….a cut up of some phrases spoken by James Joyce in a speech about James Clarence Mangan to the Literary and Historical Society, University College, Dublin, 15 February 1902. Mangan died of cholera in 1849.
JOYCE IN SIBERIA
A stranger in his country;
All whom he meets are demons out of the pit.
His father a human boa-constrictor.
His associates dishonour his person with their slime & venom.
The high, conical hat, the loose trousers many sizes too big for him,
and the old umbrella, so like a bagpipes.
He reads recklessly in many literatures.
The lore of many lands goes with him always.
He seems to seek in a world what is there in no satisfying measure or not at all.
None can say if it be pride or humility that looks out of that vague face.
Only his excesses save him from indifference – he seizes the keys of hell
and death, and flings them far out into the abyss,
proclaiming the praise of life.
A vessel of wrath
full of the ecstasy of combat
with the ardour of the wretched
with no native literary tradition to guide him
can tell of the beauty of hate,
as pure love.