Joyce and the Jews

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Joyce and the Jews culture and texts
Series Title:
Florida James Joyce series
Nadel, Ira Bruce
Place of Publication:
University Press of Florida
Physical Description:
xviii, 290 p. : ; 22 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Jews -- Intellectual life -- Europe ( lcsh )
Religion and literature -- History -- Ireland -- 20th century ( lcsh )
Judaism in literature ( lcsh )
Jews in literature ( lcsh )
Intertextuality ( lcsh )
Judentum ( swd )
Charakterisierung ( swd )
Juden ( swd )
Juden (Motiv) ( swd )
bibliography ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (p. 243-270) and index.
Statement of Responsibility:
Ira B. Nadel.

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The Florida James Joyce Series

The Florida James Joyce Series
Edited by Zack Bowen

The Autobiographical Novel of Co-Consciousness: Goncharov, Woolf, and Joyce,
by Galya Diment (1994).
Shaw and Joyce: "The Last Word in Stolentelling," by Martha Fodaski Black (1995).
Bloom's Old Sweet Song: Essays on Joyce and Music, by Zack Bowen (1995).
Reauthorizing Joyce, by Vicki Mahaffey (paperback edition, 1995).
Joyce's Iritis and the Irritated Text: The Dis-lexic Ulysses, by Roy Gottfried (1995).
Joyce, Milton, and the Theory of Influence, by Patrick Colm Hogan (1995).
Jocoserious Joyce: The Fate of Folly in Ulysses, by Robert H. Bell (paperback edition, 1996).
Joyce and Popular Culture, edited by R. B. Kershner (1996).
Bely, Joyce, and D6blin: Peripatetics in the City Novel, by Peter I. Barta (1996).
Joyce and the Jews: Culture and Texts, by Ira B. Nadel (paperback edition, 1996).

Joyce and the Jews

Culture and Texts

Ira B. Nadel

University Press of Florida
Gainesville Tallahassee Tampa Boca Raton
Pensacola Orlando Miami Jacksonville


Paperback edition first published 1996 by University Press of Florida
Copyright 1989,1996 by Ira B. Nadel
Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper
All rights reserved

01 00 99 98 97 96 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Nadel, Ira Bruce.
Joyce and the Jews: culture and texts / Ira B. Nadel.
p. cm. (Florida James Joyce Series)
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
ISBN 0-8130-1425-5 (pbk.: alk. paper)
1. Joyce, James, 1882-1941-Knowledge-Judaism. 2. Joyce, James,
1882-1941--Characters-Jews. 3. Jews-Europe-Intellectual\life.
4. Religion and literature. 5. Judaism in literature. 6. Jews in literature.
7. Intertextuality. I. Title. II. Series.
PR6019.09Z746 1996 95-38542
823'.912-dc20 CIP

The University Press of Florida is the scholarly publishing agency for the
State University System of Florida, comprised of Florida A & M University,
Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State
University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University
of North Florida, University of South Florida, and University of West

University Press of Florida
15 Northwest 15th Street
Gainesville, FL 32611

In memory of my father,
Isaac David Nadel,
and for
Ryan and Dara

'We Jews are not painters. We cannot depict things
statically. We see them always in transition, in
movement, as change. We are story-tellers.'-Kafka

'There is no sabbath for nomads.'-Joyce

'Judaism [is] the birth and passion of writing. The
passion of writing, the love and endurance of the
letter itself whose subject is not decidably the Jew
or the Letter itself.'-Derrida

'Like the writer, the Jew expects his
identity from the book.'-Jabes


Foreword to the Paperback Edition by Zack Bowen xi
Acknowledgments xiii
Abbreviations xvii

Introduction: 'Aleph, Alpha' 1

1 The Joycean Exodus 13

2 Joyce, Jews and History 35
Jewish History and Joyce's Art 36
Race 47
Anti-Semitism 57
Zionism 69

3 Joyce and Jewish Typology 85
Moses and Messianism 85
The Talmud and Textual Typology 107
Joyce's Rabbinic Texts 121
Joyce and Hebrew 127

4 Joyce and the Idea of the Jew 139
Identity 139
Joyce and the Mystique of the Jewish Woman 154

5 Joyce's Jewish Cities 181
Dublin 186
Trieste 198
Rome 208
Zurich 215
Paris 223

Conclusion: 'The Greatest Jew of All' 238

Notes 243
Index 271

Series Editor's Foreword

It is a pleasure to make Joyce and the Jews available in paperback in the
Florida James Joyce Series. Ira Nadel was after bigger and more nebu-
lous game than merely reglossing the overtly Jewish references in
Joyce's texts; he provides reasons for Joyce's adduced affinity for Jews,
their texts, and their way of thinking about the world. In so doing
Nadel writes a convincing history of every known Jewish friend and
contact Joyce ever had. Details of their histories, their known and
potential contributions to Joyce's understanding of Jews, and their
personal interactions with Joyce are augmented by a lengthy, fasci-
nating history of the treatment of Jews in the various countries of
Europe, beginning with Ireland (and an account of Arthur Griffith's
anti-Semitism), emphasizing those places in which Joyce resided, and
concluding with Joyce's efforts to get a number of Jews out of occu-
pied Europe during the early days of the Holocaust. Interwoven with
this Jewish exodus is Joyce's emigre life in Europe, an analysis of Jew-
ish typology, beginning with Moses, through the Talmud and rab-
binic texts, to an analysis of the Hebrew language and a sense of the
affinity of the whole to Joyce's work.
Zack Bowen
University of Miami


To undertake a study of this scope requires the assistance and
support of numerous individuals from a variety of countries. I
have been fortunate in obtaining such help from scholars and
students of Joyce in locations as disparate as those where Joyce
lived. From Texas to Tel Aviv, from Trieste to Los Angeles
individuals have generously shared with me their knowledge of,
and information about, Joyce. Of particular help have been the
following: Bernard Benstock, for locating a difficult source and his
bon vivant encouragement; Michael P. Gillespie, for comments on
Joyce's reading; Ken Gray of the Irish Times for material on A. J.
Leventhal; Philip Herring, for providing useful information on
Molly Bloom; David Hayman, for sharing his knowledge of Joyce's
Paris; Aaron Kamis, for details on the Jews of Zurich during
Joyce's stay; Morton P. Levitt, for comments, encouragement, and
support; Richard Menkis, for sharing with me his knowledge of
Jewish history and texts; Klaus Reichart, for continually useful
conversations on Judaism and Joyce; Marilyn Reizbaum, for her
work on Weininger; Erick Stocker for details on Joyce's Trieste
library; Dr Willy Guggenheim for access to papers in Zurich; Yael
Renan for details on translating Ulysses into Hebrew. Dr Gisele
Freund, Stephen Joyce, and Letizia Svevo Fonda Savio, as well as
the late Maria Jolas, and Richard Ellmann, have also patiently
answered queries. R. E. Brauchbar, Hilary Clark, Timothy Martin,
Carla de Petris, George Sandulescu, Bonnie Scott, and Adele
Wertheimer, as well as Raphael V. Siev, and, Rabbis Wilfred
Solomon and Howard Segal have my appreciation for their assist-
ance. Additional thanks go to W. E. Fredeman and Lorraine Weir,
colleagues at UBC.
Three 'Joyceans' deserve special acknowledgement for their
willingness to share their insightful knowledge of Joyce: Elliott
Gose, who as a colleague has always enthusiastically listened,
corrected and suggested new directions for this study which has
benefited from his reading of certain portions; Brenda Maddox,
who in her research on Nora Joyce became a willing sleuth in
tracking down various details relating to my topic and whose
thoroughness is matched only by her resourcefulness and friend-


ship; Fritz Senn, who welcomed a newcomer to Zurich and to
Joyce studies with grace and knowledge, and who continues to
educate all those interested in Joyce. My research assistants, Mark
Kusnier and David Ranson have also provided help when it was
most needed, while Gabriele Scardellato saved me from various
errors. Frances Arnold of Macmillan has proved to be not only an
encouraging, but understanding editor. My wife, Josephine, has
been supportive despite the time and distance away from home
needed to pursue this subject, while our children Ryan and Dara
have taught me new ways of seeing and listening.
Materials in Zurich, Dublin, London and Texas at, respectively,
the Schweizerischer Israelitscher Gemeindebund, the National
Library of Ireland, James Joyce Centre, University College, London,
and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of
Texas, were kindly put at my disposal, and I thank those insti-
tutions. Inter-Library Loan at the University of British Columbia
was also essential in completing the project, and always helpful in
securing often difficult-to-find resources. The Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Committee of the University of British Colum-
bia was instrumental in allowing me to carry out my research and
I wish to acknowledge their generous support.
Finally, I want to thank the following for permission to quote
from various sources: The Society of Authors as the literary
representative of the Estate of James Joyce for permission to quote
from the work of James Joyce; Viking Penguin and Random
House for permission to quote from the work of James Joyce; the
Huntington Library, San Marino, California, for permission to
quote from a letter by Wallace Stevens; Modern Judaism for permis-
sion to reproduce, in altered form, a portion of my article which
appeared in Volume 6 (1986): 301-10.
Citations to Ulysses refer to the episode and line numbers of the
1984 text edited by Hans Walter Gabler et al.; passages from
Finnegans Wake refer to page and line numbers.
The author and publisher wish to thank the following who have
kindly given permission for the use of copyright material:
From The Critical Writings of James Joyce, ed. by Ellsworth Mason
and Richard Ellmann. Copyright 1959 by Harriet Weaver and
F. Lionel Monro, Administrators of the Estate of James Joyce.
Copyright renewed 1987 by F. Lionel Monro. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Viking Penguin Inc.



From Dubliners by James Joyce. Copyright 1916 by B. W. Huebsch.
Definitive text Copyright 1967 by the Estate of James Joyce. All
rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Viking Penguin Inc.
From Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. Copyright 1939 by James
Joyce. Copyright renewed 1967 by George Joyce and Lucia
Joyce. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Viking
Penguin Inc.
From Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. Copyright
1916 by B. W. Huebsch. Copyright renewed 1944 by Nora Joyce.
Definitive text Copyright 1964 by the Estate of James Joyce. All
rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Viking Penguin Inc.
From Giacomo Joyce by James Joyce. Copyright ( 1959, 1967, 1968
by F. Lionel Monro, Administrator of the Estate of James Joyce.
All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Viking Penguin
From Letters of James Joyce, ed. Stuart Gilbert. Copyright 1957,
1966 by The Viking Press, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by
permission of Viking Penguin Inc.
From Letters of James Joyce, Vols. II & III, ed. Richard Ellmann.
Copyright ( 1%6 by F. Lionel Monro, Administrator of the Estate
of James Joyce. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of
Viking Penguin Inc.
Selected Letters of James Joyce, ed. Richard Ellmann. Copyright
1957, 1966 by The Viking Press, Inc. Copyright 1966, 1975 by
F. Lionel Monro, Administrator of the Estate of James Joyce. All
rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Viking Penguinr Inc.
From Ulysses by James Joyce. Copyright) 1986 by Random House,
Inc. Reading text copyright 1984 by the Trustees of the Estate
of James Joyce. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc.
and The Society of Authors as the literary representative of the
Estate of James Joyce.

Every effort has been made to trace all the copyright-holders, but
if any have been inadvertently overlooked the publisher will be
pleased to make the necessary arrangement at the first opportunity.




AWN A Wake Newslitter
CJ Richard Ellmann,, The Consciousness of Joyce
(London: Faber & Faber, 1977).
CU C. P. Curran, James Joyce Remembered (London:
OUP, 1968).
CW James Joyce, The Critical Writings, ed. Ellsworth
Mason and Richard Ellmann (New York: Viking,
D James Joyce, Dubliners (New York: Viking, 1967).
E James Joyce, Exiles (New York: Viking, 1951).
FW James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (New York: Viking,
GI James Joyce, Giacomo Joyce, ed. Richard Ellmann
(London: Faber & Faber, 1983).
GL Adaline Glasheen, Third Census of Finnegans Wake,
(Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1977).
G&S Don Gifford and Robert J. Seidman. Notes for Joyce,
An Annotation of James Joyce's Ulysses (New York:
E. P. Dutton, 1974).
JI Louis Hyman, The Jews of Ireland (Shannon: Irish
Univ. Press, 1972).
JJ Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, New & Rev. edn
(New York: OUP, 1982).
JJA The James Joyce Archive, 64 vols, ed. Michael Groden
et al. (New York: Garland, 1978-9).
JJQ James Joyce Quarterly
Lett. James Joyce, Letters of James Joyce, 3 vols ed. Stuart
Gilbert (i); Richard Ellmann (i and in) (New York:
Viking, 1966).
M Louis O. Mink, A Finnegans Wake Gazetteer (Bloom-
ington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1978).
P James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
(New York: Viking, 1964).
PAE Portraits of the Artist in Exile, Recollections of James
Joyce by Europeans, ed. Willard Potts (Dublin:
Wolfhound Press, 1979).

xviii Abbreviations

SC James Joyce, James Joyce's Scribbledehobble, The
Ur-Workbook for Finnegans Wake, ed. Thomas E.
Connolly (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern Univ.
Press, 1961).
Sel. Lett. James Joyce, Selected Letters of James Joyce, ed.
Richard Ellmann (New York: Viking, 1975).
SH James Joyce, Stephen Hero, ed. Theodore Spencer.
A New Edition by John J. Slocum and Herbert
Cahoon (1944; New York: New Directions, 1955).
U James Joyce, Ulysses, The Corrected Text, ed. Hans
Walter Gabler et al. (New York: Random House,
UI United Irishman.
UN James Joyce, Joyce's Ulysses Notesheets in the British
Museum, ed. Philip F. Herring (Charlottesville, Va.:
Univ. of Virginia Press, 1972).

Introduction: 'Aleph,


'Then he caught the europicolas and went into the society of
jewses.'-Finnegans Wake (423.35-6)

Shaun's description of his twin brother Shem in Book iii.i of
Finnegans Wake resonates with biographical detail about Joyce. His
departure from Ireland with Nora, his exodus for thirty-seven
years in Europe, his evolving but complex literary style (comically
expressed as 'throwing dust in the eyes of the Hooley Fermers!'
[424.4-5]), are among the many references in the passage. But no
allusion is more direct than the quotation at the head of this
paragraph which summarises Joyce's longstanding and continual
involvement with Jews. Moreover, the specific reference to Herzl's
Der Judenstaat, in which Herzl proposes a 'Society of Jews' to
organise the political policies of the Jewish state, reveals the deeply
rooted sympathy of Joyce with the Jewish condition. Removed
from Ireland and situated in an unstable social, cultural and
linguistic world that contrasted European traditions with Mediter-
ranean spirit, the formidable Austro-Hungarian Empire with the
dynamic Triestines, the stability of Switzerland with the destruction
of the First World War, the comfort of Paris with increasing political
dangers Joyce could idenify with only one group entrapped by
similar contradictions: Jews.she reasons for this correspondence
make up the content of this study; the impact on Joyce's life and
art is its theme.
Joyce identified with and relied on Jews, from Dublin acquaint-
ances like William and Henry Sinclair to Zurich friends like Ottocaro
Weiss and Edmund Brauchbar. The reasons for these attachments
are diverse but originate in parallel conditions of exile, edu-n
and rsjsl~0 oyce increasing y oun the division between
Jew and Gentile artificial and consciously sought to Hellenise
Judaism and Judaise Hellenism, an act Alexander accomplished in
the fourth century BC and Oliver Gogarty attempted with the

Joyce and the Jews

Hellenising of Ireland in the early twentieth (JJ 118). The well-
known statement in 'Circe', 'Jewgreek is greekjew. Extremes meet'
(15.2097-8), expresses this mutuality for Joyce which the twins
Philip Drunk and Philip Sober echo in the same episode. Appearing
as two parts of Stephen Dedalus' psyche, they are each 'masked
with Matthew Arnold's face' to illustrate their identicalness
(15.2514). But their similarity also removes Arnold's division
between Hebraistic dogmatism and Hellenistic humanism; the two
Xj t.Become symbolically and ironically integrated through the face of,
-te critic who articulated their division.
Sh r h__er sober and rational (Hebraistic), or drunk and imagin-
ative 1He ilip s share the face of Arnold which
t emphasises toyce' she conventional se arati o
traisnand Hellenism Studying Bruno at University College,
S in- h-elpd Joyce to see the necessary coinciding of contraries.1
But the effort of a gardener 'masked with Matthew Arnold's face'
St (1.173) to tidy up the uneven grass of an academic quadrangle is
an additional attempt to unite the rigidity of one attitude with the
flexibili of thej a linking of Aleph w'llh
Ittoe an reek aFlaetes Ly Sephenat
the opening of 'Proteus ( .
Joyce sought a similar cultural and linguistic union of the Semitic
and Hellenistic, which the initials ALP, the female protagonist in
the Wake, and the first three letters of the word alphabet, reaffirm.
In Hebrew Anna means grace but it may also stand for the single
inclusive name of the Great Goddess and female force called the
nima. In Christian tradition, Anne is also the Mother of Mary.
In the Jewish textual tradition of assigning numbers to letters, the
ermeneutical rule known as Gematria and a practice also followed
in the Hellenistic world, ALP represents one hundred and eleven
(aleph = 1; lamedh = 30; pe = 80), duplicating the ten sephiroth (in
the Wake, 'zephiroth' [29.13]), or emanations forming the Tree of
Life or Etz Haiyim of the Kabbalah plus one to mark a new
beginning. The Semitic and Hellenistic intersected, in fact, in the
second Teme eru where ,re_ used to
in icate numbers.2
Sconflation of opposites is a well-known quality of Joyce's
wor but the union of Jew and Greek is a distinct cultural and
biographical expression of his drive to enact what his language
unites.(The opening of Ulysses draws attention to this effort via
the discussion of names, as Mulligan comments on Stephen's

