaus would in his Diary have "capitalized" on such an invitation, had it been actually extended. It is true that in the summer of 1903 Stanislaus "yielded to the temptation . . . and burnt a long and full diary which I had kept for two years. Jim said he was very sorry I burnt it as it would have been of great use to him in writing his novel, and if it would have been of use, I am sorry, too" (January 1905, 190).
More significant than any of these statements or silences is the absence of any such information about an "invitation" in the entry for "Jesuits," which is included in the character and name notebook which Joyce seems to have used as an early first workbook for what became in time the final versions of the Portrait and of Ulysses:
"They breed atheists.
In My Brother's Keeper, Stanislaus Joyce has recorded, for whatever further wry import the point may have; "We [James and Stanislaus] were sent free of fees at the invitation of the Jesuit Father Conmee to the Jesuit school, Belvedere College."  Membership in the Society of Jesus does not, of course, confer immunity from vulgarity and stupidity. At the risk of seeming to protest too much, the Irish Jesuits might, perhaps, be pardoned for taking some meager comfort; some of us might be inclined to concede them this as their due: Joyce nowhere here opposes them as "authoritarian" (as, indeed, he never does elsewhere), and he recalls no ruse on their part to enlist him as a recruit for their company. Bright boys in and out of fiction (Stephen Dedalus, Holden Caulfield) often hate their teachers. Samuel Butler's reaction against the Church of England is far more violent than Joyce's to his teachers in the Church of Rome. In My Brother's Keeper, Stanislaus asserted in 1955, "The purpose of Jesuit training is to instil the belief that all our time and the use of all our gifts belong to God, and further so to develop the conscience as to make cowards of us all. Their aim is to enslave the mind completely, and make it work for their ends."  This judgment at seventy is not completely consistent, however, with Stanislaus' own appraisal half a century earlier, on one of the final pages of his Diary: "The Jesuit influence, not their system, is educational because it trains those under it to educate themselves" (27 April 1905, 227). 
Stanislaus Joyce is, it seems, the sole independent authority for the commonly accepted view that Joyce was invited to join the Jesuits. J. Mitchell Morse has opened an article, "The Disobedient Artist: Joyce and Loyola," with the positive, unqualified assertion, "The Jesuits never forgave Joyce for refusing to enter their Society, and he never forgave them for inviting him."  In his first note, Morse cites Stanislaus Joyce's 1950 Recollections of James Joyce as the primary source for this biographical declaration. Though Herbert Gorman's generally unsatisfactory biography of Joyce is also often cited (for example, Morse so cites it in second place) as a quasi-independent authority for Joyce's having been asked to join the Jesuits, Gorman on this point, at least, is very much more guarded than citation of his biography would ordinarily suggest. On this subject he says no more, in his own language, than that "Joyce actually entertained the idea of entering the Jesuit order,"  a fact which Gorman may or may not have learned from Stanislaus, or from James (one seldom feels sure with Gorman), and, in any case, this is a different situation. Richard Ellmann, a capable Joyce scholar, a biographer whom we feel ordinarily we may trust, follows the lead of Stanislaus with no other discernible documentation to check on this source. In a recent otherwise carefully edited textbook, Masters of British Literature, Ellmann introduces the James Joyce selections: "James's teachers perceived his rare powers and attempted to enlist him as a Jesuit priest."  Ellmann at least avoids the common practice of some textbook editors who inform our college students that the Jesuits were actually successful in their attempts. In Masters of the Modern Short Story, Walter Havighurst opens his introduction to Joyce with this sentence: "James Joyce (1882-1941), a native of Dublin, was educated for the priesthood."  For all such confident statements, there ultimately would seem to be but one source, the Recollections of Stanislaus, where he says of his brother James: "Observing his diligence in religious practices, his professors tried every way possible to induce him to enter their order (even the Provincial of the Jesuits in Ireland took an interest in his case), and they nearly succeeded."  In Stanislaus' more comprehensive, though unfinished recollections published in 1958, My Brother's Keeper, he succeeds in going over in far greater detail much the same ground as the 1950 Recollections (published originally in Italian, 1941); he omits, however, this significant incident of his brother's having been induced at Belvedere to enter the Society of Jesus. In both memoirs Stanislaus notes that his brother was invited, after his graduation, to teach as an assistant professor, a lay colleague, at University College, a post he "rejected," says Stanislaus, in Recollections, "to avoid being dependent on the Jesuits."  This offer may scarcely be construed as another invitation to enter the Jesuit order, nor in either memoir does Stanislaus say that it was.  Are we obliged, however, to accept as irrefragable evidence Stanislaus' testimony, in Recollections, that the Jesuit professors at Belvedere "tried every way possible to induce" Joyce "to enter their order"? Is the fact that Stanislaus records this in print in 1941 a compelling reason for our accepting uncritically so explicit a statement as the whole truth of the matter? Most writers on Joyce seem to have concluded in all fairness that we are so obliged.
