Member Blogs > Books Tell You WhyJames Joyce on Henrik Ibsen: When Genius Recognizes Genius

  • Wed, 18 Mar 2015 08:00:00    Permalink

    In 1901, a young James Joyce was rapidly approaching the end of his studies at Trinity College, Dublin. A quick glance at the legendary author’s corpus, and it is easy enough to discern what he must have studied at school. Traces of St Augustine can be identified throughout his beloved bildungsroman A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), just as a familiarity with Homeric epics must have been a necessity for his great undertaking, Ulysses (1922). These pieces were no doubt common to the reading lists of many of that era’s scholars. Where Joyce’s education may have departed slightly from the norm, however, was in his decision to study the Dano-Norwegian language. While Dano-Norwegian might not have the pedigree of Latin or Greek, or the immediately associated classics of most romance languages, it had one significant draw for the young James Joyce: Henrik Ibsen.

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