Introduction: 'Aleph, Alpha'

'absurd name, an ancient Greek!' and notes his own unusual first
name, Malachi (1.34; 1.41). It was the name of an early Irish King
but is also Hebrew for 'my messenger'; in addition, it represents
the prophet whose name is the title of the last book ~fthe Old
Testament and who foretells the second coming of Elijay Malachi
was, furthermore, devoted to the temple and God's covenant; he
also uses a question and an r le in contrast to the oracu-li
styo ef opthejr>pxkopheYiai
this concentration of identities, Mulligan adds that his name, with
its double dactyls, 'has a Hellenic ring, hasn't it? Tripping and
sunny like the buck IhfiNel( Joyce, w despised Hellen-
ism as an enthusiasm, calling it 'European appendicitis' in 1904,
none the less found that when se jnesionwith Hebraism, it
took on valuableguliti flxihbility hmanismp anclari gyjp
The attention paid by Joyce to the similar identities between
Jews and Greeks, Jews and Gentiles, and Jews and Irishmen -
their similarity emphasised by parallels between Moses and Parnell,
and the suppression of the Jews under the Egyptians with the Irish
under England was constant. And although he held that there
may be two different ways of thin De Cr ek
the other wish impassioned nevertheless cultural s
and politically he saw the two races as one Joyce's artistic life
ean when ertook hs exodus from Ireland the term acti
as .L Q .t1itfundamentalevent in e
for Joyce's life. The purpose of his exodus, rather than exile, from
Ireland (Joyce himself undermined the exile by calling it 'voluntary'
and by returning on numerous occasions) was artistic and moral
freedom. Stanislaus Joyce refers to this freedom as 'a necessity: it
was the guiding theme of his life'. He also suggests that literature
for Joyce was a form of revolt which 'dethrone[d] tyrannical secrets
in the heart and awakene[d] in it a sense of liberation'. though
Joyce 'wan n ea theendless
oS meBL .t~Jght him that the languangeof exodus
could only be f jou vwrig, and the only object of value was a
text. The isgah quality of Joyce's exodus 'teAimully sighting (and
itig) but never completely overcoming his separation from
Ireland, led to a second phase in his career: that of a refugee which
paralleled the situation of European Jews and further intensified
his union with them which originated in the realisation that his
only homeland could be a text. But the Hebraic theme of non-
return, the Abraham factor, remained a constant in Joyce's mind

Joyce and the Jews

that paradoxically explains his passion for Irish detail and Dublin
Prevented from returning both by what he perceived as the
unsympathetic reaction to his unorthodox life and activities as a
writer, and by the provincialism of the Irish artistic experience,
Joyce none the less constantly reclaims his country and its past
through language, myth, and history as do Jews in their constant
use of the ancient and sacred language, Hebrew, for their prayers
and texts. Joyce's life, if understood through the actions of Abraham
and the employment of language by Moses, will become a metaphor
of the Jewish experience, as much as it is a means to recover an
Irish past and locate an artistic identity.
rThe compelling similarities Joyce an others recognized between
Z self and Jews prompts this stud fE At times this reached
absurdist proportions, as when the Swiss Eidgenossiche Fremden-
gg./a^egderal Aliens' Polce/refused oToc-nfi h = r-
sion to enter the co jnJ .Se hgr that

Jo cetoPalestin; 23 MaxcanAn approach
to s yming Joyce's Jewish connections might, however, begin
with historical coincidences between his life and Jewish history,
commencin with hi birth i 82.and the promul nation that
same ear of the infamous 1 Laws in Russia reslie
aw ickl led tothe destructive ogroms.
Such parallels remain limited, however, and provi e no su s fan e
method to understanding Joyce's affinity with Jews since historical
accident as much as imagination accounts for these coincidences.
More important are the parallels in thought, action, desire and
understanding between Joyce and Jews which persisted throughout
his life. whether it was his admiration for the intensity of Jewish
homelife, commitment to tradition, or persecution for being differ-
ent, Joyce identified with Jews in both character and conscience|
But exceeding these social and historical connections is the literary,
and the roots of Judaism in the analysis and creation of texts.
Why did Joyce identify with Jews? The reasons are many: from
a similar sense of marginality shared by the artist and the Jew, to
similar family values shared by Joyce and Jews. Additionally,
Judaism's lack of institutionalisation furthered Joyce's identity with
Jews. As a religion it had no St. Peters', no Pope, nor hierarchy of
servants. Nor did it have a homeland. These 'freedoms' made
sympathy with Judaism's tenets possible since they did not percep-

Introduction: 'Aleph, Alpha'

tibly limit Joyce's sense of autonomy or his spiritual independence.
But overriding social and historical affinities is the literary, for
Joyce's Judaism i. te,,1r' n,- bii .... l^, g ..' t'h, e.w is,
prmpcially as the symbol of the Rnok
George Steiner has provocatively argued that for the ew his
homeland is always an at eac comment on it is an
a return. e con of uprootedness and dispersal for Jews
mean a"tonly texts he Torah, Talmud, Midras_. could remain
permanent and portab le sa Existencorws was scrial
*96t aT~1ir attention to the accuracy, transmission and
understanding of text insured their existence and continuity. The
text, Steiner summarises, 'was the instrument of exilic survival' -
or as Heine constantly stated, the Bible was an 'imperishable
treasure' with which the Jews 'trudged around throughout the
Middle Ages, as with a portable fatherland'.6
The textual tradition of the Jew is also that of Joyce who
throughout his displacement remained devoted to these very
ideals. Whether in Trieste, Zurich, or Paris, Joyce's concern was
with the composition, publication and reception of his texts. The
passionate commitment of Joyce to text often meant disruptive
domestic situations or uneven social relations, but his devotion
to the conservation, transri'on__^Sige
mo nte could
unersta ana mirear on that insisted on t struction
ofan entire Torah scroll if onl one letter or word was in error or

scribe (according to the Kabbalists, evil entered the world through
tet hair-line crack of an erronous letter, while man's suffering
occurred because of a false transcription of a single letter or word
when God dictated the Torah).7
Voyce's commitment to the purity of a text was similarly intense,
and he frequently lamented the errors that appeared in his woK.7
To Harriet Shaw Weaver he gave careful instructions about tl e
reprinting of A Portrait (Lett. 11:408); he paid detailed attention to
the typesetting of Ulysses and gave vent to his fear that printer's
errors might be perpetuated in future editions (Lett. mI:99-100;
I:176). None the less, he never advocated destroying his imperfect
texts or drafts, preserving as many manuscripts as possible.
Presenting Nora with a copy of the fourth printing of Ulysses in
January 1924, he cautioned her about errors remaining in the work
and recommended consulting the list of corrections bound at the

Joyce and the Jews

end (Lett. 111m:86) e also refused to deface the novel by publishing
either the Greek isode titles he outlined to Linati, or a guide to
accompany the text He was equally scrupulous with the Wake and
almost immedia Re after its publication began to correct errors
with Paul Leon in Vichy (Lett. InI:119; mII:461), a task he had earlier
performed with Sylvia Beach after the appearance of Ulysses. Joyce's
comment that the Wake demands of its ideal reader ideal insomnia
(120.13-14) expresses not a challenge to one's stamina, but Joyce's
valuation of the text and its decipherment. r
The essential Judaism of Joyce is textual. ith Jews he shares
the belief in the sacredness of the text which originates in the belief
that Go created the world through utterance, through the letters
of speech Consequently, the emergence of the Jewish devotion to
the worw- not made flesh, nor reified into a symbol but only as
text. Isaac Luria, the sixteenth-century Jewish mystic, actually
believed that the Hebrew names of all created things are letters of
speech descendent from the 'Ten Utterances'. Joyce concurred:
'every letter is a godsend' he writes in the Wake (269.17). Joyce
appears to have adopted the practices of Rabbinic hermeneutics
and traditional modes of Jewish thought which among other
principles believed that meaning resided in the text and is a
function of the text. Joyce alerts us to this reading in the Wake
when he notes that despite the fluctuating meaning within the
work ('Soferim Bebel' Sefer, Hebrew for book; Babel, the biblical
image of disparate languages, 118.18), there exist 'scriptsigns',
words on the page which contain meaning (118.28):

No, so holp me Petault, it is not a miseffectual whyacinthinous
riot of blots and blurs and bars and balls and hoops and wriggles
and juxtaposed jottings linked by spurts of speed: it only looks
as like it as damn it,

he narrator is saying that order and meaning exist in the text
mut that they can be discovered only within the work through
deciphering individual phrases, words, and letters a practice
JJ ish scholars have for centuries performed. Or as oyce explains,
'every word will be bound over to carry three score and ten
toptypsical readings' (20.14-15j
This concept of interpreting and composing by individual letters
existed in Joyce's earliest writing. In Stephen Hero, for example, the


Introduction; 'Aleph, Alpha'

narrator describes Stephen's writing as putting 'his lines together
not word by word but letter by letter. [he] even permuted and
combined the five vowels to construct cries for primitive emotions'
(SH 32). The origin of the concept of meaning residing only in the
text may derive from the notion that the Torah was only a jumble
of individual letters, a sequence of consonants derived from
Hebrew (the Torah scroll read in synagogues is written without
vowels or punctuation). The job of commentators and readers is
to reassemble those letters into an understandable text, a task not
unlike that of reading the Wake and its own effort of reassembling
the 'NIGHTLETTER' (308.16), at one point thought to be a scroll.8
For the Jew and Joyce signification is inseparable from the text
and the purpose of reading always remains the generation of
meaning within the boundaries of the text and not the discovery
of the mind of the author.9
In his love for, and interpretation of text, Joyce parallels the
central activity of Judaism, summarised as 'an endless commentary
on a Sacred Text'.10 As Chapter 3, 'Joyce and Jewish Typology',
will make clear, the traditional acts and interpretative methods of
Rabbinic exegesis, which form the core of Judaism, echo in Joyce
through his attention to language, metonymic strategies, and
constant intertextuality. For Joyce and for Jews, writing, the
creation of a text, establishes identity; as the French philosopher
Edmond Jabes states, 'Like the writer the Jew expects his identity
from the book.'11
Additionally, Joyce confirms the belief of Rabbinic interpreters
that the text is a process which simultaneoulsy represents and
comments on itself through the act of uncovering its deeper
meaning. He furthermore demonstrates that a text unfolds itself
to itself and recognizes what Edmond Jabes identifies: that the
'difficulty of being Jewish ... is the same as the difficulty of
writing'. Joyce, however, reverses this prescription; the difficulty
of his being a writer coincides with the difficulty of being a Jew; or
as Jabes further explains, 'it was in declaring myself a writer that I
first felt Jewish'.12
But belief in the word and the power of language do not alone
transform Joyce into a Jew. Also contributing is his acknowledge-
ment of a tradition of texts and the need to absorb them to establish
the authority of his own writing. The format of the Talmud vividly
and graphically demonstrates this tradition when, from its printing
in Venice in 1520 to the present, each page contains a central text

Joyce and the Jews

surrounded by commentaries. For example, the Mishnah, the
fundamental text of the Oral Torah, has the Gemara, Rabbinic
discussions of the passage, printed immediately under it, while
nearly subsuming both texts are commentaries printed on either
side. Tradition demands that Rashi's commentary appear closest
to the spine of the page and the Tosafot (his descendants and
disciples) on the opposite margin. Cross references to other
passages or emendations to the text also appear on the latter half
of the page. Joyce, by his various and sustained allusions to other
texts, continues this tradition which in the 'Study Hours' section
of the Wake (ii.ii) physically emulates the visual dimension of the
Talmudic page. Figuratively and literally, Joyce surrounds his
primary text with other works, whether it be the Odyssey, the Bible,
or Shakespeare.
Joyce's textual practice of borrowing from one of his own works
and placing a passage or character in a later text, suggesting
typological pre-figuration, is another Jewish practice. Elie Wiesel

I always smuggle into every book one sentence which is the
substance of the next book a Jewish tradition. When we finish
reading the Torah on Simchat Torah, we must begin again the
same Torah at the same session. Because we never finish, we
never begin .. it's a continuous process.13

Joyce began this practice early by taking wholesale sections of
Stephen Hero for A Portrait, which includes references and allusions
to Dubliners, which itself anticipates elements in both A Portrait
and Ulysses. The 1922 novel furthermore contains various details
from earlier works in addition to the character of Stephen Dedalus,
while anticipating, through the dreams of Murphy in 'Eumaeus'
and Molly in 'Penelope', the fuller dream world of the Wake.
Eugene Jolas realized this when he explained that Ulysses already
possessed the 'disintegration of words' through the disjointed
language of the interior monologues the Wake extends.14 Joyce's
last novel is replete with phrases, allusions and direct references
to Ulysses, 'the steady monologuy of the interiors', which is also
'the farced epistol to the hibruws' (119.32-3; 228.33-4). Demonstra-
ting the intertextual process described by Wiesel is Joyce's modern
reduplication of the Homeric myth in Ulysses and the circular
structure of Finnegans Wake with, in addition to thematic reduplicq-

Introduction: 'Aleph, Alpha'

tion, its opening sentence which begins on the last page.
For Jews and Joyce the text is their home, a place of rest and
recovery from a peripatetic existence. The development of this
concept in Joyce's life will remain a focus of the following chapters
in which I shall argue that it is no coincidence that Joyce's career
and attitude toward text relate to his increasing affinity and
association yvith Jews. This realisation parallels his increasingly
stronger sense of text as containing the multiple semantic and
semiotic possibilities of language and of the letter. That this growth
culminates in a work which concerns itself with letters, as both
individual signs and as a form of communication, confirms his
Jewish, if not Talmudic, obsession with scrupulous readings,
textual tradition, self-contained commentary, and the oral nature
of self-expression. For Joyce and the Jews, each text rightly
understood is a return which completes the exodus of the reader.
Embodying Joyce's textual identity with Judaism is Shem in the
Wake whose name is the Hebrew word for Semite and the eldest
son of Noah. Christians, Muslims and Jews believed Shem to be
the eponymous ancestor of the Hebrews; in fact, many believed
that all mankind descended from Noah's three sons: Shem the
ancestor of the Hebrews, Ham that of black Africans, and Japheth
of the Persians and Greeks.s5 Not surprisingly, Shem exhibits
features of Joyce: he is the artist-writer, and the urbanised man
with defective vision who enjoys drinking while suffering in exile.
Trope and text become sources of meaning expressing the 'Jewish'

My thesis in Joyce and the Jews is that Joyce's Judaism is textual, his
Jewishness cultural. In the understanding of language and its
special status in a text, he emulates Rabbinic scholars and Talmudic
students; in his appreciation and imitation of Jewish social habits
and values, he emulates the behaviour of his many Jewish friends.
The book begins by re-examining Joyce's departure from Ireland
and argues that it is the trope of exodus rather than exile which
expresses his separation from his homeland. Literary as well as
biographical material support this interpretation which begins
with an analysis of why Joyce identified with Jews. Cultural,
historical, and personal reasons are presented. The idea of a
'Joycean Exodus', however, is shown to lead to the creation of his
texts, analogous to the Judaic discovery of language and text during

Joyce and the Jews

the wandering of the Jews. For Joyce and the Jews the word is the
promised land.
The second chapter explores parallels between Joyce's sense of
history and that of the Jews, and considers the impact of Jewish
history on Joyce's art. Joyce's belief in the recurrence of history, in
its alteration of fact and its questionable authority, finds a parallel
with a Jewish sense of time, memory and ritual. What matters in
Jewish history are the perceived continuities rather than the details
of events. For Joyce and the Jews, history is a coherent narrative,
not a series of episodic events. The specific response of Joyce to
race, anti-Semitism and Zionism completes the discussion which
considers how Joyce formulated his ideas on these topics.
Chapter 3 examines Jewish typology and Joyce, beginning with
the figure of Moses. Parallels between Moses and Parnell among
various Irish writers initiates Joyce's use of the lawgiver and
prophet who appears in his work as early as his 1912 essay, 'The
Shade of Parnell'. However, the messianic element of Moses blends
with that of the leader in Joyce's work especially in Ulysses.
Following the analysis of Moses is Joyce's use of the Talmud, the
codification of the Oral Torah and its gloss of notes, legends and
stories, as a typological text. Used as a model text by Joyce,
the Talmud provides an explanation and approach to Joyce's
conception of texts. Joyce's works are Talmudic not only in their
scrupulous attention to detail but in their use of the encyclopedic
form and constant interaction demanded of the reader between
himself and the text. Thematically, both the Talmud and Joyce's
work search for unity in the everyday world, while typographically
physical parallels exist between the Talmud and portions of the
The Rabbinic nature of Joyce's texts, reflecting the meaningful-
ness of each vowel, letter and word, extends Chapter 3 with a
discussion of metonymy as a key Rabbinic and Joycean strategy.
Other characteristics such as the unity between a text and its
commentary, and the co-existence of proliferating meaning further
link Joyce and Rabbinic textuality. In short, the qualities of text
which Joyce shares with Judaic tradition support the claim that his
Judaism is essentially textual, embedded in his attitude toward,
and use of, language. A final section discusses Joyce's use of
Hebrew and establishes four points: the fragmentary syntax of
Hebrew may have contributed to Joyce's stream of consciousness
method; its practice of indeterminate meanings demonstrated for