At this late date, owing to very particular circumstances, it would seem to be impossible ever to provide direct or explicit testimony of a living witness to counter or modify this explicit testimony, of its nature indirect, of Stanislaus. Owing to the nature of the event reported, that which actually went on and was said in 1898 at such an interview with a sixteen year old student concerning his religious vocation would in the minds of the Jesuits concerned have been considered in fairness to him as in a special sense privileged information on a matter of a "committed secret." Though Stanislaus is not, it seems, an eye-witness to the event he reports, he may be considered as witnessing accurately to what his brother James presumably told him unless some contrary presumption has been established to qualify his report. One is free, to be sure, to accept Stanislaus' account. As far as the Jesuits are concerned, few are Joyce "specialists," or even amiable Joyceans. There is no corporate interest in disproving Stanislaus. From the actual state of his evidence, one might conclude that some few Irish Jesuits acted imprudently, contrary to their Constitutions and Rules, in so pressing their inducements, but imprudent Jesuits are to be found in most lands, in most generations; it is not impossible that the invitation was extended substantially as Stanislaus reports it. The rhetorical emphases of Stanislaus' report do not, however, invite literal interpretation: the Irish Jesuits tried in "every way possible to induce" Joyce. Are we to conclude that these ways included threats, coercion, and blackmail?
A critic might sense reasons for otherwise thinking that a certain reserve is possible in regard to putting Stanislaus' testimony into perspective; it has been taken as absolute and apodictic. A responsible critic cannot prove, absolutely and apodictically, that it is mistaken. He might, perhaps, ask in the service of truth, if possibly undue critical weight has been given to it. In an effort to note frontiers between what is factual and fictional in James Joyce, his life and his art, a critic might conclude that the Jesuit experience of Jesuits and the Jesuit experience of others not in the Order are in some way germane to these points. It may be that the critical air has been unduly stirred up by Stanislaus' recollection forty-three years after the event narrated and in a form so unfriendly to other presumed witnesses. In recommending My Brother's Keeper to the reading-public, the publishers noted on the jacket, "Special venom is reserved for the Jesuits"; reading Stanislaus' two books, some readers have come to feel that this recommendation is well-founded. This reader, indeed, finds difficulty in accepting the evidence of a witness whose disenchantment—"a sometimes appalling violence," in the words of T. S. Eliot —against everything Catholic seems to color almost all that he says. The suggestion that Saint Augustine is no more than a "sainted ruffian"  seems, on the whole, unwarranted, inaccurate, and inadequate. Perhaps one has the choice of putting a question mark after Stanislaus' story of Joyce's vocation?
In reply to this question, Did the Jesuits invite Joyce to enter their Society? Patrick Burke-Gaffney, a classmate of Stanislaus at Belvedere College, a graduate, like Joyce, of University College, has remarked: "There are only two people who could answer this categorically, Joyce himself and whoever issued the invitation."  Burke-Gaffney's answer, in the face of Stanislaus' explicit testimony, comes down, it is true, to an admission that he still does not certainly know whether such an invitation as Stanislaus describes was or was not extended. Stanislaus' having said that it was extended does not convince him. To this writer, there seems to be no reason to dismiss Burke-Gaffney's point of view out-of-hand as irrelevant. Burke-Gaffney's own recollections of his ten years at Belvedere, years that overlapped with those that Joyce spent in attendance, conclude that "in the pageant of Jesuits who were at Belvedere" during this time such an invitation as Stanislaus describes would have been most unusual: "Were such invitations common at Belvedere? My answer is emphatically no!" 
Father John C. Kelly, present Professor of English at Belvedere College, states, however, that Father William Henry, Rector at Belvedere during Joyce's student days, was not such a person as to be especially delicate in any of his suggestions to students. Father Kelly assumes that Father Henry, as Rector, would have needed to interpose in any situation involving such an official invitation as Stanislaus reports. He writes: "Since James Joyce was head-boy in the school (Prefect of the Sodality seems to have corresponded to what we now call Captain of the school), and, as well, clever and intelligent beyond the average, he would have been considered a good 'catch.' I do not know whether he was invited or not. Stanislaus' evidence I think shaky. Everyone, I think, has noticed that Stanislaus is bitter, disgruntled, and resentful. He resents, in particular, his treatment by his father, by Jesuits and other clergy, by certain kinds of Irish nationalists. To a lesser extent and more unconsciously he is resentful of his brother's greatness. Writing on these themes he is not detached; he is, in fact, a hostile witness. As a conjecture, I think the invitation not unlikely. . . . But trying every possible means to induce Joyce to join the Society of Jesus is another kettle of fish. The old-school would have known enough of the Constitutions of the Society (and of ordinary morality) to keep it clear of excesses. They may have insisted and pestered Joyce, however. Mild pestering, in a grandpaternal manner, is in character and not unlikely." 
