James Joyce pp 99-100 | Cite as

Joyce’s Birthday Parties

  • Sisley Huddleston


Those birthday parties of Joyce, in his apartment on the Left Bank, were memorable occasions; but they were memorable not because they were highly intellectual, but because they were remarkably respectable. The host and hostess were anxious to please their guests neither in an esoteric nor a bohemian manner, but by the adequate provision of food and drink. At one end of the double salon a long table was covered with a white cloth; and on it were sandwiches and cakes galore and jugs of lemonade, bottles of champagne, liqueurs and Irish whisky. The guests could never take enough; food and drink were pressed upon them. Those guests were not selected because they were highbrow, or because they admired Joyce — though I have no doubt most of them did admire Joyce — but because they were friends of the family. There were the young folk, brought by the son and daughter, George and Lucia. There were the older folk, who had been associated in a personal way with Mr and Mrs Joyce. There was a good sprinkling of Irish acquaintances, some of them exiles. The keynote of the assembly was the true note of all family parties. You had not to bring a certificate showing that you had read, much less understood, Joyce. You had merely to be sympathique.


Adequate Provision Family Parti White Cloth Birthday Party True Note 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990

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  • Sisley Huddleston

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