Introduction: 'Aleph, Alpha'

Joyce the freedom of language; its verb forms revealed how parts
of speech can quickly assume other functions; and it reaffirmed
Joyce's belief that the semantic boundaries of language are limitless.
The identity crisis of Jews generated by the dilemma of assimila-
tion and tradition creating self-hatred, and the Oriental mystique
of the Jewish woman are the substance of Chapter 4. The tensions
in Jewish life, from the need to maintain a Jewish identity yet drive
to acculturate, the pull between a materialistic existence and
spiritual obligation are discussed with reference to how Joyce
understood and portrayed the condition of the modern Jew. His
reading of Ferrero, Weininger, Fishberg and Dujardin is carefully
noted, as well as his sensitivity to the importance of names and
name changes. Joyce's disdain and yet affection for Ireland is
shown to be similar to the motives of Jewish self-hatred.
For most of his life, Joyce was strongly attracted to Jewish
women, from the young Amalia Popper to his daughter-in-law,
Helen Kastor Fleischman. The oriental quality of the Jewess was
particularly alluring to Joyce who emphasised this in his treatment
of Jewish women in his fiction from Miss Delacour in 'Counterparts'
to Molly Bloom. From his reading of Fishberg, Weininger, and
Disraeli, Joyce formulated his conception of the Oriental Jewish
women which influenced not only their representation in his
writing, but his attraction to such women in his life, women who
embodied the dark, mysterious qualities of the Orient. It is no
surprise, then, to learn that the portrait of Nora Joyce commissioned
from Frank Budgen in Zurich should emphasise a voluptuous
woman with the semi-Oriental features often associated with
Jewish women.
The final chapter, 'Joyce's Jewish Cities', combines geography
with ethnic culture, and shows that the urbanism of European
Jewish life is bound up with the experiences of Joyce. Following a
summary of why Jews lived primarily in cities, there is an analysis
of the Jewish life in each city where Joyce resided, and its effect
on his creative development. Orienting each section is a description
of a Jewish landmark or event which may have caught Joyce's
notice: for example, the opening of the impressive Tempio Israeli-
tico in Trieste during his residence, or the campaign to elect the
first Jewish mayor of Rome in 1907. These and other urban
experiences, coupled with Joyce's increasing problems as a refugee,
underscore additional reasons for his identification with Jews.
The Conclusion illustrates that the Jews Joyce associated with


Joyce and the Jews

were, like himself, the victims of history, language, and society.
He and they were frequently caught between their marginality and
desire to be at the centre of European culture. In his passage from
a day book (Ulysses) to a night book (Finnegans Wake), Joyce actually
mirrors the condition of the twentieth-century Jew whose daylight,
assimilation and equality, quickly became a nightmare or Kris-
tallnaclit ('Night of Broken Glass'). The darkness that overshadowed
European Jewry from 1933 on was not unlike the night world of
battle and confrontation Joyce created in the Wake. The opaqueness
spread by the darkness Jews experienced may have textual expres-
sion in the 'terrible terrible lot' (381.23) that exists throughout so
much of the Wake. Joyce's last work may be his most Judaic, not
only textually, but morally because for Jews and others, the Wake
confronts 'the darkness which is the after-thought of thy nomatter'
(258.32.3). But out of darkness Joyce draws memory and the free
play of the unconscious providing 'Night Lessons' (In.ii) for. every
reader. Our obligation isto understand them, for in Joyce's reading
of the catastrophes of the modem age, we may learn not only their
comprehension but prevention.



The Joycean Exodus

'He thought that he thought that he was a jew whereas he
knew that he knew that he knew that he was not.'-Ulysses

The enigmatic statement of the narrator concerning Leopold Bloom
which begins this study also suggests its end. The reason is that it
represents the extremes and confusions surrounding the identity
with, and misunderstandings of, Joyce and his relation with Jews.
The complex syntax of Bloom's thought embeds an essential
divorce from his identity as a Jew at the same time as it reveals an
ineluctable anxiety over his Jewishness. The language and thought
simultaneously affirm and deny the paradox of what others in
Dublin, and Bloom himself, cannot overlook that despite his
Protestant past and Catholic present, he is forever a Jew.
In its context, the passage also suggests the confusions surround-
ing Joyce's identity with and presentation of Jews. Throughout his
life, Joyce constantly sought the companionship, support and
knowledge of Jews through friendships that continued despite
geographic relocations. But illustrating the misunderstandings
which sometimes resulted from these associations, and from his
elevation of a Jew to the status of a modem Odysseus, was the
refusal of Switzerland in September 1940 to grant Joyce and his
family an entry visa on the grounds that he was Jewish. The
historical, social and moral reasons for such an action, linked to
the nature of Joyce's identification with Jews throughout his life,
initiates the subject of this book.
Joyce's refusal of an entry visa did not last long, although he
never quite overcame his surprise at being labelled a Jew. 'C'est le
bouquet, vraiment' he wrote in frustration to Gu~stav Zumsteg (Lett.
111:492). Letters written to Pauline Fernandez and her son Emile
in the fall of 1940, and recently made available, detail Joyce's
astonishment. However, on 19 October 1940 the Eidgenossiche
Fremdenpolizei (Federal Aliens' Police) resubmitted Joyce's appli-
cation to the Canton of Zurich with additional documentation from


Joyce and the Jews

Lyon where Joyce made his original request. In Switzerland,
meanwhile, Jacques Mercanton, distinguished Swiss critic, made
a deposition that Joyce was not a Jew, while the Mayor of Zurich,
the Rector of the university, and representatives of the Swiss
Society of Authors attested to Joyce's international stature. The
Swiss authorities relented, although they created a new barrier: a
financial guarantee of 500 000 francs, later reduced to between 300-
400000 francs (Lett. 1:424). Ironically, two Jews provided most of
the money: a Jewish businessman and former Zurich student of
Joyce's, Edmund Brauchbar, then living in New York, and Siegfried
Giedion, distinguished architecture critic from Zurich who was
soon to go to the States.
Further confusions delayed the exit of the Joyces from Saint
Gerand-le-Puy in Vichy, France, to first Geneva and then Zurich.
But on the evening of 17 December 1940, Joyce with his wife Nora,
their son Giorgio, and Joyce's grandson Stephen, finally arrived at
the Zurich Hauptbahnhof where they were met by Carola Giedion-
Welcker, her husband, and Paul Ruggiero. Lucia, the Joyces'
daughter, then institutionalized in France, had to remain behind.
The complications of the journey and the confusion over his Jewish
identity were alleviated only when he arrived in the city he first
saw in 1904, and where he would live the remaining twenty-seven
days of his life.1 But his association with Jews, in fact as well as
fiction, remains a profound cornerstone of Joyce's artistic and
personal life.

One begins with a fundamental and perplexing question: what
accounts for Joyce's identity with Jews? The answer is complex
and multi-levelled involving psychological, political, social and
familial causes. Joyce believed that the destinies of the Irish and
Jews were similar, that the ambiguous position of the Jew in Europe
was much like his own, that the family life of Jews was greatly to
be admired. He also shared with them their love of learning and
respect for the book since their earliest days, Jews have been
identified as 'the people of the Book', the Torah while, conversely,
the persecution of Jews often begins with the turning of their
books. From Roman times to the present this has occurred. In 1242
in Paris, for example, twenty-four cartloads of the Talmud were
burned; in 1288 ten rabbis were burned along with their libraries
of manuscripts; in the 1930s and later the burning of Jewish books


The Joycean Exodus

became common Nazi practice. A section of the Tractate 'Abodah
Zarah 17a-18b from the Babylonian Talmud records the Roman
practice of burning the Jew with his books. Rabbi Hanina ben
Teradion of Caesarea, found studying the Torah by Roman officials,
is immediately arrested, wrapped in the 'Scroll of the Law' and set

His daughter exclaimed, 'Father that I should see you in this
state!' He replied, 'If it were I alone being burnt it would have
been a thing hard to bear; but now that I am burning together
with the Scroll of the Law, He who will have regard for the
plight of the Torah will also have regard for my plight.' His
disciples called out, 'Rabbi, what seest thou?' He answered
them, 'The parchments aie being burnt but the letters are soaring
on high.'

A modem theologian describes such burnings in the Middle Ages
in this manner:

Sometimes the pyres are kindled for the culprits for having put
their eyes and soul on the nefarious book; at other times the
very book is wounded and burned, as [if it was] a living creature,
as a sorcerer accused of evil doing.

Frequently, the books themselves were ceremoniously dressed in
the garb of infamy before they were destroyed.2
The response to Joyce's books was often similar: his works were
frequently subject to censorship, suppression and, on one occasion,
the guillotine. In 1899, for example, 'The Day of the Rabblement'
was rejected by the adviser, not editor, of St. Stephen's magazine
and had to be published at Joyce's own expense; numerous
publishers rejected Dubliners because of its supposed indecencies
with the 1912 edition, printed for George Roberts, shredded by an
irate printer who objected to its language; part of the Portrait
manuscript was burned; Ulysses was banned in the States and
England; Finnegans Wake found little general acceptance.3
But for Joyce there were additional Jewish/Irish parallels: both,
he felt, were impulsive, associative in their thinking, and given to
fantasy. But post-Enlightenment Jews also dedicated themselves
to faith in reason, love of humanity, belief in progress and a
willingness to be modern at the expense of tradition, qualities


Joyce and the Jews

Joyce valued and Bloom exhibits. Foremost for Joyce, however,
Jews were wanderers, forced by betrayal and persecution into a
seemingly unending exodus such as Joyce himself experienced.
Appropriately, Stephen possesses 'a lust for wandering in his feet
that burned to set out for the ends of the earth. On! On! his heart
seemed to cry' (P 170), while Bloom's earliest recollection of his
father is the latter's narration 'of migrations and settlements in and
between Dublin, London, Florence, Milan, Vienna, Budapest,
Szombathely .' (17.1907-8). In 'Calypso' Bloom himself under-
takes a minor exodus, first to the pork butcher's and then home,
parodying the Return. This action, however, prepares him for a
longer exodus of purposeful wanderings: the Westland Row Post
Office, Glasnevin Cemetery, the offices of the Freeman's Journal,
the National Library, Sandymount Strand, the Maternity Hospital,
Bella Cohen's, the cabman's shelter and, finally, home. Both Jews
and Joyce led exodic lives, but both made their isolation a source
of closer family and social ties, at the same time that they codified
their artistic drives and creativity. It was in exile that the Jews
organised their laws into the Talmud; it was during thirty-seven
years of 'wandering' about Europe that Joyce wrote his novels.
The cosmopolitan character and urban nature of the modern
Jew, enforced by expulsion and alienation in Europe, intensified
Joyce's interest in Jewish life and customs. The perceived connec-
tions between Judaism and Hellenism, confirmed for Joyce in such
studies as Victor Berard's Les Pheniciens et L'Odyssee (1902), extended
his identity with them which linguistic and political parallels
supported (re U 15.2097-8). But the overriding historical link
between Joyce and the Jews is the exodus, a situation experienced
individually by Joyce and universally by Jews and a stage in
Joyce's recognition of text as the supreme element of permanency
in an impermanent world.
Although Joyce's exodus lacked the theophany at Sinai, it none
the less created Joyce's texts, generated by the endless delay and
postponement of the Return. In the Wilderness, the Desert, Joyce
and the Jews learned the power of language and the book. 'The
Desert', as Hebrew thought has stressed, is 'the absolute condition
of the Book', an essential element for discovering the value of
writing (Faur 5). In the negation that is the Desert, only language
is possible which becomes registered in the form of a text. To write
is to live in a state of estrangement and difference but the
uncovering of language is itself a return: 'the word is the promised


The Joycean Exodus

land where exile establishes a dwelling' writes Maurice Blanchot.4
Exodus taught Joyce the sacredness of the book, of its self-
enclosed, bounded quality plus the infinite self-reflexiveness of
language. He realized, as did the Jews in the Wilderness and after,
that a text became its own subject and representation. Joyce and
the Jews furthermore discovered that their home could only be a
text, while the language of the exodus could only be that of writing.
Jacques Derrida, commenting on Edmond Jabes, explains: 'writing
is the moment of the desert'; 'the nomadic Jew is struck with
infinity and the letter writing simultaneously designs and
discovers an invisible labyrinth in the desert, a city in the sand.'5
This discovery, this writing, consecrates existences for Joyce, sustai-
ning him in his exodus while renewing his goals.
I stress exodus over exile for several reasons. The first is that
Joyce's decision to leave Ireland was not enforced. From Pola in
February 1905, Joyce wrote his brother that 'I have come to accept
my present situation as a voluntary exile is it not so?' (Lett. 11:83:4)
The rhetorical question raises suspicion about his exile as the
foundation of his European sojourn. Indeed, during his early years
out of Ireland, Joyce often doubted the validity of his exile. Six
months after his statement to Stanislaus, Joyce expressed further
disillusionment with his situation:

The very degrading and unsatisfactory nature of my exile angers
me and I do not see why I should continue to drag it out with a
view to returning 'some day' with money in my pocket and
convincing the men of letters that, after all, I was a person of
(Lett. nI:96)

Among Joyce's friends, only C. P. Curran understood Joyce's
departure as an exodus rather than exile. In his evaluation of
Joyce's career, Curran saw Europe as Joyce's 'locus refugii' rather
than 'locus exsilium': 'for Joyce in 1904 there was no outlet but
flight', Curran explains in James Joyce Remembered (CU 70, 73). Joyce,
he emphasises, was not driven away from Ireland. When he met
Joyce and Nora in Paris in 1904 on their flight from Ireland to Pola,
Curran reports that 'there was certainly no resentful casting of his
shoe over Edom' and then, to convey Joyce's attitude concerning
his departure, Curran cites a passage from 'The Dead' describing
Gabriel's feeling that he and Greta had escaped 'from home and


Joyce and the Jezps

friends and run away together with wild and radiant hearts to a
new adventure' (CU 73-4; D 215). Even on Joyce's return trips to
Ireland, Curran 'heard nothing of the language of the embittered
exile' (CU 82). Why Joyce never permanently returned to Ireland
Curran explains as the question of pride: until the Irish provided
public recognition of Joyce's accomplishments, he would maintain
his distance. Ironically prefacing Joyce's 1904 departure was the
title of the winning oratorio of the prestigious Feis Ceoil music
prize in 1904, won by Signor Palmieri of the Irish Academy of
Music (who twice interviewed Joyce for possible entrance and gave
him several singing lessons): The Exodus (CU 44).
Critics have over-stated the exilic nature of Joyce's life, seizing
his early phrase, 'voluntary exile', as the core of his entire European
experience in an effort to promote the Romantic notion of the artist
isolated by his superior sensitivity and exiled by his refusal to
conform to existing artistic and moral standards. Ireland was a
cultural 'network of repression' that expressed itself through
censorship (Herr 49); Joyce reacted by undertaking his 'hegira'
(Lett. 1:194). But analyses emphasising only Joyce's exile neglect
Joyce's frequent expressions of return and the actual visits he made
to Ireland. Not only did they include his 1902 and 1903 returns,
following two brief sojourns to study in Paris, but the two he made
in 1909 to visit his father and sign a contract for the publication of
Dubliners, and a 1912 visit to Galway and Dublin. Helen Cixous'
biographical study, The Exile ofJames Joyce (English tr. 1972) epitomi-
ses the exilic interpretation of his life, while Michael Seidel's Exile
and the Narrative Imagination (1986) illustrates the critical application
of exile as the central element in his writing (also see JJ 109). But
exodus as a fact and trope more accurately embodies the Joycean
The distinction between exile and exodus requires clarification.
Exile implies dislocation and rupture, a sending away, a retreat or
banishment (the Middle English meaning of the term), with no
goal or purpose to pursue. Expelled, the exile thinks of his
displacement as only temporary, and constantly recalls his earlier
home. None the less, exile is debilitating and stressful as home-
lessness dominates the separation of the figure from his origin.
However, exile can on occasion provide imaginative stimulation,
although on the whole it is a negative experience of longing. By
contrast, exodus brings emancipation. It is an act of freedom and
has a purpose, often of self-fulfilment, as well as an exhilarating