J. F. Byrne narrates in his autobiography, Silent Years, a dramatic story of two University College Jesuits, Father Darlington and Father Browne, who urged him (Byrne) to enter their Society. These two Jesuit Fathers are presented as seeking first to dissuade Byrne from entering the Carmelites, and, then, as continuing urgently to press their invitation even after Byrne announces, "I have not the faith, I am not a believer," and in the face of all the other obstacles Byrne points out to them—his duty to care for his two cousins, his being already in love, "You know there is a girl."  Human nature being what it is, few would care to oppose a set of rules to the testimony of a living witness. In the light of the legislation of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus on the admission of candidates, such a congeries of glaring violations against the elementary rules of the Order suggests, at least to Jesuits, that reservations in accepting Byrne's narrative may not be altogether without point.  Father Kelly here comments, "The story seems without internal coherence. If Byrne were an unbeliever and had a girl, why should he have wished to join the Carmelites?"  Why should either the Carmelites or the Jesuits have tried so hard to convince him that he had a priestly vocation? Why should they have imagined that he might have persevered? So far as Joyce's fictional use in the Portrait of Stephen Dedalus' invitation to the Society of Jesus is concerned, Byrne narrates, in Silent Years, that Joyce makes use here, and in the famous fire-lighting scene (184-190), of an incident that had taken place in reality between himself (Byrne) and Father Darlington, and that Joyce has seriously distorted the real incident in the telling. 
In Our Friend James Joyce, Padraic Colum recounts a conversation he had with Joyce on the subject of Joyce's "early religious crisis and its negative outcome": " 'Mind you,' he said, 'it was not a question of belief. It was a question of celibacy. I knew I could not live the life of a celibate'."  As the account of Stephen Dedalus' "conversion" in the Portrait (151, 153) sufficiently shows, Joyce made no secret in this spiritual autobiography, Geistesroman, of his religious "scruples and imperfections." We should note that Stanislaus himself nowhere asserts that the Irish Jesuits never forgave his brother for having refused their invitation. James Joyce, for his part, seems to have sensed no enduring unforgiveness toward the Irish Jesuits for the invitation's having been extended, if extended it was: "You allude to me as a Catholic . . . now you ought to allude to me, for the sake of precision and to get the correct contour on me, you ought to allude to me as a Jesuit."  My own conversations in Ireland, in 1950, with the Irish Jesuits who remembered Joyce lead me to conclude that Joyce might well have thought seriously at one time (at Belvedere, not University College) of becoming a Jesuit, and that his professors might without sinister intent have encouraged him in his considerations of that vocation, but that if this were so the Irish Jesuits, in his days as in ours, remained at least corpo-rately quite unaware of these facts. This conclusion is corroborated by two other American Jesuits, Father Walter J. Ong and Father John P. Lahey, who also inquired at Jesuit residences in Ireland about the subject of Joyce's priestly vocation; in the words of Father Ong, "The Irish Jesuits certainly harbored no corporate grudge against Joyce for not acting on a notion which they did not think he ever had." 
(2) No one who is familiar with the personal papers of Joyce in the first period of his open break with Catholicism wTould care to distinguish sharply between the fundamental identity of Joyce's own early attitudes and those of the early Stephen. This viewed antagonism between the opposing categorical claims of art and morality, art and faith, is never an easy one for a highly gifted artist of intense personal dedication to resolve. Needless to add, many great artists have succeeded in doing so; Stephen Dedalus' substitution of the priesthood of the imagination for that of the altar is not the only possible guarantee of artistic integrity. However we may interpret this, and in spite of Stephen's various attacks on Jesuit worldliness, it seems noteworthy that the quarrel between Stephen (and/or Joyce, in his early papers) and the Jesuits is not attributed by either Stephen or Joyce to a compulsive form of disobedience to the Jesuits' authoritarian control.
