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Exiles by James Joyce

Exiles (1918)

by James Joyce

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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464535,674 (3.54)11
This is the only extant play by the great Irish novelist and is of interest both for its autobiographical content and for formal reasons. In the characters and their circumstances details of Joyce's life are evident. The main character, Richard Rowan, the moody, tormented writer who is at odds with both his wife and the parochial Irish society around him, is clearly a portrait of Joyce himself. The character of Rowan's wife, Bertha, is certainly influenced by Joyce's lover and later wife, Nora Barnacle, with whom he left Ireland and lived a seminomadic existence in Zurich, Rome, Trieste, and Paris. As in real life, the play depicts the couple with a young son and, like Joyce, Rowan has returned to Ireland because of his mother's illness and subsequent death. Though lesser-known, Exiles, written after Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and while Joyce was working on Ulysses, provides interesting insights into the development of the creative gifts of a literary genius.… (more)



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English (4)  Italian (1)  All languages (5)
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Joyce's writing in this play is sort of wonderfully intentional, and it reminded me very much of those works I'd already read by him--The Dead perhaps especially. This is one of those rare cases where I think I'm glad to have read a play rather than seen it in person, and watching the characters play out of the page uncomfortably intimate and real in a way that can only speak to Joyce's mastery. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jun 21, 2019 |
You may then know in soul and body, a hundred forms, and ever restlessly, what some old theologian, Duns Scotus, I think, called a death of the spirit.

There is a muddy dip of uncertainty surrounding this piece. I have been addled by overwork for over a month and having found this paperback a few weeks back I kept it in reserve: circumstances rewarding portability have grown common. My expectations for Exiles were of a bridge, another route to Ulysses and the Wake. The opening act appeared to anticipate just such a Bloom/Molly dynamic. Things then went haywire, an akimbo drift into a fencing of manners where perhaps Heidegger held a key. I found this uncanny as I recently viewed Kazan's Baby Doll and found the introduction of Eli Wallach's character a perfect foil to a tale of Southern decline. Here in Exiles the betrayed character refuses to condemn nor employ violence. Such matters are beyond him, as if the epistemological limits preclude a definite stand. Is this a ruse, perhaps to condone his own infidelity? Is there hope or despair in his heart? The closest literary equivalent I considered was Tolstoy's [b:The Kreutzer Sonata|141077|The Kreutzer Sonata |Leo Tolstoy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1426179627s/141077.jpg|2266654] The questions of identity and propriety within a relationship are ultimately extrapolated into the duty to one's land and one's faith. Any scurrying outside of such and ambiguity and relativism are brought to bear. For all the play's emotive combustion, Joyce yields a worthy lesson in understatement. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
  kutheatre | Jun 4, 2015 |
ebook version
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Joyceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Colum, PadraicIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fern√°ndez de Castro, JavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lernout, GeertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lernout, GeertPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lustig, AlvinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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