The Joycean Exodus

quality.6 The origin of exile and exodus is the same, the prefix ex
meaning 'out of'; the roots, however, are different: exilium, the
suffix of exile, derives from banishment; hodos, the suffix of exodus,
means 'way'. Enforced estrangement from a past one seeks defines
the exilic condition; enhancement derived from a new destiny
describes the elative but also difficult condition of exodus.
The second book of the Torah (the first five books of the Old
Testament) is, of course, called the Book of Exodus and narrates
the departure of the Jews from the bondage of Egypt. Led by
Moses, who has returned to Egypt to rescue them, the Israelites
cross the Red Sea, and after wandering forty years in the wilderness,
arrive at Sinai where Moses establishes the covenant between God
and his people. The Exodus ends with the building of the ark and
sanctuary following the initial rejection of the Ten Commandments.
The Passover Seder yearly commemorates the departure of the
Jews from Egypt and their ensuing redemption at Sinai which
establishes their identity as a people and nation.
Interpretatively,ixodus has been variously understood as a
programme for revolution and an act of liberation possessing both
political and psychological power (Walzer passim)j For Joyce, his
going forth freed him to create and to revolutionize the nature of
the novel. Departing Ireland released Joyce from aesthetic, political,
and familial oppression, and provided him with artistic deliverance
although he personally, like Moses, never reached the promised
land, a theme Stephen develops in 'A Pisgah Sight of Palestine' in
Ulysses (7.1057). Joyce may have found early confirmation of this
concept in a volume of Wagner's letters he had in Trieste in which
the musician wrote 'none of us will reach the promised land we
shall die in the wilderness. Intellect is, as someone has said, a sort
of disease; it is incurable.'7 In A Portrait Cranly expresses the
goal of departure from Ireland when he repeats Stephen's declar-
ation of liberty: 'To discover the mode of life or of art whereby
your spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom' (P 246). Or
as Stephen writes in his diary for 26 April, 'I go to encounter for
the millionth time the reality of experience .' (P 252-3).
Exodus is a trope for Joyce's life expressing his setting forth to
achieve artistic freedom, and a topoi for his work. His exodus
redeems his artistic life which would have stagnated in Ireland.
And in Europe, his exodus elicits precisely the internal qualities
generated by the Book of Exodus for the Jews: memory and
expectation, recollection and anticipation. Exodus, with its empha-


Joyce and the Jews

sis on a paradigm of restoration, dominates the theological and
historical imagination of the Jews and of Joyce.
A feature of the exodus motif is that in its history events occur
only once, and gain their significance from a system of multiple
interconnections, not only from a hierarchy of mythical correspon-
dences. In his work, Joyce achieves both. Ulysses and the Wake rely
on myth, and a system of intertextual connections employing
repetition and simultaneity, basis features of Exodus narrative.
Exodus furthermore presents Egypt as a 'school' as well as the
more traditional 'house xof bondage'. So, too, is Ireland a 'school'
for Joyce. The indirect route of the Jews in the wilderness they
did not march directly from Egypt to Canaan anticipates Joycean
geography expressed by Bloom: the 'longest way round is the
shortest way home' (13.1110-11). Maimonides in his Guide of the
Perplexed explained this indirect form of travel as the impossibility
of a sudden transition from one opposite to another. Liberation,
culturally and politically, cannot be achieved instantly. Joyce, one
recalls, never gave up his British passport even when offered one
from neutral Ireland late in the 1930s. He also never renounced or
hid his identity as an Irishman.
0yce's inability to neglect his Irish identity parallels the central
paradox of Exodus: the simultaneous capacity and incapacity to
forget Egypt or bondage The ewsseek freedom e i to
escape it; vearlythey recoffTe while vromisin as
Bloom remembers' ......._l n For Joyce, this
tak-s Torm of his denial and acceptance of Ireland, foresaking
the country but writing about it exclusively; or, as he stated in the
Wake, becoming 'an Irish emigrant the wrong way out' (190.36).
Thomas Kettle, an acquaintance of Joyce's from University College
and a Clongowean, summarised the contrast at the centre of
Exodus when he wrote of Ireland that 'your native land. will
give you the two most exquisite pleasures of your life, that of
leaving her and that of coming back.'8
The commitment of Joyce to writing is a secular covenant with
art which he constantly renews. Most significantly, in Europe Joyce
is free to make this commitment; in Ireland he would have been
unable to pursue it. And as Exodus teaches, reaffirmation of
one's covenant becomes a moral act sustaining one's ethical life.
Adherence to his goals reaffirms Joyce's behaviour as a moral
agent, which means 'not to act rightly but to be capable of
acting rightly' (Walzer 91). In addition, his aesthetic sternness, his


The Joycean Exodus

'scrupulous meanness' (Lett. 11:134), reasserts a Hebraic attitude
which is the literary equivalent of the commandments delivered at
Sinai. Exodus for Joyce is not so much a trope operating in his art
as it is a foundation for understanding his commitment to literature.
For Joyce, going forth means the liberation of his language and
form with his promised land artistic freedom and aesthetic integrity.
His seriousness concerning his art and indifference to events is not
so much neglect as it is absorption by the covenant he established
when he departed the oppressive land of Ireland. Exile inadequa-
tely explains the actions of Joyce; exodus more properly establishes
a better understanding of his action because it generated the
Jo cean concept of text and its priority.
'ce's exodus aaouthin Dublin, shunted from
neig bourhood to neibourhoo is dling
trso tatus. At Universit oee, his stud of
foreign languages and repudia ti fIsh National itKiereI
his separaS6n rio is ee^rs and almost foretold is going
Immersing msein e study o oreigna`utorsbse
example, rather than Lever), Joyce substituted an internationalism
for the parochialism of Irish letters; his refusal to sign the 1899
petition protesting the anti-Catholic anti-Irish heresy of Yeats' The
Countess Cathleen demonstrated his commitment to a European
cosmopolitanism rather than the provincialism of the Irish Revival.
'The Day of the Rabblement' (1901) extended his criticism of the
narrowness of the Irish theatre; his defence of James Clarence
Mangan, victimised by nationalism, marked his commitment to a
view of art and politics which transcended Irish borders. This, of
course, alienated him from his home, country and equals, but with
Kettle he shared the belief that 'in order to become deeply Irish,
she [Ireland] must become European' (Kettle xii).
Joyce had earlier adopted the view stated by Kettle in 1910 which
had in fact been the subject of a debate entitled 'Cosmopolitanism -
The Legitimate Goal of Political Evolution' between Queen's Uni-
versity, Belfast, and University College Dublin on 14 May 1906. In
Chapter 20 of Stephen Hero, the Northern Irishman Hughes attacks
Stephen Dedalus over this very position when he accuses him of
being 'a renegade from the Nationalist ranks' who 'professed
cosmopolitism' (SH 103). Joyce's position is that 'a nation which
never advanced so far as a miracle-play affords no literary model
to the artist, and he must look abroad.' (CW 70). Joyce's 1902
journey to Paris to study medicine initiated his physical exodus,


Joyce and the Jews

r0 become permanent in October 1904 when he and Nora Barnacle
began their nomadic existence whi saw them live in Austro-
Hungary, Italy, France and Switzerl2 4
/oyce's separation from Ireland was not only physical. Literarily,
p9ythologicall. d linguistically, he identified with Europe and
its dispossessed Hj ciqon to speak Triestine Italian in the
1born whetti athome was in Franc Italy or Switzerlan is
abili s seak 'Zurcher Deutsch', his understanding of Parisian
s enc plhu 2LImSfatin reeanunr
smatterinn of br ared him for an unprecengn 1terary
edu-cation surpassing any other Irish contemporary. In his study
ano uJoTTo7e'Tafgu s yce found a schooling that
alternately removed him from the limitations of English at the
same time as it enriched the language. But like his counterpart,
the polyglot Jew, Joyce's linguistic facility alienated him from his
past and occasionally his present, leading him to seek out those
in possession of similar linguistic sophistication and historical
Other elements that contributed to Joyce's unique situation
include his unorthodox union with Nora (he did not marry her
until 4 July 1931), the perception that he wrote only obscene books
(Ulysses was not published in the States until 1934 and in England
until 1936), the bewildering use of language in Finnegans Wake, the
disruptions of family life by mental illness, the constant lack of
money, his unclear political status (in Zurich during the First World
War he was once thought to be a spy), and his cultivated air of
indifference. All of these elements intensified his identity with
those similarly marked as outsiders or marginal.
Characteristic of JLyce's exodus and that of the Jews was the
possibility of a return In a 1905 letter to Stanislaus, Joyce proposed
to save 20 in IrelAnd and rent a small cottage 'outside of Dublin
in the suburbs' with his brother (Lett. n:97). This wish is similar to
that of Bloom's for a simple 'thatched bungalowshaped 2 storey
dwellinghouse of southerly aspect' (17.1504-5). But although
Joyce's nature prevented a permanent return, kept away by the
need for artistic, moral and spiritual independence, he nogethe
less constantly returned to Ireland in his text
nete arp lo eir e VBeaeieeL andie
TsTliihu- uoyce remaine a wanderer, like Odysseus and is
IMem parallel, Bloom, 'selfcompelled, to the extreme limit of his


The Joycean Exodus

cometary orbit', although 'somewhere imperceptibly he would
hear and somehow reluctantly, suncompelled, obey the summons
of recall' (17.2013-14; 2016-18). In his writing, Joyce would 'return
an estranged avenger, a wreaker of justice on malefactors, a dark
crusader, a sleeper awakened' (17.2020-22) in short the author
of a series of works that powerfully indict, celebrate and enlarge
Ireland. The paradigm of exodus with its attendant corollary of
physical and metaphysical return motivated Joyce creatively and
spiritually. And in his Jewish friends, he found like-minded
individuals who did not languish in their wanderings.
exodus linked to exile isindi enous to the Jewish condition,
origmina ngin eve ote un am.
6orn in exie in Haran,!ctat is todaythe Turkish-Sr

immigrant who received God's promise of land for his descendants.
ut'as the conditions in Canaan deteriorated, he left or t and'
a rtersrise e situation: 'the
Ti-st act by which Abraham becomes the founding father of a na
is separation'. The spirit that guides him 'throughout his encounters
with foreign peoples was the spirit of keeping himself rigor-
ously antithetical to everything.'9 Jacob, the grandson of Abraham,
also died in exile, having followed his sons to Egypt. Significantly,
both founding patriarchs created a nation and people in exile,
while Moses, charged with leading the people out of Egypt and
back to the promised land, was also born in exile. The forty years
of wandering in the desert highlights an important goal of exodus,
however: self identity. Only in the wilderness aft kix o -
were f t cet th: .aw. Qe
wilderness and not Eretz Yisrael was the location of the covenant
ancT Te e ommandments emphasizes e isolation
anii-marginali of the ews at the same time tt underscores
ecia, c o tsenuai.netaesertoo estroysuania renews,
becoming a and of punty and preparation for re-entry into the
Promised Land which Moses can only view from Pisgah.
Expulsion is a continual theme of Jewish life in the Torah and a
fact in the modem world. Before entering Canaan the Jews are
warned about future exiles (re Numbers and Deuteronomy), while
certain festivals such as Sukkot, Passover or Shavuot emerged to
ensure remembrance of the Jewish experience of exile. Galut (exile)
and return are constant poles in biblical Judaism from the origins
of the religion to the destruction of the Second Temple by


Joyce and the Jews

Nebuchadnezzar in 586BC. 'Renaissance history .eiteated. the
Exodus .Ws tlindranpce 1182, En la.
XTT2), Provence 1306 Spain (492). Modern history has more
recentrepea this progress with te tragic exodus of Jews from
Russia, Germany, Poland, France and Hungary.
Emerging as a principle from this pattern of exodus is the
precedence of the people over the land, a quality that links the
Irish and the Jews. Possession of the Promised Land is always
conditional, but there are no conditions on the survival of the
people as people, remaining a nation without a country. This
preservation of a Jewish identity, much like that of an Irish identity,
goes beyond physical boundaries and often finds its clearest
expression through language. !Iebrew a ic with the dis-
tinctive accents and idioms of each lan nt.

ave i in istic ori A footnote to such identifications
as e proposal n y ames Harrington, a gentleman-in-
waiting to Charles I, that Ireland become the 'National Home for
the Jews'. Civil freedom, renewal of Jewish agricultural skills, and
the abilities of Jews as merchants convinced Harrington of the
Appropriateness of his proposal. The idea met with little success,
however, although it did demonstrate the constant links being
made between the Irish and the Jews (JI 11).
Ironically, the inability to lose one's identity or past, both
imprisons and frees the individual as the 'Circe' episode of Ulysses
demonstrates in its fantasy recreation of the pasts of Bloom and
Stephen. Yet survival for the Jews seems almost a matter of
renunciation since, until this century, it appeared impossible to
sustain an independent homeland as Ireland, which battled for
Home Rule with England for nearly a hundred years, also realized.
The legend of Rabbi Ben-Zakki, carried out of Jerusalem in a coffin
on the eve of the destruction of the Second Temple is symbolic of
the condition of Jewish life in exile: only through disguise can it
survive in the diaspora, inwardly alive, but outwardly dead.10
The 2000-year exodus of the Jews, from the destruction of the
Second Temple to the birth of Zionism, is irrevocably at the centre
of Judaism. But curiously, like Joyce textually circling about Ireland
from the shores of Europe, the Jews circled around Israel, settling
in every country that surrounded the Mediterranean except Israel.
These wanderings, however, sustained not only a geographic
distance but an imaginative closeness. Exile for them became an


The Joycean Exodus

ethnic as well as religious concept, as Judaism became an ethical
as well as religious idea. Classical Hebrew, however, contains no word
for religion:LJwsvj!^ S_:deopleno
adherents to a religion. And just as persecution was the impetus
tor tineTFa on o ionism (Herzl was in Paris witnessing the
reaction to the Dreyfus affair and not in his native Vienna, nor
Jerusalem when he wrote Der Judenstaat), so, too, it is betrayal but
ultimately acceptance that leads Bloom back to 'number 7 Eccles
Street' (17.71-72) at the end of his exodus.
Until recently, Jews shared a common calendar but not a common
country, just as technically ht fiorganises the man Tiarc"

common sense of lace. We have all experienced the crowded'
evTs a t ought twenty-four hour day; but not very many
have lived in Dublin. Time in the novel provides a constant,
progressive frame. Numerous events occur simultaneously in the
particularised space of the novel, a quality achieved by the
conflation of various narrative techniques. But this focus on time
occurring within a concrete place is another sy
SAicL~ ree since
lives by time, the latter by sace. Experiences in time notlii eto
a single loca e express Jewis ness, while the structure of Jewis r
life itself has become one of time whether they are the holidays
marking the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, or the annual \
mourning of the destruction of the Temple, Tisha b'Ab, or of daily
worship with three periods of prayer marking three stages of
;natural time: Shaharit (dawn), Minhah- (afternoon), and Maariv
Jewishness expressed as time appears in Joyce's central texts.
Bloom displays this awareness when in 'Ithaca' he reviews his day
in terms of ritual Jewish time (17.2044-58). In the notebooks for
the Wake, Joyce listed the Hebrew months and dates, several of
which appear in the text at 13.24-8: Adar, the month of Purim and
the twelfth month in the Hebrew calendar; Nisam, the first month
of the year; Tamuz the fourth month; Marchesvan, the second
month of the Hebrew year; and Sukkot, the harvest festival. The
Talmud, the compilation of written and oral law, (and which
appears spelled backwards at 30.10 in the Wake, appropriately
reversed since Hebrew is read right to left) properly begins with
the question 'From what time may the evening Shema be recited?'


