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October 07, 2006


Ruth Housman

Hi, I am wondering if James Joyce and Rilke were friends, as they both lived and wrote in Trieste and also Paris. In fact, Joyce's great work, Ulysses, begins in Martello Tower and Rilke's Duino, is conceived in the tower outside Trieste. There do seem to be remarkable parallels.

I have been searching on line for the two of them together, as companions.

Spirit of Vatican II

Ellmann has, "There is a legend that Dante paid a visit to the nearby castle of Duino, the ruins of which still stand; and the Dunieser Elegien are the product of Rilke's long sojourn, part of it contemporary with Joyce's residence nearby, in the modern castle which adjoins the ancient ruins."

Ingeborg Schnack's Rilke-Chronik says that Rilke owned the French translation of Dubliners, and also Portrait in English, and had read an extract of Ulysses in French in the review Commerce 1924. In 1925 Rilke said he felt the appeal of D H Lawrence and Joyce, whom he could not read in the original Portrait was translated into French in 1925; writing to Sidie Nadherny in January 1926 Rilke recommended it and Ulysses along with "the wonderful and incredibly inexhaustible Marcel Proust." In July 1926 Rilke went looking for French books hoping to find Gens de Dublin; he frequently urged people to read Valery Larbaud's introduction to it. (I haven't got volume one of the Chronik, so I don't know if Rilke ever referred to Joyce before 1918.)

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