Kevin Sullivan, in his Joyce among the Jesuits, has gone over the historical grounds underlying Joyce's reading of his student paper, "Drama and Life," before the Literary and Historical Society of University College, 20 January 1900.  According to the minutes of the L&H meeting, this is a paper he volunteered to read, and one which, it would seem, was well received by all present and for which he was voted a cordial and unanimous expression of thanks. This actual life situation is manifestly very different from its counterpart in Stephen Hero, where Stephen "was respectfully invited to read a paper" before the L&H, one which all present received with such coldness that Stephen "was gloomily taking counsel with himself as to whether he should fling the manuscript at their heads" (101). For the purposes of his fiction, and, possibly, too, to score a point against his later critics, Joyce intelligently telescopes, it may be, two or more actual life incidents here into one. The 1957 Centenary History of the L&H states that the account given in Stephen Hero "may be as biassed as the reports of Dr. Johnson of the debates in the House of Commons," yet adds, surprisingly, "it reads as a reasonable presentation of what took place." The reported discussion of the "Drama and Life" paper is, in any case, "blended with the atmosphere of the discussion" of Joyce's subsequent paper on James Clarence Mangan, one which was printed in St. Stephens, May 1902.  "Clarence Mangan" was read to the L&H, 15 February 1902, two years after "Drama and Life." According to the news story in the next day's Freeman's Journal, the Mangan paper was also, as a matter of fact, well received: "James Joyce was deservedly applauded at the conclusion of what was generally agreed to have been the best paper ever read before the Society." 
Sullivan notes correctly that it was Joyce's essay, "The Day of the Rabblement," which St. Stephen's declined to print. Later Joyce had this essay printed privately, sometime after October 1901, and noted in his published preface (with F. J. C. Skeffington) that the essay had been "commissioned by the Editor of St. Stephen's ... but was subsequently refused insertion by the Censor."  Sullivan believes that Father Henry Browne, S.J., the faculty moderator of St. Stephen's, was responsible for the censorial veto. He may be right. But Father Browne's precise role as Censor here is far from easy to define. In any case, the essay was not vetoed on dogmatic grounds of religious orthodoxy—as most accounts of the matter imply; there were no reasons why the question of religious orthodoxy should arise. Since the essay constituted an attack on the National Theatre for Ireland scheme, with which W. B. Yeats, George Moore, Lady Gregory, and other artists (mostly non-Catholic) were actively associated, since many of the students sided with the founders of this theater, it did not seem to be a matter of good public relations for this Catholic college, which labored under strained relations already with certain sectors of the Dublin community, to sponsor such an attack. In one way or another, all editorial vetoes are, of course, a kind of censorship. Since the refusal to publish Joyce's essay was not motivated either by considerations of religious orthodoxy or of literary merit, the role of Father Browne in expressing the veto, in playing the Censor, is not altogether clear. The student editors of St. Stephen's enjoyed a large degree of autonomy. Father Browne was more often absent than not from their editorial conferences. Here a comment of Patrick Burke-Gaffney may again be of help: "I do not know who turned down Joyce's essay. I would suspect that if it was turned down on the score of dogma, it was Father Browne; on the rationality, Hugh Kennedy; on the score of content, Arthur Clery."  Since considerations of religious orthodoxy were beside the point, there is reason for believing that Father Browne's assigned role is non-existent. The Centenary History of the L&H, in any case, states explicitly that the rejection of Joyce's "The Day of the Rabblement" was the decision of the then editor Hugh Kennedy (who had "received fifteen votes against nine for James Joyce in the election for the auditorship for the session 1900-01"), and adds, "The storm blew over; and it was while Kennedy was still editor that Joyce gave his paper on Mangan for publication." 
It is curious that Joyce's determined opposition to the National Theatre for Ireland scheme is offered as an instance of his emancipation of mind by those same biographically inclined commentators on his fiction who make much of his alleged unique independence in being the only student who, it is claimed, refused to sign the manifesto of University College students directed against W. B. Yeats's play The Countess Cathleen. This play was first performed 8 May 1899, and the protest was published in the Freeman's Journal, two days later, 10 May 1899. In his 1950 Recollections, Stanislaus Joyce informs us> "Joyce alone refused to sign the protest."  Herbert Gorman, in 1939, went on record with the same information, though it would appear that on this point, as on others, Stanislaus had been Gorman's informant or source. In his biography James Joyce, Gorman writes: "The next day a manifesto directed against the play was set forth on a table at University College and all the students were gently coerced into signing it. That is, all except one. Joyce contemptuously refused to add his signature to the rest."  Richard Ellmann repeats the same story: "He [Joyce] quickly set himself apart from the other university students by his refusal to sign a protest which they had got up against the heresy of Yeats's play, The Countess Cathleen"  Kevin Sullivan's Joyce among the Jesuits refers its readers, in a note, to a "somewhat cooler appraisal of what actually occurred," which may be found in the Centenary History of the Lb°H, but Sullivan overlooks the point himself and seems, in his own words, to blur it: "Joyce continued to hold aloof from the multitude of student patriots." 