26 Joyce and the Jews

The matter of time not place is primary., a worksheet for
Nestor', Joyce wrote 'nature develops the s piit in place, history
in time'.11 Learning to survive in exile meant learning to survive
without place and the solution was to unite oneself to time, often
through history and in the pjpcess to sanctify it. Reflecting his
own exodus and its solution Joyce pursued and achieved a similar
task in his writing, from rtKe concrete structuring of time in
Ulysses to its conscious deconstruction into eternal timelessness in
Finnegans Wakj.
Wandering meant survival for Joyce and the Jews. Feeling
ostracised from Dublin, Joyce needed an exodus as self-justification,
as the Jews needed it to gain their identity through the hope of
return. As Richard Ellmann has recorded, Joyce returned to Ireland
five times after his departure in 1902, but continued to develop an
antipathy to improved relations with his country. In later life, he
even resented Irish independence because it might alter his
cultivated relationship between himself and his country. The
redemptive need to return was satisfied through his writing about
Ireland and by social union with those who also understood the
value of exodus, the Jews. In Finnegans Wake Joyce makes this
explicit: 'then he caught the europicolas and went into the society
of jewses. With Bro Cahlls and Fran Czeschs and Bruda Pszths
and Brat Slavos' (423.35-424.1).
byce's exodus was a metaphor as well as a fact. He became an
Israelite by his actions rather than beliefs, establishing his covenant
with art, not God, while wandering in a European 'desert' with
other sojourner But early in his career his exodus merged with
the status of a fugee: in the relative obscurity of Pola, Austria,
he and Nora were summarily expelled when the Austrians dis-
covered an espionage ring involving prominent Italians. In reprisal,
all aliens were to leave, and on a March morning in 1905, Joyce and
Nora quickly departed for Trieste. In that city, among its Jews who
signed up for his English classes, Joyce witnessed what he lost
and might possibly regain: a spiritual centre, a foothold in a world
that was under political pressure to change, forsaking its Italian
traditions for Austrian practices. In Ettore Schmitz (Italo Svevo),
Teodoro Mayer, Oscar Schwarz and other Triestine Jews, Joyce
made contact with individuals whose lives were fragmented and
disoriented but who still had a semblance of traditions to live by.
In Trieste Joyce also read in German the Dutch writer Hermann
Heijermans' play Ahasuerus (1893) which described the plight of

The Joycean Exodus

Jews in Russia during the pogrom of 1890 (Lett. 11:85). The
Wandering Jew lends his name to the title but does not appear in
the work which objectifies an exodus and displacement. In
'Cyclops', the Citizen uses the identical epithet for Bloom (12.1667).
This play and the contrasting qualities of Triestine Jews, modest,
compassionate, and charitable, established the paradox of Judaism
that Joyce would confront throughout his life: the unreasonable
persecution of a humane people.
European political and social conditions continued to alter the
exodus of Joyce into something more prescriptive. In 1914 in
Trieste, he again had to leave because of Italy's entry into the First
World War, an action which made the Austrian rulers nervous
over the volatile Italian inhabitants and potentially dangerous
alien Military authorities ordered a partial evacuation and Joyce
swiftly secured a British passport, and with more difficulty, an exit
visa. The American consul, acting for the British, provided a
visa and helped Joyce avoid internment (something his brother
Stanislaus could not escape) providing he signed a pledge of
neutrality. The influence of Triestine friends relaxed the Austrian
reluctance in approving the visa, although Joyce left rapidly,
leaving his books and furniture in the care of his brother. In late
June 1915 the family arrived in Switzerland.
During the First World War, Switzerland became a promised
land for many with Zurich becoming a haven for exiles, emigres and
refugees. At the Caf6 Pfauen, or by the Limmat, the disenfranchised
were everywhere. Lenin, Tzara, Rilke, Zweig all made Zurich
their temporary home. In the city whose municipal colours were
blue and white, matching those of Greece which were reproduced
on the cover of the first edition of Ulysses, and echoing those.of
the Zionist banner, later to be adopted as the colours of Israel,
Joyce found a sympathetic'and creative atmosphere. Furthermore,
it was in Zurich in 1917 thaT Victor Bjrarsinfuel
study Les Phlniciens et L'Odssye (902) whbichconfim .lu
arguieTTor te Smitic oi n of the ces theory that
ae wcou e a mo er ysseus. And in pursuit o i eree
e so new
connections in the f lanr
Isa sonne, a Rabbi, for help. rard's work also showed Joyce
thit7he intersectioof C6rr ia wish thought might exist in
another area, metempsychosis. Drawing on Pythagorimans well as
Jewish ideas, Joyce enlarged the union of Greek and Jew


Joyce and the Jews

In Zurich Joyce could observe unselfconsciously not only those
exiles allowed to enter the country, but various racial types in
order to formulate his theory of correspondence between Jew,
Greek and Irishman. He became friendly with Greeks, Italians,
Poles, Germans and Irishmen through the Club des Etrangers. An
informal group, it would congregate once a week at a Zurich
restaurant and, in the middle of European disorder, debate the
conditions that united the disparate cultures and languages. Otto-
caro Weiss, Paul Phokas and others provided Joyce with an
international audience to listen to his ideas, develop his theories,
and compose his novel. Ellmann suggests that the departure of
many of the artists and writers for their homelands after the war
hastened Joyce's return to Trieste because Zurich became too dull.12
Moving shortly after to France, and remaining there from July
1920 to December 1940, Joyce once again found himself in a country
with a pronounced rather than disguised xenophobia. The status
of Jews remained tenuous in the post-Dreyfusian atmosphere, a
condition summarized by a character in Georges Duhamel's novel
Le Desert de Bievres who declares 'I am Dreyfusard rationally
and anti-semitic by inclination. Everything for Dreyfus, granted,
provided that the Jews don't poison our lives.'13 The threat of exile
for the Jews of France remained constant until it became a horrible
reality, beginning in 1936 with the law demanding that immigrant
refugees prove they were victims of political persecution before
being allowed even temporary residence in France. This was
followed by the March 1938 law announcing that all illegal aliens,
including some 18000 Jews, be given the choice of leaving France
or working on the land, and the May 1938 law barring all immigrants
from entering France unless they could show financial means
sufficient to emigrate again overseas; the law also established
automatic prison sentences for foreigners failing to leave France
on the expiry of their residence permits.14
From Edouard Drumont's bestselling anti-Semitic tract La France
juive (1886) and the founding of the National Anti-Semitic League
(1889) to Marcel Souhandeau's Le Peril juif (1934) and Celine's
propagandistic Bagatelles pour un Massacre (1937) and L'Ecole des
cadavres (1938), Jews never lived Securely in France. This anxiety
surround Joyce. Implicitly, and despite his supposed apolitical
nature,11pyce was aware of the constant threat to the Jews of
Europe, and acted to help them by assisting a variety of refugees
Explicitly, the dangers of European anti-Semitism which France


The Joycean Exodus

embodied found chilling confirmation in the arrest and murder by
the Gestapo of Joyce's secretary and assistant for some twelve
years, Paul Leon.
Joyce's exodus, which continued until his return to Zurich in
late 1940, brought literary fulfilment and recognition. It also found
expression throughout his work. In 'Eveline' the exodus motif
encounters frustration and paralysis, but in A Portrait it begins to
find release. Ulysses provides its fullest statement which the
Wake parodies in the movements of HCE (4.22-4) and pantomine
(222.04-05). In 'Aeolus', Joyce provides a direct reference and
commentary on Exodus through his citation of P over which
ritualises the going forth of the Jews from Egypt. bserving the
typesetter at work reminds Bloom that Hebrew, like the reversed
type, is alsorreac right to-eft. eTetters, the text evoke a tradi1on
o oeraam a

IHescene in Aeols ca s-iS fatat
the assover re12ei iiLk ln
is second lesser dth air nve ectacles inserted
marltigJ t he passage of thanks vin in the ritual prayers for
Pessacn assover)1. Bloom t en con uses e
stof and repeating the ,well-known
prayer in Judaism which 1%, t God:

All that long business about that brought us out of the land of
Egypt and into the house of bondage alleluia. Shema Israel Adonai
Elohenu. No, that's the other.

Reversing the traditional movement of the Jews and interjecting
the most fundamental prayer of Judaism reveals a defensive Bloom
who nevertheless grasps at his Jewishness. However, he also
shows a lapse of the primary Jewish act, remembering. Bloom here
knows the Exodus story and senses its meaning but his bondage
in Ireland has affected his recall of the past. This obstructs his
engagement with the Jewish past which ironically reappears when
he encounters his father in 'Circe' and is ridiculed in the language
of Exodus for being attracted to the 'Fleshhotpots of Egypt'
(15.2365). Such criticism of Judaism, however, as Bloom exhibits
in 'Aeolus', is also a part of the Exodus trope; in his questioning
and doubts, he fulfills the 'murmurings' of the traditional story,


Joyce and the Jews

the phrase for those who criticised and doubted Moses (Walzer 50-
In 'Circe' Bloom furthermore acts out the Exodus story, rescuing
the fallen Stephen and leading him out of the darkness into the
light. This parallels the overall theme of Moses' salvation of
the people of Israel and prepares the reader for the redemption
of Stephen. However, 'Ithaca' ironically reverses this act when
Stephen, parodying Exodus, departs from his possible promised
land, 'number 7 Eccles street' (17.71-2). Rather than remain safely
in his refuge having crossed his Red Sea (see 'Eumaeus' 16.459,
1678-9, and 'Ithaca' with the parting of the waters, 17.1186-
98), Stephen renounces his new home, replacing Exodus with
Ecclesiastes 7: 'All streams run to the sea,/but the sea is not full;/
to the place where the streams flow,/there they flow again.' In
leaving Bloom, Stephen renews the exodus theme.
But in the tradition of Exodus, Bloom is forgiven for his
transgressions and lapses. In 'Ithaca' the narrator asks 'with what
attendant ceremony was the exodus from the house of bondage
to the wilderness of inhabitation effected?' (17.1021-2) In this
wilderness, Stephen intones the 113th Psalm, 'In exitu Israel'
which epitomises the Joycean exodus and traditionally prefigures,
typologically, the Redemption of Man by Christ (17.1030-31). Used
in the Passover Haggadah, the Psalm is also the last of the
Sunday Vespers Psalms. Dante, moreover, cited it to his patron to
demonstrate the four-fold method of interpretation rising from the
literal to the anagogical.1s His comments illustrate the Christian
hermeneutic as well as the Jewish significance of the passage which
emphasises freedom, release and liberty the novel, this going
forth is subject to the parody of the modem parting of the
waters as Bloom and Stephen urinal But Exodus also marks the
termination of servitude and one notes with curious pleasure
Molly's first line in 'Penelope': Bloom has asked her to bring
him breakfast in the morning (18.1-2). For Bloom exodus is a
significant trope of discovery; for Joyce exodus is the act leading
to t goal of artistic integrity and literary redemption.
In the doctrine of metempsychosis, Joyce links exodus with
renewal as in Jewish history it is connected with the return to the
Promised Land. Molly first points to the term with her hairpin in
a parody of the Torah reader with his ornamental silver pointer
used when reading the sacred text (4.334-9). In stressing the
various stages of the soul's wandering, the Kabbalistic doctrine of


The Joycean Exodus

metempsychosis ained tremendous popular ae
be inning g ofa eXodus, ,in of the Jews from S a
in1492. Creation or recreation became the focus o0 teKabbalists
as it does for Bloom and Joyce. In union there is redemption says
a Kabbalist of the fourteenth century, the rationalisation, perhaps,
of Bloom's passive acceptance of Molly's betrayal.16 But for the
Kabbalist, redemption also meant liberation and catastrophe, as
Bloom must live with his knowledge of Molly's betrayal, although
he finds comfort and security in his return to her bed. At the
conclusion of his story, he is comforted, but their reunion is not,
as it had not been for some ten years, consummated. This parallels
the Kabbalists' belief that exile and redemption were collateral acts
mirroring the concept of metempsychosis.
The Wake is no less suffused with references, allusions and
details from Exodus. Pirodic reference to Psalm 113 occurs at
353.17-18 ('untuoning his ctilothone in an exitous erseroyal Deo
Jupto'), while in Book II.4 the Four Evangelists tell the history of
Ireland invoking Noah and then Exodus:

and then there was the drowning of Pharoah and all his
pedestrians and they were all completely drowned into the sea,
the red sea (M87.25-7).

Earlier, there is a comic celebration of the Revelation at Sinai (83.8-
9), while on page 4 allusions to Moses and parallels with HCE
abound; they range from stuttering to the act of redemption (4.21-
5). The purpose of such references is not only to illustrate certain
doublings between Judaic and Christian rituals but to demonstrate
the centrality of Exodus in Joyce's world.17 The narrative of Exodus
may have also inspired Joyce's focus in the Wake on disaster and
salvation, fall and redemption which are repeated motifs in the
biblical narrative.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the exodus of the Jews
ironically led to assimilation. Messianic and national elements of
Judaism were replaced by attachment to the country of their birth
or emigration, most often Germany, Prussia, Austro-Hungary or
Russia. Judaism became linked with European civilisation whether
in Berlin, Vienna or Warsaw. Many accepted baptism which Heine
defended as the 'entrance ticket' to European culture. In the spirit


Joyce and the Jews

of tolerance promoted by the Enlightenment, Judaism became
Vernunftsreligion, a union of reason and religion free from contradic-
tions. Not surprisingly, intermarriage increased as Jews sought
a more secure identity in the established world of European
The drive to assimilate involved a conscious effort by the
nineteenth-century Jew to conform to the standards and values of
his society and renounce what set him apart. Ironically, although
many of Joyce's Jewish friends were fully assimilated, or at least
thought they were, Joyce himself never sought a new identity,
proudly asserting his Irishness. The goal of the assimilating Jew
was to 'Europeanise Judaism', eliminating its archaisms; one of its
major slogans was 'away from Asia'. However, Haskala, the
German-Jewish Enlightenment that led to major reforms in the
religion and to increased assimilation, was the consequence not
the cause of a decline in faith, and contributed to what Isaac
Deutscher has labelled 'the non-Jewish Jew'. -Yet, it was European
hostility to Jews, crystallising into anti-Semitism, which prevented
their complete dissemination; threatened, they banded together
and, as it were, had their rituals forced upon them Exodus, which
led to the identity of the Jewish people and the covenant with God,
had the ambiguous value of protecting them by forcing their union
at the same time as it sustained their separateness.
The emergence of the cosmopolitan, secular Jew resulted in part
from the conjunction of emancipation with the Enlightenment ideal
of Bildung, the effort of self-improvement via education and
growth. Bildung implied self-cultivation and determined patterns of
acculturation for European, especially German Jews. It rapidly
became the new ideal of assimilation because it allowed the ghetto
Jew to transcend his past and eliminate his conspicuousness. But
the Jewish masses still remained a separated, easily identifiable
group incurring in Spinoza's words, 'universal hatred by cutting
themselves off completely from all other peoples'.19
The transformation of Judaism into Jewishness, the consequence
of survival in an increasingly secular world, led to the confusion
of a Jewish inheritance with European history. Never truly accepted
by European society, the Jew remained marginal, representing
liberalism, materialism and modernism; and as an outcast he had
to pay, according to Hannah Arendt, 'with political misery for
social glory and with social insult for political success'. This led to
ambivalent Jewish attitudes and the weakening identity of Joyce's


The Joycean Exodus

Jewish friends which the character of Leopold Bloom reflects.
Borrowing Arendt's terms, Bloom moves from the Jew as parvenu
to the Jew as pariah that is, from the Jew who operates under
the illusion of assimilation, allowed to be like everyone else but
also different, to the Jew who suddenly realises that the Jewish
question is not merely a personal one of assimilation but a public
fact which cannot be avoided (cf. the anti-Semitism and behaviour
of Bloom in 'Hades', 6.251-95, with the open attack on him by the
Citizen in 'Cyclops', 12.1621-1918).20 The song Stephen sings about
'Little Harry Hughes' in 'Ithaca', with its medieval charge of
blood libel against the Jews, reinforces Bloom's inescapable Jewish
identity (17.802-28). ->
Exodus and return, assiMilation and identity underlying these
parameters in Judaism for Joyce was another: its historical con-
sciousness. This element, emerging strongly in the nineteenth
century as Wissenschaft, the academic study of Judaism, succeeded
in translating the ideas and institutions of an oriental religion to
equivalent western categories. But why the nineteenth century for
this development? In short because secular learning then became
available and desirable even by ghettoised Jews. Time, in the form
of growth, change, and development overtook the conception of
history where the existence of Judaism became a function of
becoming and not being.21
Accompanied by free inquiry into all sources, Gentile as well as
Jewish, the Jewish historical consciousness became integrated,
cyclical and dynamic, features exceedingly important to Joyce.
Enlarging the sources for Jewish history also uncovered the
importance of non-Jewish influences, notably the presence of
Greek, Roman, Persian and Islamic patterns on Jewish thought
and expression. This mingling of influences was not new, however,
since the Palestine Talmud contained Greek and Latin terms, and
the more accepted Babylonian Talmud possessed a scattering of
Persian words. The language of both versions of the Talmud was
Aramaic. The study of Jewish history became liberalised as new
concepts alteredthe methodology of Jewish historiography, supple-
menting the traditional focus on exegesis and commentary. Thus,
the German Jewish historian Moritz Steinschneider could document
the central role of Jews in every stage of the complex transmission
of Greek culture to Europe and also fully analyse the impact of
Islam on Jewish writing.22
The focus of Jewish historiography became the reconciliation of


34 Joyce and the Jews

an archaic religion with a new social context since Western culture
had penetrated Jewish history. This reform of the expression and
concept of Jewish history in response to the new pressures of the
West and the events of the post-Renaissance world provides
another parallel with Joyce. Through his own work, Joyce seeks
to combine a past both classical (Hebrew and Greek) and historical
(Irish) with innovative fictional techniques based on classical
sources the Bible, Homer, Renaissance philosophers. Joyce's
conception of history and acceptance of analogues between the
Jews and the Irish will form the substance of the following chapter.
What I have tried to show thus far is that the Joycean exodus
developed an attitude toward language which established the
supremacy of text. From his exodus Joyce learned that in a
dislocated world, only text could balance portability with per-


Joyce, Jews and History

'Remember and recall.'-Finnegans Wake (367.11)
Coincidences between Joyce's life and Jewish history are not the
purpose of this chapter despite the existence of many intersections:
1882, the year of his birth, for example, marked the beginning of
the forced exodus of Jews from Eastern Europe to the West initiated
by the murder of Alexander II in 1881 and the promulgation of the
notorious May Laws in Russia in 1882 under Alexander III. The
year also initiated a decade of Jewish immigration to Ireland which
saw the Jewish population quadruple from 472 to 1779 between
1881 and 1891) The first so-called international Anti-Jewish Cong-
ress held in Dresden also occurred in 1882, as well as the second
attempt to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in Palestine in four
new locations.
Other dates establish equally symbolic links between Joyce and
the Jews: June 1904,hkawnth and year of Llysy ,alsasmaathe
month and yeartIqpor .Herzl died (the day was 3 June)g~1
month and year Jo ce completed Finnegans Wake November 1938-
beame s'eare i ewis memo as rs anact -ovember),
av0T roe-nrgTarss e'""i'en t N sjavaeed ew usin-
s_grougnout Germany and Austria. ronmca
thereceding month Joyce successfully place tw ews in Irelad
for the Brauchbar family whom he had aided for so meTniet
iii:432). But te aim of this chapter is not'te icidence
of conitraries' the phrase is Bruno's but to identify the parallels
between the philosophy and ideals of Jewish history and Joyce.1
A remark of Joyce's in a notesheet to the 'Nestor' episode of
Ulysses draws attention to the union of history and time, similar to
a basic principle .of Jewish historiography: 'Nature develops the
spirit in place, history in time' (SC 87). History, developing the
spirit in time, is fundamental to Judaism and its emphasis on
continuity. But even more basic for Jews is the belief that time is
history, an idea associated with exodus and the very nature ofthe
Jewish historical consciousness. Consequently, a variety of external


Joyce and the Jews

events internally effected the Jewish sense of the past. What this
chapter will analyse are the parallels between Joyce's sense of
history and that of the Jews, originating in the analogical history
of Judaism and Ireland, as well as the impact of Jewish history on
Joyce's art. It will also incorporate those notions of race Joyce
acquired from such texts as Maurice Fishberg's The Jews and Otto
Weininger's Sex and Character, books Joyce read at critical stages in
the creation of Ulysses and whose ideas he did not easily forget.


