Giacomo Joyce is the link connecting A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses, it pivots between the end of one and the beginning of the second. It is a love poem that is never recited and an attempt by Joyce at the sentimental education of a dark lady, and at the same time this is also his farewell to one phase of his life, whilst at the same time exploring a new form of imaginative expression. It was written in Trieste, possibly around July/August 1914 and was left there by Joyce, later being rescued by his brother Stanislaus, after it was acquired by an anonymous collector
through a quagmire.
Those quiet cold fingers have touched the pages, foul
and fair, on which my shame shall glow for ever. Quiet
and cold and pure fingers. Have they never erred?
Her body has no smell: an odourless flower.
On the stairs. A cold frail hand: shyness, silence: dark
languor-flooded eyes: weariness.”
Giacomo is a beautifully written episode of autofiction, covering an illicit love affair he had in Trieste, it was never published during his lifetime because of potential repercussions.
This book is a short story of 16 pages, it’s a fragment of a dream, it’s a series of sketches, each a love note, a promise, a wish. This book is poetry where desire is the omnipresent deity. But this is desire as reminiscence of past love and of a lost past.
“ Before his death Joyce said he would write something very simple and very short, he was thinking perhaps of how he had solidified the small fragile, transitory perfection of his Triestine pupil into the small, fragile enduring perfection of Giacomo Joyce”
The copy of this book that I have, has an introduction by Richard Ellmann, facsimiles of the notebook pages (16 page story/poem) & notes on the work
. Giacomo" is the Italian form of the author's forename, James
Richard Ellmann(Music in the…)