This example is a classic one for illustrating the extent to which even capable commentators on Joyce's text are led from the fiction to reconstruct in detail a biographical "original" which in fact does not exist outside of the imagination. The Portrait (194-199) develops with considerable strategic point the incident of Stephen's refusal to sign the manifesto for which McCann is eager to collect signatures. In the Portrait, this manifesto is not presented as clerically motivated, nor is it directed as a protest against anyone: it is the Tsar's manifesto or appeal for universal peace. Joyce's notes and letters inform us that in "real life" the McCann of this novel was Francis [J. C] Sheehy-Skeffington, Joyce's frail and gentle pacifist friend, who, ironically, would be shot to death, without trial, in the Easter Week Uprising, 1916, in the intervals that separated the first publications (English and American) of Joyce's Portrait abroad. The fictional incident in the novel closes with McCann's remarking to Stephen, "Dedalus ... I believe you're a good fellow but you have yet to learn the dignity of altruism and the responsibility of the human individual" (198-199). Joyce is, after all, the creator of this fictional utterance of McCann in the novel; it would be naive of us to imagine that in his control of the narrative Joyce did not see much to be said for McCann's appraisal of Stephen, the point for which the incident has been carefully worked up.
There is no reason to go outside the fictional universe into the actual so as to identify Stephen's refusal to sign the Tsar's manifesto in the novel with Joyce's own refusal in his University College days to sign an allegedly clerically motivated manifesto against Yeats's play, The Countess Cathleen. This particular manifesto is fortunately available. If one consults the list of signatures in the Freeman's Journal for 10 May 1899, one may see at a glance that it is by no means a fact that Joyce alone refused to sign it. Sheehy-Skeffington, it is true, signed it, but he did not originate it. J. F. Byrne (who became Joyce's "Cranly") and Hugh Kennedy (who became first Chief Justice of Ireland) signed it; in all fifteen members of the L&H signed, and there are, in addition, eighteen other signatures; but this is very far from constituting endorsement by "all the students. That is all except one." Furthermore, two months before the first performance of this play of Yeats's, the L&H, on 11 March 1899, had met to debate and discuss the place and value of the National Theatre in Irish life. Of the ten principal speakers at that meeting, of whom Joyce was one, only four gave their names to the manifesto directed against The Countess Cathleen.  The Jesuit faculty at University College stood apart from the controversy. As individuals, some felt inclined one way, some the way opposite; there was no corporate point of view and no faculty sponsorship of the student manifesto. It is a myth to assert that Joyce alone withstood the clerical coercion; there was no clerical coercion in this case to withstand.
(3) Though Stanislaus Joyce's identification of the preacher Father Purdon, in "Grace," with the Jesuit Father Bernard Vaughan may seem, on the face of it, rather arbitrary, there is no doubt that the rigidly controlled naturalistic vision of the story obliges one to read its hurried concluding summary of Father Purdon's sermon as an ironic commentary of some sort on Jesuit "businesslike" spirituality. Father Vaughan, a younger brother of Herbert Cardinal Vaughan, was an Englishman born at Court Field, Herefordshire, not in Wales, as Father Conmee's reflections on him in Ulysses (217) might at first lead one to surmise. The tone of Father Conmee's revery in Ulysses is ironically naturalistic in many subtle and humorous ways. Though Father Conmee, the Irish Jesuit, is trying to be charitable in his interior judgments of his English brother-Jesuit, Joyce makes us see that for one in Father Conmee's own more aristocratic tradition the "droll eyes and cockney voice" (216) of Father Vaughan were not exactly his "cup of tea." The Vaughans were, as a matter of fact, the last persons in England to speak Cockney. Father Bernard Vaughan was, however, celebrated for his Cockney imitations, as also for his imitations of the Lancashire dialect; often, in preaching, he would incorporate his "Dialogues" in various dialects into the text of his sermons. Father C. C. Martindale, in his biography of Bernard Vaughan, mentions that this "zealous man" had spent part of his boyhood near Croagh Patrick, and quotes the Irish Freeman's Journal to the effect that it was once "his wish to be aggregated to the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus and to be stationed at Gardiner Street,"—that is, the Jesuit Church of Saint Francis Xavier, where the fictional sermon by the Father Purdon of "Grace" is preached.  The fact is, however, that Bernard Vaughan joined the English Province, where he became a celebrated preacher and director of spiritual retreats. His success as a preacher led in time to his being in demand in Catholic pulpits around the world. Several times he went to Dublin, where his unaffected kindness to those who lived in the slums of the city much endeared him not only to the poor but to the well-educated and aristocratic citizens of privilege. Though many good-natured jokes were circulated about his flair for dramatic pulpit eloquence, he was on all sides much admired and loved. His ascendancy in Belfast was as great as in Dublin. If Joyce had him in mind as the original" of the Father Purdon of "Grace,"— a vulgarian priest in search of publicity," named "for the street of the brothels in Dublin," as Stanislaus asserts —it would seem that only such Irish initiates as Stanislaus could have sensed this, and that few of them would have accepted such a portraiture as a human likeness faithful or just.