Joyce's sense of time is his sense of history, much as it is for Jews.
Whether it is Vico, Victor Bdrard, or Henry Wickham Steed, author
of The Hapsburg Monarchy, an anti-Semitic account of the 1902-12
period in the Austro-Hungarian alliance, these historians empha-
sised time as the controlling feature of history through an emphasis
on the distance, but also repetition, of the past.2 Yet time did not
remain an alienating but a umting factor, joining a past with a
present to shape a future. the recursive or cyclical nature 6f
history, as Joyce came to belief, established patterns of recurrence
that ex anded at the same time as it contracted the past into the
present This modified the Irish sense of time which was concerned
with temps as the confluence of the present and the past, but had
little concern with l'heure, the edge of the moment.3 History, as
Joyce states in the Wake alluding to Vico, 'moves in vicous
cicles yet remews the same' (134.16-17); there exist 'circumcentric
megacycles' (310.7). But this sense of recurrence should not
overshadow Joyce's essential sensitivity and awareness of historical
change, something he directly experienced through such events
as the fall of Parnell, the shifting political control of Trieste, or the
invasion of France by the Nazis.
Memory individuates time as history. In what we remember we
sustain the past and our sense of self, paralleling those early
historians who recorded events not because their inherent
importance, but out of a fear of forgetting them.flThis sense of the
past as memory is the core of history, something repeatedly
expressed by Joyce and the Jews. 'Zakhor', 'remember' in Hebrew,
remains an admonishment Joyce and the Jews long obeye
Complemented frequently by its opposite, forgetting, 'zakhqo
establishes an imperative Joyce at an early age did not forget. Both


Joyce, Jews and History

Ulysses and the Wake stand as monuments to Joye'sgrodigious
memory for Dublinisupplemented for accuracy by guides sucdias
TAirm s director. . Tusions of Joyce and history have generally limited them-
selves to three areas: the 'Nestor' episode of Ulysses, Joyce's
involvement with and reading of Vico, and the passages incorpora-
ting Vico in the Wake, that 'ideal eternal history traversed in time
by the histories of all nations'.4 More basic questions need to be
considered, however. What shaped Joyce's sense of history? How
did it find expression in-his creativity. oes it have anysignificant
parallels? Did he attend to contemporary history in any fashion?
How can his novels, especially the Wake, be read historically?
A review of Joyce's education and reading uncovers his early
interest in Irish and ancient history. At Belvedere College in 1894,
Joyce/ was writing about the history of the Roman Republic and
scoring high on his Intermediate Exam. Each year at the college
he covered classical, as well as English and Irish history up to
1837. Texts one cannot legitimately label them histories like
Richmal Magnall's Questions, Peter Parley's Tales About Ancient and
Modern Greece and Charles Lamb's Adventures of Ulysses grounded
Joyce in the classical past, later expanded by works like Victor
Berard's Les Pheniciens et l'Odyssee.s The past as narrative fiction
appealed to Joyce as Stephen notes in Portrait when history becomes
an incentive to action, specifically providing the courage for him
to report his unjust punishment to the rector of Clongowes (P 53;
cf. earlier ref. in P to Napoleon, 47).
The Jesuitical approach to history followed the Ratio Studiorum
with its daily and .weekly repetitions, an encounter with ricorso
long before Joyce heard of Vico. Systematising and schemata
shaped Joyce's unusual memory and concern with accuracy,
chronology and patterning. The daily memory lesson, disciplining
the power of the mind and its retentiveness, was a Jesuitical
practice Bloom displays and Stephen repeats in recalling one of
the versified rules of Latin prosody, for example, in the Portrait (P
179). These memory lessons find full embodiment in the Wake
where the identity of the text becomes the protagonist's and
reader's individual and collective memory.
Joyce's first but now lost written work focused on contemporary
Irish history. Entitled 'Et Tu Healy', the poem attacked the betrayer
of Parnell, Timothy Healy. Joyce's father had the verse printed by
Alleyn and O'Reilly as a small pamphlet but no copies have


Joyce and the Jews

survived. Irish history continued to be a catalyst for Joyce's writing;
from 'Ivy Day in the Committee Room' in Dubliners to the opening
of Portrait, to various passages in Ulysses, and the very texture of
Finnegans Wake, the Irish past and universal unconscious co-exist.
The presence of England in Ireland overshadowed every action.
This 'occupation', however, was invited as Joyce himself pointed

the fact is that the English came to Ireland at the repeated
requests of a native king, without, needless to say, any great
desire on their part, and without the consent of their own king,
but armed with the papal bull of Adrian IV and a papal letter of
(CW 162)

This paradox established an irony that Joyce never forgot and may
have prompted what characterises the nature of Joyce's philosophy
of history: that history is fundamentally not to be trusted since it
is always uncertain, doubtful and distorted. History is unreliable
and easily forgotten; its very reality, the nightmare Stephen is
trying to escape in Ulysses, is the discovery that it is not fixed, nor
immutable. Hence, the realisation, also, that history is an art, open
to creative, imaginative forces and to interpretations rather than
blind acceptance.
An example of the mutability of historical fact experienced by
Joyce relates to Belvedere College in Great Denmark Street
which he attended from April 1893 to June 1898. Father Conmee
in Ulysses meditates on the romantic figure of the first Countess of
Belvedere, Mary Rochfort and the book he might write on Jesuit
houses. Of Mary he thinks.

A listless lady, no more young, walked alone the shore of lough
Ennel, Mary, first countess of Belvedere, listlessly walking in
the evening, not startled when an otter plunged. Who could
know the truth? Not the jealous lord Belvedere and not her
confessor if she had not committed adultery fully, eiaculatio
seminis inter vas natural mulieris, with her husband's brother?
She would half confess if she had not all sinned as women did.
Only God knew and she and he, her husband's brother.


Joyce, Jews and History

But Mary Rochfort had no connection with Belvedere House and
Joyce confirmed his suspicions when in October 1921 he received
an answer from Father Charles Doyle, then at Belvedere College,
and learned that she had been imprisoned by, her husband at his
Rochfort estate in County Westmeath for an affair with his brother,
Arthur Rochfort. The offender, however, was not imprisoned in the
original Belvedere House close by Lough Ennel, but in the older
Gaulstown residence in Westmeath where she remained until her
husband's death in 1774. Between the Little Review version (June
1919) which had 'Ellen' for 'Mary' and 'Lough Owel' for 'Lough
Ennel' and the first edition of Ulysses (February 1922), Joyce's
doubts may have been aroused. For the first edition, Joyce corrected
the inaccuracies made clear by Doyle's reply (Lett. In:49-50), yet
he did not change the fundamental and incorrect association of
Lady Belvedere with Belvedere house partly because the legend
of her ghost haunting the school fitted the pattern of Conmee's
romantic ideas even though he knew it to be wrong. Nor did
Joyce correct her confession to 4 priest, although he knew Mary
Molesworth-Rochfort was a Protestant! Why? Because it suited the
mind of Father Conmee and because Joyce realized that history
was an allusive, often inaccurate record of the past.6
Joyce's historical scepticism can be found as early as Stephen Hero
(1901-6). There, when pursued by 'nimble pleaders' of the Church
to continue and renounce his desire to be an artist, Stephen is told
'it is a mark of the modern spirit to be shy in the presence of all
absolute statements' (SH 205). The jesuitical pursuit of the relativity
of Stephen's pledge to art disguises the deeper belief that historical
categories and events are themselves the opposite of impermeable.
'You are fond', Stephen is told, 'of saying that the Absolute is
dead', a declaration by him of the recognition of time's relativity
and inability to either learn by the past or to be trapped by it (SH
In rejecting absolutes, Stephen rejects historical determinism and
substitutes historical freedom. 'A Church is not a fixture like
Gibralter: no more is an institution'. (SH 233) History, furthermore,
corrupts as Stephen explains to Mr Heffernan in a fragment at the
end of the novel. Anticipating a view of history Wittgenstein
supported ('What is history to me? Mine is the first and only
world'), Stephen has the following exchange:


Joyce and the Jews

I care nothing for these principles of nationalism, said
Stephen. I have enough bodily liberty.
But do you feel no duty to your mother-country, no love for
her? asked Mr Heffernan.
Honestly, I don't.
You live then like an animal without reason! exclaimed Mr
My own mind, answered Stephen, is more interesting to me
than the entire country.
Perhaps you think your mind is more important than Ireland!
I do, certainly.

A sentence of Bacon's cited by Stephen summarises the initial view
of history supported by Joyce: 'The care of posterity is greatest
in them that have no posterity: and for the rest he said that he
any passionate exertions in the present>>.'7
Ulysses represents two views of history, the demonic and the
divine. History is to blame for what was and is happening, and it
is part of a great movement forward in a Hegelian procession to
the divinity. For Stephen, history is acceptable only in Blakean
terms as experience 'fabled by the daughters of memory', becoming
a record of what literally never happened (2.7). Stephen tries to
live in the present freed from the past, that 'nightmare' from which
he is trying to awake (2.377). Incertitude again dominates, an idea
Joyce expressed in November 1913 in a preliminary note to
Exiles: 'All Celtic philosophers seemed to have inclined towards
incertitude or scepticism Hume, Berkeley, Balfour, Bergson'.
Hume, as Richard Ellmann has partially shown, was the source of
Joyce's sceptical philosophy in opposition to Aristotle and his
idealistic views. Hume, who believed that time was tentative and
history a construct, shaped Joyce's notion of the past and its
Joyce, in revoking historical authority, also rejects its categories
and divisions. He sees them as artificial divisions between people
and place, as Bloom realises in his self-defence against the Citizen,
arguing that a nation can be a nation with its people 'living in
different places' linked by identity and time (12.1428). Declaring
his nation Ireland, Bloom, in a possible parody of Stephen's
identification list in Portrait (15-16), goes on, in response to the
celebration of the 'ancient Irish facecloth' with its 'rich incrustations


Joyce, Jews and History

of time', to transcend time and place and the past by declaring
'And I belong to a race too that is hated and persecuted. Also
now. This very moment. This very instant' (12.1438-9; 1463-4;
1467-8). But the result of this universal identity for Bloom is the
opposite of his goal: 'Is he a jew or a gentile or a holy Roman or a
swaddler or what the hell is he? says Ned. Or who is he?' (12.1631-
2). Everyman is also no man.
The price of universalising himself is for Bloom the antagonising
of his audience. 'One of those mixed middlings he is' they conclude
before Bloom asserts his ultimate identity with the outsider: 'Your
God was a jew. Christ was a jew like me' (12.1658-9; 1808-09).
This infuriates the Citizen who abinitio rejects any such union and
pursues the departing Bloom who courageously shouts 'Three
cheers for Israel!' (12.1791). This conflation of time and identity is
again the collapsing of history upon itself. Bloom, in upholding
love against 'force, hatred, history, all that' attempts to confront
the limitations of history and substitute for it something ethical, ,/
spiritual and eternal (12.1481). Time as history becomes kairos. an
extended moment filled with meaning_ instead of chronos, passing
time thatdiavides and separates.9 It is kairos which parallels the
Jewish sense of time.
in the great synopsis of Jewish law, the Torah, there is no before
or after; all parts interpenetrate and coexist simultaneously, an
idea to have later significance for Joyce in the Wake. Interspersing
passages from the prophets in the ritualised reading of the Torah,
the haftaroth, established a panchronistic reading that broke down
fixed chronology in the work. The calendar of Torah readings
became fluid, subsuming events into cyclical patterns of repetiti o
is ory became rearranged, w ie-srica memory became ritual-
is~ea i tr creates the cosan me iifo.i
paralleling the shift in the burden nf opwmry fr&.m Gd-to mn
w hi aC d matlth am Furthermore, Jews
haf two sets of records, each with its own ideological slant in
Hellenistic times; in medieval times there were three major systems
of chronology. What matters in Jewish history are not the details
but the perceived continuities.10
As the Rabbis restructured history to fit the ritual drama of the
Jewish calendar of events, destruction of the two Temples became
punishment for crimes committed in mythic times. Catastrophes
became clustered so that one fast day would have multiple
meanings as history became telescoped and mythologised. But


Joyce and the Jews

replacing the Jewish lack of recording events came the habit of
encoding them in ritual, time (calendars), festivals or prayers.
The memory of Judaism is collect the people of Israel; that of
Christianity is individual, Jesus. In rejecting Catholicism and
choosing a udaic-C ti a universal
1 re lendin e
e ed and developed into amore Judaic sense ofthe past and
% 'ft in the Wake is kairos, employing Vico as an imaginative
schema for its cyclical nature. 'Cyclewheeling history' (186.2)
dominates the novel as we move continuously in and out of micro
and macro elements of the historical process. The 'seim anew'
(215.23) comes forward to structure the ricorso movement of the
text. But again, history is questioned and incertitude triumphs.
Only by 'putting truth and untruth together a shot may be made
at what this hybrid actually was like to look at' Joyce explains
(169.8-10). Since every document of the past is itself a 'polyhedron
of scripture' (107.8), a palimpsest, history itself consists of the
overlaying of all events until their distinctiveness evaporates.
History is a double, triple, even quadruple exposure where

the traits featuring the chiaroscuro coalesce, their contrarieties
eliminated .. our social something bowls along bumpily,
experiencing a jolting series of prearranged disappointments,
down the long lane of (it's as semper as oxhousehumper!)
generations, more generations and still more generations.

This passage emphasises the identity between historical dualities,
between Hellenic and Hebraic, Celtic and Jew, and emulates the
unities Berard and, earlier, Charles Vallancey emphasize." For
Joyce, narrative space is the conflation of historical time.
Vico, perhaps overstressed as the source of Joyce's historical
sense in the Wake, had only an imaginative appeal for Joyce, as he
explained to the Danish writer Tom Kristensen (JJ 693). Joyce,
who distrusted theories and absolutes, believed essentially in the
impoverishment of history, and that individuals did not learn from
the past. History did not repeat itself because it was itself a unique
process and one that could not duplicate circumstances. In the
words of Karl Popper, there is 'no valid reason to expect of any
apparent repetition of a historical development that it will continue


Joyce, Jews and History

to run parallel to its prototype'. We may discover historical
confirmation of cycles but this is merely the metaphysical theory
seemingly confirmed by facts 'facts which ... turn out to be
selected in the light of the very theories they are supposed to
test'.12 Joyce, with his sceptical, analytical and probing mind,
sensed this, and, hence, developed a distant, critical view of history
and its influence. For one committed to revising the tradition of
the past by forging a new one, it meant rejection of the past to be
free to create.
But if history was a disjunctive set of events which lacked meaning,
how did the past make any sense to Joyce? Through myth and the
effort to see in individual action and emotion archetypal situations.
Hence, although 'in this scherzarade of one's thousand one
nightinesses that sword of certainty which would identifide the
body never falls', myth will transcend the individuality of fact to
create meaning (51.4-6). Myth, the true history of the race, becomes
Homeric rather than Heroditan, relying on narrative and fiction
rather than chronology and fact; history for Joyce becomes 'storiella
as she is syung' (267.7-8; storia, Italian for little history). For
Stephen, history became a nightmare because it only amounted to
'five lines of text and ten pages of notes about the folk and the
fishgods of Dundrum' (1.365-6). But in mythologising history,
most notably in 'Cyclops', 'Circe' and the Wake, Joyce solves the
dilemma of the emptiness of fact and the poverty of historical
meaning.13 By turning fantasy, fiction and repetition in short,
myth into history, Joyce not only revitalises history but gives
new energy to myth. Recognising that specific events cannot define
man, Joyce applies myth to energise the past with meaning.
Finnegans Wake epitomises the new historicism of Joyce. With its
epic struggle to avoid the singular identities of characters or events
(consider, for example, the ambiguous actions of HCE in Phoenix
Park), it appears as a response to a statement made by Orwell the
year before the Wake appeared: 'what is peculiar to our age is the
abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written'.14
Joyce shows that it can, but through modernist ways that substitute
archetypes for facts, myths for events. And in myth there is drama,
as Joyce emphasised as early as 1900: 'Every race has made its own
myths and it is in these that early drama often finds an outlet'
(CW, 43).,
But for all his concern with myth, Joyce did not overlook history
in Ulysses or the Wake, although it was often incorrect or erroneous.