Father Bernard Vaughan's retreat notes are, in fact, preserved. Some have been published. The spirituality of these notes could scarcely be at greater variance with the picture of Father Purdon as the "spiritual accountant" of Joyce's story "Grace" (222). "Sanctity," he tells us in one of the Notes, "is impossible without pain. It brings God nearer to us. We have nearly all of us something to bear at some time of our lives, and tragic things happen to others which we know nothing of."  This is far from the easy vulgarity of Father Purdon's, "Jesus Christ was not a hard taskmaster," at least so far as Joyce interprets this in "Grace" (222). In the context of his fiction, Joyce clearly intends his sermon by a Jesuit, for all its naturalistic tone, to be no more than an ironic burlesque of Christian spirituality. The story succeeds well enough in making its comment, much as do Swift's digressions in A Tale of a Tub, though without the title "Grace" the narrative itself might strike us as rather aimless and wandering; stylistically, it is not a good example of Joyce's "epiphany" technique, which ordinarily works much more subtly to illuminate in a flash an area of unconscious self-betrayal at some radiant final point of accumulated poignant insight.
Much in the same way, the far more extended, directly presented (not merely summarized) retreat sermon of Father Arnall in the Portrait (108-135), the lurid sermon on Hell, is often accepted as a faithful naturalistic transcription of what the Jesuit rhetorical development of this meditation must have been like at times of retreat in the Jesuit schools which Joyce attended in Ireland.  Here it seems more difficult to speak with assurance of what the actual historical presentation of this spiritual exercise "Hell" may have been like in the annual three-day retreat at Belvedere College, or high school (for there were no annual retreats at University College in Joyce's days). The sermon of Father Arnall does little more than to develop with great graphic concreteness a long series of more or less harrowing images of the eternal pains, of sense and of loss, which the damned experience in Hell. Although there are mediaeval precedents for this particular mode of development, it is one which seems little warranted by Saint Ignatius' text of the meditation "Hell" in his book, The Spiritual Exercises. As presented by Saint Ignatius, this meditation, though it obliges the exercitant to consider the dread penalty of sin, is intended as one in a series of meditations on the mercy of God: the exercitant is directed at the beginning to choose the crucifix as his compositio loci; further on, he is directed to conclude the Exercise with a colloquy of gratitude to his Saviour for having in His mercy through personal suffering saved souls from Hell. The sermon in the Portrait pays scant attention to such directives; it rather builds up to an appalling terror which would be imaginatively sufficient to prostrate any mind, not alone that of an adolescent, which concentrated on it without relief. Yet in its early review of the Portrait, the Jesuit weekly America noted that "an excellent retreat . . . seems to be given almost verbatim" in the novel.  Much more recently, an Irishman, Austin Clarke, writing in the Irish Times, took the writer of this article to task for having stated in a lecture, "Joyce and Catholicism,"  that this prostrating sermon is not a comprehensive or characteristic Catholic account: "Actually, as a schoolboy, I heard many such sermons and the screeches of the tortured were continually in my ears."  James R. Thrane has identified beyond much doubt the source of the sermon as a literary one, Hell Opened to Christians, a tract by Father Giovanni Pinamonti, a seventeenth-century Italian Jesuit. Father Arnall's sermon is so clearly derivative from this printed tract, or pamphlet, that it now seems beside the point to insist on a Belvedere "original" in the retreat preaching of any nineteenth-century Jesuit, for example, Joyce's own retreat-master, Father James A. Cullen.  Joyce cared little by the time he came to write the Portrait if the fictional sermon were or were not faithful to characteristic Ignatian spirituality; as it stands with its exaggerations, it is as fiction not without a Gulliver-like grim humor.
(4) On the last page but two of the Portrait, Stephen is shown to us as writing in his diary: "Davin . . . asked me was it true I was going away and why. Told him the shortest way to Tara was via Holyhead" (250-251), a near-transcription of one of Joyce's own sentences in the early workbook entry for "Ireland": "The shortest way from Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn is to sail away from it [sic]. The shortest route to Tara is via Holyhead." The shortest route imaginable to Ireland's ancient capital is one that the imagination alone can chart; to create this image, one needed, as Joyce saw it, to get outside the reality that would always remain fixed spiritually in his sensibilities as home. As time ran on for him and for Ireland, after 1904, this image became increasingly a fixed reality of the past. The expatriate remembers; if he is an artist, he may want to fix in his own and others' imaginations the meaning of the home from which he has been separated by the distances of time and space. Joyce stopped his own clock sometime between 1902 and 1904. The Dublin he remembers is a world that has passed. Unlike Yeats, who saw it as his duty to implicate himself actively in the political destinies of Ireland, Joyce refused to become involved. It is only on the Ireland that he remembers that he tries to impose aesthetic order. "Ireland must be important," Stephen tells Bloom, in Ulysses, "because it belongs to me" (629). Twenty years after his own departure, Joyce is quoted, in the 1922 Danish newspaper interview, as telling his Copenhagen interviewer, "But I am not politically inclined. I don't want to have anything to do with politics . . . Conservatives, Fascists, and the Avant garde-ists, the Communists." 
Between 22 March 1907 and 5 September 1912, Joyce did, however, write a series of nine politically oriented articles for his Triestine friend, Roberto Prezioso, editor of the Trieste evening newspaper // Piccolo delta Sera. Prezioso published them for the benefit of the Irredentist citizens of Trieste as an interpretation and defense of the aspirations of the citizens of another country for political independence. Under the title "James Joyce's Shrill Note," Ellsworth Mason has made them available in an admirable English translation.  They are also available at Cornell, in Italian and also in what appears to be the original English text of Joyce. The "ineradicable egoism" of Stephen Hero (34) has compromised itself sufficiently by 1912 to permit Joyce himself to express from afar a deep sense of concern for his nation's political plight. One discerns a different point of view, of tone, from that of the "heroic" Stephen, who dismisses the Irish compassion for the long-suffering Hungarians of his own days as a vulgar display of nationalism fostered by "young Gaels" (62). Joyce is still resolved to blame to some extent the political paralysis of his nation on the Catholic Church. Ellsworth Mason observes, however, that in these political articles taken together, "Joyce shows a distinct sympathy for Catholicism as a religion." 
The role of the Irish Jesuits in leading Joyce to define his own attitude toward his country's political destiny is not at first sight easy to discern. Two related issues are involved: (1) The language question, Was Gaelic to be revived as the national speech? (2) The Home Rule question, Was Ireland to be free to govern herself? Unless we separate these questions, we may easily miss the sense that Joyce's fiction has for us, and we may attribute to him an exaggerated sense of the extent to which he felt that the artist needed to defend himself by "silence, exile, and cunning" from the snares (or "nests") which "nationality, language, religion," as Stephen says in the Portrait, have laid to impede the artist's flight (247, 203). As a college student, Joyce wanted nothing to do with the politically oriented Gaelic League, which sought to restore the ancient Gaelic language as the national speech. This league, founded under the presidency of Dr. Douglas Hyde in 1893, began to make its presence felt at University College only with the entrance of George Clancy in 1898, the same year in which Joyce began his University career.  Joyce opposed the Gaelic movement from the first; his role in standing out against the manifesto directed against The Countess Cathleen— even if he did not stand alone—must have been motivated, in part at least, by the stormy opposition which Clancy and the other Gaelic Leaguers organized to the initial performance of this play. They raided the theater and frequently interrupted the players. In so doing, these students had acted against the directives of the Jesuit administrators of University College, who had forbidden such public demonstrations and were prepared to discipline the demonstrators.
Though the Sinn Fein movement, more frankly political in its activities, did not become a problem for the College until 1907, when Joyce was no longer a student, some of the students joined the movement actively as early as 1899. Joyce did not associate himself with it, any more than he had done with the Gaelic League, though he sympathized as an Irishman with many of its aims. His motive coincided in one respect at least with the reluctance of the Jesuit University College authorities to give the Sinn Feiners the unqualified approbation which they sought. A Page of Irish History narrates the climactic crisis which developed in 1907, when Father William Delany, the President of the College, and subsequently Provincial of the Irish Province, opposed the identifying of the struggle to achieve national freedom with the effort to substitute Gaelic for English as the national speech: "The next day began the newspaper storm which was to rage without intermission for about eighteen months. In the history of Irish journalism there has never been such a rash of letters."  Roger Casement, for example, wrote at the time: "If our University is going to look on Irish as an inferior tongue, she will deserve the lonely un-tenanted fate of the 'Informer's House'." 