Joyce and the Jews

Ulysses is replete with details from the past, whether it is the War
of the Roses or the history of Ireland. Finnegans Wake is the history
of the human race but contemptuous of chronology; it treats the
past as a natural, organic flow, 'babbling, bubbling, chattering to
herself' (195.1-2). History cannot be regulated, boxed-in, or divi-
ded; its past is fluid, its present chaotic. And although he has been
accused of being apolitical, Joyce repeatedly displays concern over
contemporary events, whether it be the development of Fascism
in France or a world war, conflicts in Ethiopia, Spain or China, or
dislike of Mussolini, Hitler or English politics. Joyce opposed the
pro-Fascist views of Pound and Wyndham Lewis, and the Wake
contains a series of political and historical allusions to Lenin,
Marx, the Soviets, Hitler, the Nazis, and the Gestapo (351.27-8;
83.10, 15; 414.14; 375.17-18; 332.7-8). References to contemporary
Irish politics abound, as well as many references to outrages done
to the Irish from 1170, the landing of Strongbow (288.15) to the
Black and Tans (176.24-5). Joyce had little sympathy with the
notion of progress having witnessed so little of it in Ireland, and
was suspicious of it without a moral foundation or proof of its
organic nature. But with its faults of categorisation, partition and
distortion, history makes it possible to understand the present and
glimpse the future 'since ancient was our living is in possible to
be' 614.9-10).
oes Jewishhi o ah contain an
beanina 0eforoce'j answer
Sand one can id fiy ~AS^it DLp iagls beginningg with
the initial and essential ingredient of the Jewish past, memory.
-epeatd-ews ever to foret for
in that act, te unsystematic but significant ast lives. But curiously,
t ^e histonan was no e nimary record er ote Jewish past; it,
was te aaim schar
""otf'the past a set of myths as powerful as Homer's. 'Historical
p as one ti 'a annas en__" w e
w T icsrael, like other peoples made sur cal fact at
is of their location and their significance'. Poetry, he explains,
allowed them to express their history in such a way 'as to make
the past become absolutely present'.15
Ironically, "the most historically oriented people, the Jews, lacked
great historians; their concern with historyfiid not emphasise an
interest in recording historical events.16 gut the Jews assigned
meaning to history by interpreting decisive significance to historical


Joyce, Jews and History

moments, although what was remembered was often not recorded.
For ews, ritual and recital M eai entional
histt eir record of often questionable fact. In union
with Joyce, Jewish history is un nerso a e it f.,v
c H oe oto hist not a series
episodic segments. History, to the extent it became universalised,
becameinmyth. And in the emphasis of rabbinic literature (the
commentary and analyses of the Talmud and Midrash), the
emphases on periodic creation and destruction established a cyclical
structure to history amplified by Vico. Even in biblical times, Jewish
history focused on restoration, not blind repetition. God's ultimate
curse for the Jews was to turn history back on itself, a mythic
repetition of return to bondage in Egypt (Deuteronomy 68). But
although God punished, he did not abandon the Jews.
The play with time Joyce elaborated was similarly anticipated by
those rabbinic commentators who poorly recorded Jewish events
but not the essence of Jewish history. They also freely rearranged
chronology, as when they placed Israel in the first of the prophetic
books, although he appeared last in the scrolls (Roskies 21, 26).
This is analogous to Joyce's need at times to shift dates for his
works, as when he explained to Carl Bleibtreu in November, 1918,
that he would have to 'antedate' Bleibtreu's theory of Shakespeare
because he wanted to use it in the 'Scylla and Charybdis' episode
which is set on 16 June 1904. Bleibtreu published his controversial
book on Shakespeare in 1907.17 For Jews and Joyce, reflections on
exile, redemption, and renewal exceeded the interest in accurately
recording ongoing historical experience. The insufficiency of histo-
rical categorisation for Jews found later expression in Joyce's
distrust of the adequacy history to guide man. Both the Jews
and Joyce realized that collective ory is transmitted more
actively through ritual t an chronicle. And Judaism performed a
unique task, making the history o eits pe
scpture, e ora isory became elevated, literally raised
aboveFstuar acc unts- -
She impetus to write history for a Jew parallels the need to write
for Joyce. Anticipating the argument of Chapter 3, Joyce's Judaism
is textual because 'like the writer, the Jew [and Joyce] expects his
identity from the book'. Exodus and dislocation have created this
condition; hence, it is no surprise that the revival of Jewish historical
writing in the sixteenth century occurred because of the expulsion
of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the impact of the Renaissance.


Joyce and the Jews

'Judaism and writing,' the philosopher Edmond Jabes has explai-
ned, 'seem to participate in one and the same openness to a word
whose totality we are called to live'. The Jewish memoir, long the
only record of Jewish life, stands as the model, for an author was
expected to dwell on the collective or moral significance of the
past, not its personal dimension. The reason is clear: outside the
tradition of the Kabbalah, the pursuit of the Jewish soul for
perfection was alien. And typically, the catalyst for writing a Jewish
memoir occurred at the end of an era, usually the result of a
Joyce's habits of thought, based on habits of history, were
Jewish. In a pattern akin to the Jewish response to catastrophe,
he expands what is a constant in Jewish history: the sense of
recapitulation (Roskies 16). This is both personal (autobiographical)
and public (historical). The use of cycles, patterns and rhythm in
Ulysses, the recursive nature of the Wake with its circular pattern
and structure are only two broad illustrations of this. Hugh Kenner
succinctly states the pattern in what may be a general principle for
Joyce when he writes that 'in Ulysses there is nothing that isn't
used twice'. Kenner continues, explaining that this process is the
'constant resurrection of even the most trivial things for some
sudden use. It's based on the metaphor that people have two eyes.
Taken individually, Joyce's two major works are demonstrations
of a Jewish paradigm. The first response to catastrophe in Jewish
history is to locate it on a continuum, to place the event in the
stream of events that have shaped the present. So Jews began to
collect accounts of other persecutions following their expulsion
from Spain to increase the longing for the end of the Diaspora and
grasp what had occurred to them. Consequently, Consolation for
the Tribulations of Israel by Samuel Usque appeared in 1553, The Vale
of Tears by Joseph ha-Kohen in 1558. Hence, Bloom, in 'Cyclops',
defends himself by linking the exploitation of the Jews to a tradition
of abuse and persecution;
Robbed, says he. Plundered. Insulted. Persecuted. Taking
what belongs to us by right ....
Are you talking about the new Jerusalem? says the citizen.
I'm talking about injustice, says Bloom.
The past becomes the present as history becomes seamless.


Joyce, Jews and History

The second response by Jews to catastrophe, emulated by the
Wake, is 'to mimic the sacrilege', putting a sacred text to irreverent
use, disrupting the received order of the text as the enemy in
Jewish history disrupted the order of the world (Roskies 20). A
survivor survives by 'inventing Scripture' and radically reinterpre-
ting texts. Only in this way can he, author as well as survivor, cut
off from a collective memory and community with its common fund
of past experience, convert the profane into the sacred through
imitation of the perceived sacrilege around him.
Joyce on his exodus and in his 'wilderness' performs exactly
these tasks. Witnessing the disillusionment with literature and the
decline of culture, Joyce responds by turning these items on their
head and creating a labyrinthine world that contains an eternal,
timeless history with universal heroes. The language, structure,
themes, and seeming incomprehensibility of the Wake, appear to
confirm this. 'By making the text seem for a while crazy and
corrupt, the individual sufferer expands its meaning, allowing
subsequent sufferers to enter the breach' (Roskies 20). 'Sufferer'
may not be exact for those invited or attracted to the world of the
Wake, but the process suggests something of its condition and
Joyce's behaviour with text. The Wake, in mimicking the value of
fiction and texts it borrows from 'allows the individual to keep
faith even as the promise is subverted' (Roskies 20). The sacred
parody became 'the first step toward the human writing of history'
which may be an accurate description of the method of the Wake
(Roskies 22).
The historicism of the Jews became an amalgam of a cyclical and
linear pattern with restoration not repetition its proper direction.
The mythic made events part of a continuum and cycle of recapitula-
tion in the drama of threat, fulfilment, exodus, and return; the
linear-historical emphasised the covenantal agreement with God,
for despite His punishments, He never withdrew His promise of'
Return. The result, for the Jews and Joyce, is the remythologising
of history where history enacts the miraculous through its reawak-
ening of the past. The accomplishment of Ulysses and the Wake is
the literal and figural reconfiguration of the past.


How did Joyce respond to events in Jewish history? Three related


areas structure a reply: anti-Semitism, Zionism and the Second
World War. A larger issue, however, precedes them race, and
Joyce's option of it in connection with Jews. This subject
naturally involves the first three topics, but it stands out as the
dominant concern of one who believed that the Irish race was one
of complete mixture: 'It is the same told of all. Many. Miscegen-
ations on miscegenations' (18.19-20), the result of waves of invaders
in Ireland. Bloom's complex origins, composed of a Hungarian
Orthodox Jewish father and half-Jewish Irish mother, or Finn's
confusing past, dramatise this realisation. Emulating this theory
in the Wake is the father, HCE, who cannot keep his seed pure or
control it. Paternity, as Stephen says in Ulysses, is a legal fiction;
no one has clear control, over his role. Mixed races naturally
attracted Joyce, races such as the Greek, or, of course, the Jews
with their obscure Asiatic origins.
Similarly, multiple migrations haunt Joyce's fiction which com-
bines the experiences of Phoenicians, Semites, Greeks, Slavs,
Norseman, and Celts in the melange that is Irish history. But the
connection with Jews and their sense of a continual past is strong.
'Jews & Irish remember past' Joyce wrote in a notesheet entry for
'Cyclops' (UN 82). But as another entry-diagram illustrates from
the notesheets, the semitic Odysseus is a wetern wandering Jew,
although Zionism means a return to the East:

Jew > West
East < Zion
(UN 128)

In Finnegans Wake the wanderer becomes Shem, the 'semi-
semitic serendipitist' who understands the migrational axis of
'Europasianised Afferyank!' (191.2-3; 191.4), the movement from
East to West. Supposedly, the Irish language was, itself, oriental
in origin and similar to that of the Phoenicians, as Joyce stated in
his 1907 lecture 'Ireland, Island of Saints and Sages'. The Phoenic-
ians, in fact, 'established in Ireland a civilization that had decayed
and almost disappeared before the first Greek historian took his
pen in hand' (CW 156).
This Semitic and Irish link finds repeated expression in Ulysses -
from the banner written in Gaelic and Hebrew stretched across a
Dublin street, to Bloom's speech in Hebrew as newly annointed
leader mimicking Moses (15.1399-1400, 1622-5). In 'Ithaca', Bloom


Joyce and the Jews

Joyce, Jews and History

explains to Stephen the historical similarities between Gaelic and
Hebrew emphasising their antiquity, 'both having been taught on
the plain of Shinar 242 years after the deluge in the seminary
instituted by Fenius Farsaigh, descendant of Noah, progenitor of
Israel, and ascendant of Heber and Heremon, progenitors of
Ireland' (17.748-51). Establishing historical and philological connec-
tions between the Irish and Phoenicians, Semites and Greeks -
borrowed from the work of the eighteenth-century Irish scholar
Charles Vallancey confirmed Joyce's sense of the impurity of
race, a concept clarified and expanded in one of the first racial
studies of Jews and a book owned by Joyce in Trieste: Maurice
Fishberg's The Jews: A Study of Race and Environment (1911).21
A 578 page volume, The Jews appeared in 'The Contemporary
Science Series' edited by Havelock Ellis. The author was a profes-
sional American anthropologist, a member of the American Ethnol-
ogical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, and a Fellow of the New York Academy of Science. The
book is correspondingly filled with statistics, charts, photographs
and tables emphasising the research, objectivity and analysis of
his subject. In the 'Preface', Fishberg claims his work to be the
first 'anthropological, demographic, pathological and sociological
investigation of the Jews', espousing no partisan views.22 Conse-
quently, he presents a broadly based comparative study of such
topics as the demographic and pathological characteristics of Jews,
plus details on intermarriage, political status, social disabilities
and assimilation. While continually providing historical contexts,
Fishberg none the less concentrates on modem Jewry and the
migrational changes from 1850 to 1911. In the opening paragraph
he announces 'it may safely be declared that the whole world is
interested in the subject of the Jews as a race, and the getting into
closer touch with the ethnic relation of Jews'; Joyce no doubt
shared this curiosity and found in Fishberg a formative text for his
knowledge of Jewish social, political and economic life.
What more specifically links Fishberg's study with Joyce is race,
a dominant ideology at the turn of the century and an unavoidable
subject when discussing Jews. The frequent charge of anti-semites -
that the Jews are a race that live apart and are a threat to all societies
by their exclusive, self-seeking nature found pseudo-scientific
support in the repeated investigation of works like J. Deniker's The
Races of Man (London, 1894), J. Jacobs' 'On the Racial Characteristics
of Modern Jews', Journal of Anthropological Institute (xv: 23-62), or


Joyce and the Jews

William Z. Ripley, The Races of Europe (1894). Jewish pride in their
supposed racial traits actually confirmed their alien status among
peers by language, custom, dress and religious practice. As the
Zionists emphasise, according to Fishberg, the Jews are 'aliens in
Europe, encamped for the time being and waiting for an oppor-
tunity to retreat to their natural home in Asia' (vi).
But what becomes clear in Fishberg's study and confirms Joyce's
own belief in the mixed race of the Irish is that 'the alleged purity
of the Jewish race, visionary and not substantiated by scientific
observation' (474). The Jews, whose isolation in ghettoes and other
concentrated sections of cities had been enforced by the State,
possess no more 'ethnic unity' than Christians, Mohammedans,
or others (515). Most importantly, perhaps, Fishberg shows that
Jews did not wilfully keep themselves aloof from society nor
prevented 'intermixture': they 'have hardly ever refrained from
intermarriage to the extent with which they are crey4ed' (19).
Even physically they do not retain their identity (19). The Jews
corroborates the general principle Fishberg announces in the
opening sentence of Chapter 2: 'It has been accepted by anthropolo-
gists that there are no pure races among civilized peoples and
nations' (21). The supposed racial unity of Jews results from a
confusion of social uniformity caused by enforced living conditions
'with homogeneity of the physical or anthropological type' (504).
In short, 'there are just as many differences among the Jews as
there are among the various races and peoples of the [European]
continent' (p. 228).
For Joyce, this analysis meant several things. First, he was free
to create his Jew from a blend of sources and origins, combining
Semitic with Gaelic, Jew with Greek. He could also satirise the
stereotypical view of the Jew as outlined by Fishberg and expressed
by a variety of figures in the novel such as the Citizen, Haines, or
Deasy. He, furthermore, could find scientific evidence for the attri-
butes that did characterise Jews which Bloom exhibits. Fishberg
summarises these in a sentence that praises the adaptability of the
Jew and underscores several of Bloom's most noticeable features:
'In addition to this, his proverbial sobriety, the purity of his
domestic life and freedom from vicious habits generally, contribute
largely to his facility of adaptation to a new climate' (p. 19). Irish
critics of the Jews (see 'The Jew in Ireland', Lyceum, vi:70 (1893),
215-18) negatively emphasised precisely these qualities, while
Joyce in Ulysses has numerous characters complain of Bloom's