Throughout the quarter century of their administration of University College, the Irish Jesuits were in an uneasy situation: How might they most effectively conduct a college existing in liaison with the Royal University, at best an unpopular, English expedient, and at the same time avoid the suspicion of acting as a tool of the "Ascendancy," indifferent to their fellow countrymen's political hopes, which in fact many of them deeply shared? During the years of Joyce's attendance, it had become a "custom" for the University College graduates of the Royal University to create a continuous uproar when the commencement ceremonies were about to conclude with the playing of "God Save the King." Neither the threats of the Dublin police nor the remonstrances of the College authorities were effective in preventing the students from annually raiding the organ and exciting an uproar.  Suspension of the organ-raiding students, punishment in the form of denying them access to college facilities for their meetings were all fruitless expedients. The College's Literary and Historical Society (the L&H) went so far in 1906 as to deny the jurisdiction of the College administration to suspend any of its members for demonstrating against the Crown or Castle, and, finally, as a challenge to the presidential authority of Father Delany, passed a formal resolution effectively separating their society from the College.
In the prolonged struggle for Irish independence, the role of the entire Irish Catholic clergy was, under the circumstances, much confused. William Edward Hartpole Lecky, the distinguished non-Catholic Irish historian, concludes his 1861 essay, "Clerical Influences," with an eloquent argument for the formation of "a lay public opinion" in Ireland—"the greatest," he asserts, "of all our wants."  Though Lecky suppressed this tract on Irish sectarianism in subsequent editions of his important study The Lay Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland, and though he remained all his life fearful of the possible consequences of Irish Home Rule, he understood, as James Anthony Froude, for example, did not, why any political movement in Ireland needed to rely on the influence of the Catholic priests. Parnell, Joyce's hero, too understood this, and short of leaving Mrs. O'Shea did all he could to get on with the Church. Two centuries of English rule had almost effectively deprived Ireland of other living forces of consecrated patriotism in the fag-end of prostration. Lecky could also appreciate why the Irish felt that they had been misrepresented by English writers abroad and by the English press; he understood how it came about in the face of depreciation that the Irish patriots, saddened and angered, should have turned to their religious leaders for the sympathy which their English political masters for the most part (the exceptions, to be sure, are notable) declined to extend. Lecky's language when he speaks of the English government in Ireland is, indeed, on this point very strong—for example, "a tissue of brutality and hypocrisy, scarcely surpassed in history," "the selfishness, and bigotry, the imbecility, that have so long reigned."  Right or wrong, all this is useful in helping to provide a context for the sense of disenchantment which runs through Joyce's various indictments of Ireland.
Two of these indictments are stated in the early workbook entry, "Ireland": "The sow that eats her young," "Irish art is the cracked looking-glass of Europe." In the Portrait, the first follows "with cold violence" Stephen's announcement that he will "fly by" the nets of "nationality, language, religion" (203). In Ulysses, the other becomes a retort of Stephen to Buck Mulligan, who has shown Stephen his reflection in a mirror: "Drawing and pointing, Stephen said with bitterness: It is a symbol of Irish art, the cracked lookingglass of a servant" (8).
Joyce's own mirror of art is neither cracked nor servile. His fully realized portrait of Ireland, when we ourselves stand back to view it as a whole, is not that of a sow which devours all her offspring. Joyce, the most independent and revolutionary, perhaps, of all the creative writers of this century, by leaving Ireland at least escaped this fate. Yet no modern writer has lived more intensely a life of the spirit in dependence upon a nature and a nurture which the Ireland of his moment was uniquely enabled to provide. If his mirror, his looking-glass, is not a cracked one, his art is not without its strokes of violence and bitterness, and, in the end, not without the signature of his cosmic, lonely laughter. Controlled distortions in perspective, as much modern art has shown us, often make a portrait come to life in our imagination with an unforgetable impact of sense. The sense of Joyce's by-now classic portrait of Dublin will certainly be unclear to anyone who seeks to eliminate or to close his eyes to the peculiarly personal quality of this author's vision and the presence in his work of the distorting strokes. Dublin's distinction today as a literary "capital such as Christi-ania" is owing to Joyce's pains in portraying her, in his choosing as a person of "character and culture" to give form in this way to "the continuation of the expression of myself."
2005; Last Updated:
Thursday, August 06, 2015