Joyce, Jews and History

sobriety, lack of pleasurable habits, and facile adaptability. Only the
irony of his supposedly happy domestic life contradicts Fishberg's
assessment. In addition, Joyce's later comments on the status of
the Jew in his family and his ability to adjust to new situations
confirm his reading of Fishberg.
The Jews also provided Joyce with visual proof of the variability
of Jewish types. Drawings and photographs of Jews and their
various dress from Algiers, Tunisia, Poland, Germany, Russia,
Palestine, India, China, and the United States again contradicted
any fixed notion of what a Jew should look like. Visual comparisons
between Ashkenazi, Sephardic and North American Jews also
appear. Sections on mixed marriages, assimilation, and Zionism
no doubt provided further interest for Joyce. But most profoundly,
Fishberg refuted any simplistic linking of race and Judaism: 'we
have found no differences between Jews and Christians whichTcan
justly be attributed to racial causes' he concludes (549).
An earlier text, read by Joyce in 1906, also contributed to his
view of race and Jews: Guglielmo Ferrero's L'Europa giovane (Young
Europe), 1$97. This account of a journalist's travels to England,
Russia, Germany and Scandinavia became a kind of sociological
guide for Joyce who admired the work of the young writer (Lett.
u:133, 159). Ferrero, read by Joyce in his socialist phase, argued
that economic progress marked social progress and that countries
with developing industries represented the new, superior cultures.
Distinctions between Latin and Germanic races appeared with
the former becoming governed by those who do not represent
productive labour. Furthermore, they sought sensual pleasures,
while the Germanic countries brutalised love and politics. Ferrero
also devoted a chapter to Jews, under the heading 'Anti-Semitisitt'.
Characterising the Jew as a proselytiser with a Messianic consci-
ence creating an 'extraordinary race' that possessed the secret of
man's salvation, the Jew clearly became a menace. In contrast to
Fishberg, these ideas extended Jewish stereotypes Joyce would
employ to counter the modern Jew he created as an amalgam of
traditions and whose adaptability became the very source of his
dislike. But Ferrero also.emphasised the exiled nature of Jews with
which Joyce was continually identifying. Ferrero's anti-Semitism,
socialism and political activities, however, were unacceptable to
Joyce, as he recorded in a letter to his brother: 'The most arrogant
statement made by Israel so far, he [Ferrero] says, not excluding
the gospel of Jesus is Marx's proclamation that socialism is the


Joyce and the Jews

fulfilment of a natural law'. The next sentence reads 'In considering
Jews he slips in Jesus between Lassalle and Lombroso: the latter
too (Ferrero's father-in-law) is a Jew' (Lett. 11:190). The passage
conflates many pages in Ferrero's work which fed Joyce's interest
in Jews. But it would have been difficult for Joyce to resist the tone
and substance of the following:

Every great Hebraic man is persuaded, even if he does not
say so, of having a mandate to inaugurate a new era for the
world; to make, in the abyss of darkness in which humanity
lives, the opening through which will enter for the first time ...
the light of truth.23

Ironically, when Joyce finally met Ferrero at a PEN meeting in
Paris in 1937, the apolitical Joyce listened to the exiled Ferrero rail
against the burning of his books by the Fascists.
An additional text supplanted Ferrero and Fishberg in shaping
Joyce's ideas of race and Jews: Wagner's 'Judaism in Music'. Joyce
owned the 1910 English translation of the work, as well as Volume
1 of Wagner's Prose Works, translated by W. A. Ellis which contained
'Art and Revolution', 'The Att-Work of the Future' and 'Art and
Climate'. In addition to owning the scores of The Flying Dutchman,
Gotterdammerung, Das Rheingold, Die Meistersinger, and Siegfried,
Joyce had May Byron's A Day with Richard Wagner (1911), Wolfgang
Golther's Richard Wagner as Poet (1905) and John Runciman's
introductory study, Wagner (1905). Although he supposedly objec-
ted to the adulation of Wagner, as he told Oscar Schwarz in Zurich
in 1914 (JJ 382), Joyce gathered at least fifteen volumes by or about
Wagner, plus five librettos. Die Meistersinger was his favourite
opera, and he borrowed its quintet for the 'Sirens' episode of
Ulysses; in 'Circe' he parodied Sigmund's removal and celebration
of the sword Nothung when Stephen raises his ashplant aloft only
to knock over a lampshade.
The Wake contains various terms taken frdm Wagner, such as
'guttergloomering' (565.02) and nothingg' (295.18), while refer-
ences to Tristram, in particular, appear throughout the text, begin-
ning with the second sentence. Ironically, the first time Joyce heard
his favourite tenor John Sullivan sing it was in Tannhauser, an
opera he disliked (JJ 619). tdouard Dujardin, an important and
early influence on Joyce's writing, not only through the interior
monologue of Les Lauriers son coupe's but through his writing on


Joyce, Jews and History

religions, was for a time editor of La Revue Wagnerienne and a strong
promoter of Wagner in France. Throughout Joyce's writing, but
notably in the use of the Wagnerian leitmotif in Ulysses and the
Wake, Joyce drew onr Wagnerian images and themes, although his
opinion of Wagner followed what has been called 'the Parisian
curve: enthusiastic, favourable, respectful before the War; estran-
ged, belittling, contemptuous after'.24
Joyce's views on Wagner's controversial 1850 pamphlet Judaism
in Music are not knoWn. The 1910 translation he owned was one
of several versions of the work in English. Wagner wrote the essay,
he explained to Liszt in 1851, because 'I felt a long-repressed hatred
for this Jewry' and 'really wanted only to frighten them in this
manner; that they will remain the masters is as certain as that not
our princes, but the bankers and the Philistines are nowadays our
masters'. In the text itself, Wagner declares that 'really, the Jews
are far too clever not to know the ins and outs of their situation'.25
Written in Zurich while in exile, Judaism in Music is a diatribe
against Jews and their supposed power. Directed at Meyerbeer
and his control of the Parisiah Grand Opera, the work appeared
under a pseudonymn, although for its reprinting in 1868 Wagner
used his own name. Echoing the usurous and plutocratic qualities
of Jews which Marx outlined in his 1844 essay 'On the Jewish
Question', Wagner focuses on 'people's instinctive dislike of
Jewishness' (24). The 'involuntary repulsion' aroused by the 'per-
sonality and customs of the Jews' stems in part from universal
Jewish domination (25). Jewish money ensures power; conse-
quently, all must be free of the Jew, especially free from his control
of modem art.
Race clearly enters into Wagner's hatred since the appearance,
speech, customs and songs of the Jews make them unacceptable.
The supposed heartlessness of Jews has also alienated others from
any sympathy for the 'tragic history of [their] race' (30). The
physiology of the Jews has additionally sustained the peculiarities
of Jewish speech and song, argues Wagner (31), while Jews also
lack true passion for artistic creativity (35). But they have taken
over public taste in music, despite their inability to communicate
artistically; Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer are presence but they
took undue control and must be fought. For Wagner, Judaism is a
cultural and social menace, no less than 'the deforming conscience
of our modem civilisation' (39).
Joyce would not have sympathised with such racism, but several


Joyce and the Jews

other ideas about Jews might have met with his approval. First,
the status of the Jew as an outsider, divided from society. This
Wagner sees as the perpetual condition even of the cultured Jew
who has been baptised: 'Having arrogantly dissociated himself
from his former co-religionists, he has found it impossible to attach
himself to the society to which he has ascended' (p. 30). The Jew
is alienated from a society he does not fully understand and 'to
whose history and evolution he is indifferent' (p. 30). Bloom
embodies this condition in his own divorce from an Orthodox
Jewish past and unwillingness to accept completely his Irish
present. Correspondingly, his Irish peers never overcome his status
as an outsider. This may be analogous to the paradoxical state of
the exiled writer: cut-off from his adopted land, never at home in
his new country, he none the less can only write about the
homeland he left and in the process discover a new lan-
guage. Bloom and the Wagnerian Jew are cut-off from their
society, equally 'torn from all connection with [their] own race'
(p. 30).
To reconcile this dilemma, the alienated Jew is, in Wagner's
words, 'thrown back to his own racial roots' (p. 32). Joyce displays
this in 'Circe' when Bloom re-encounters his past in the visions of
his father and Orthodox Jewish customs. Wagner indirectly pro-
vides Joyce with a schema of return for the Jew who can find
neither comfort in the past nor absorption in the present. Only by
encountering that past psychologically can he master it as Bloom
does in 'Ithaca', proudly demonstrating to Stephen what little he
remembers of the Hebrew language through Hebrew words and
songs (17.724-73). Finally, in Wagner's tract, Joyce would have
discovered a hint of what Fishberg analyses with completeness
and detail: assimilation and intermarriage. At the end of his essay,
Wagner, alluding to Ludwig Borne and his repudiation of Judaism,
celebrates the Jew who joins the community by denying his
uniqueness, renouncing his special identity, joining the mass of
society. Disraeli expressed this view two years later: a Jew converted
to Christianity professes 'the whole Jewish religion and believes
in Calvary as well as Sinai'.26 Redemption can, if at all, occur only
by 'self-denial, for then we are one and invisible' Wagner asserts
(39). The next and concluding sentence of the essay contains
a reference to the 'redemption of Ahasuerus', the archetypal
Wandering Jew also the title of a play Joyce read in Trieste in
1905 by Hermann Heijermans and an allusion used by the Citizen


Joyce, Jews and History

in 'Cyclops'.275aditionally, Ahasuerus was the name of the Jew
who treated Christ rudely on the day of the Crucifixion but was
also a King of the Persians and husband of Esther in the Book of
Esther. Archeyally, he became associated with the image of the
Wandering Jew.
Wagner's ldaism in Music, like Wagner's life, displays numerous
contradictions over Jewish stereotypes: as a group, Jews, are vile
and unaccommodating; as individuals they are acceptable. Two of
Wagner's closest friends were Jews, Samuel Lehrs and Karl Taussig,
a pianist, while the son of a Rabbi, Hermann Levi conducted the
first performance of Parsifal at Bayreuth. In 'Know Thyself', an
1887 essay, Wagner predicted the possible co-existence with Jews,
and in the proceeding year he refused to sign Bernhard Forster's
'Mass Petition Against the Rampancy of Judaism'. In the late
1870s, Wagner also approved Mendelssohn's work, especially 'The
Hebrides' Overture. But in learning of a fire at the Vienna Court
Theatre in 1881, Wagner remarked that all the Jews should be
burned to death during Lessing's play on tolerance, Nathan der
Weise, for apparently causing the blaze. None the less, three of
Wagner's pallbearers were Jewish. The extremes of his views
confirm the extent and ambiguities of racist attitudes confronted
by Jews which provided Joyce with another source for his under-
standing and portrait of the Jew in Europe and, by extension, in
Ireland. Whether in the Wandering Jew motif of The Flying Dutch-
man, with the Dutchman often costumed to look like the image of
a wandering Jew, or in the caricatured Jew Beckmesser in Der
Meistersinger, Joyce's favourite Wagnerian opera, or in his analysis
of the status of Jews in his racist pamphlet, Wagner contributed to
the image of the Jew created by Joyce.
'All is race; there is no other truth', Disraeli wrote in 1847.28 But
Joyce believed that if the aphorism was correct, the idea of race
was not; race itself was an unstable, impure concept, a fiction
more than a fact. What truly interested Joyce was 'the uncreated
conscience' of race, whether Irish, Jewish, Greek or European. The
psychological dimension of race overpowered the social, historical
or ideological. Race is mythical for Joyce but as such has power
and persuasiveness to mislead, threaten and alter individuals. It
can also distort, especially when it is generalised and simplistically
treated, but it cannot be neglected: 'every race has made its own
myths and it is in these that early drama often finds an outlet'
Joyce wrote in 1900 (CW 43). A reference to Wagner appears in the


Joyce and the Jews

next sentence as the link between race and myth emerges. The
Irish as a race, like the Jews, have been mythologised, and part of
Joyce's goal is to demythologise these groups. His readings in
Fishberg, Ferrero and Wagner corroborate his task in that they
collectively deconstruct the simple, segregated racial views that
European history promoted. To evoke the racial unconscious
became Joyce's objective as it was Wagner's. Substituting history,
cultural and linguistic continuity for historical fixity and separation
permitted this transcendence of racial categorisation; mythic con-
nections harmonised apparently contradictory positions. But if
Joyce developed a reformist view of race, substituting psychological
unity for historical division, he could not overlook nor alter the
presence of anti-Semitism in Ireland as well as Europe.
In what is perhaps his earliest published description of a Jew
written in 1899, Joyce stereotypically presents the figure anti-
Semitically. Describing Michael Munkacsy's 'Ecco Homo' in the
Royal Hibernian Academy, Joyce vividly outlines a 'well clad Jew'
who jostles a man. The Jew is a
rich man, with that horrible cast of countenance, so common
among the sweaters of modem Israel. I mean, the face whose line
runs out over the full forehead to the crest of the nose and then
recedes in a similar curve back to the chin, which, in this instance
is covered with a wispish, tapering beard. The upper lip is raised
out of position, disclosing two long, white teeth, while the whole
lower lip is trapped. This is the creature's snarl of malice. An
arm is stretched forth in derision, the fine, snowy linen falling
back upon the forearm.
(CW 34)
The generalised language emphasising an exaggerated physiog-
nomy and frightening manner ('horrible cast of countenance'), plus
the confusion of appearance with moral behaviour ('snarl of
malice'), and antagonistic tone portray usurious Jew of the Shylock
rather than Mordecai (in Daniel Deronda) type. At seventeen, Joyce
had no impetus to identify with Jews, and appears to have adopted
a conventional Irish-Catholic attitude: Jews were exploitative,
money-seeking foreigners who could never become part of Irish
life and who often betrayed their non-Jewish friends. Interestingly,
the caricatured portrait of Reuben J. Dodd in Ulysses possesses
similar attributes: he is 'blackbearded', stooped, but with an
outstretched hand suggesting payment not derision (6.252-3).


Joyce, Jews and History

The January 1904 essay/fiction entitled 'A Portrait of the Artist'
continues Joyce's disdain for Jews. Written in a copybook of his
sister Mabel's and rejected by Dana, a new Irish periodical, Joyce
described his hero writing his denial of the establishment 'amid a
chorus of peddling Jews' gibberish and Gentile clamour'. This
conventional scene of Jews speaking to one another in Yiddish,
often thought to be a 'secret language' by Gentiles, evokes stereo-
types of Dublin Jewish merchants and markets of 'Little Jerusalem',
the Jewish neighbourhood near the South Circular Road, where
the hero of Stephen Hero walks with Emma.29
Other unflattering references and portraits of Jews appear in a
variety of sources: in, for example, a 1905 letter to Stanislaus, Joyce
vents his frustration arid anger at the failure of the Literary World
to acknowledge receipt of 'Clay':

that journalist that wrote so superiorly about Tolstoy is (thank
the devil) dead and, I hope, damned. By the Lord Christ I must
get rid of some of these Jewish bowels I have in me yet.
(Lett. 11:109)

The letter continues, declaring that he will villify 'the people who
betrayed me [and] send me to hell. After all, there are many ways
of betraying people' (Lett. ii:110). One of the Jews who in fact did
betray Joyce was Samuel Roth, the American publisher who in
1926 began to print pirated and corrupt passages from Ulysses in
Two Worlds Monthly. Earlier, Joyce believed his Italian Jewish friend
Ottocaro Weiss betrayed him, falsely accusing him of being the
cause of Mrs H. McCormick's, the daughter of John D. Rock-
efeller, ending her monthly stipend to him while in Zurich (JJ 467-
9). These incidents, however, are not to suggest that Joyce was
anti-Semitic, but that individual Jews occasionally caused difficulty
through 'betrayal'. That Marthe Fleischmann of Zurich turned out
not to be Jewish was an ironic reversal of betrayal, since Joyce
assumed she was and made elaborate plans to exploit her Jewish-
ness during an early assignation. (JJ 449, 451). But anti-Semitism
surrounded Joyce everywhere.


European anti-Semitism was, of course, not new. In modern


Joyce and the Jews

times it developed in the late nineteenth century, although the
introduction of this term to denote the hatred of the Jews
(replacing the phrase anti-judisch) indicated it had reached a new
stage. The choice of 'Semitism' rather than 'Judaism' emphasised
that the 'theory of race' became the new ideological basis of Jewish
dislike. This idea originated with Comte de Gobineau's Essai sur
l'inegalite des races humaines, 4 vols (1853-5) which explained history
by the laws of nature which supposedly manifested themselves in
the differentiation of racial characteristics. The term 'Semitic' was
introduced in 1787 by a Protestant theologian and orientalist, J. G.
Eichhorn, to distinguish a set of languages formerly grouped
together under the category 'Oriental'. Another philologist, Fried-
rich Max Mfiller, introduced the term 'Aryan' to identify a group
of Indo-European languages.30
In 1881 Eugen Diihring published in Germany The Jewish Question
as a Question of the Racial Damage for the Existence, Morals and Culture
of the Nations, the most systematic effort of racial anti-Semitism
in the century. Preceding it was Wilhelm Marr's inflammatory
pamphlet, The Victory of Judaism over Germanism (1879), the first
anti-Semitic bestseller, going into its twelfth edition by the autumn
of its first year of publication. Diihring's work Was more
comprehensive, however, and left an important impression on
Theodor Herzl, among others. By the fifth edition of 1901, DUihring
had expanded the book to include the threat to German folk
traditions, morals and culture by Jews. Race for Dfihring was the
most important element in the life of a nation, surpassing religion,
ethics or culture. Jews, the lowest of all races, were parasites who
corrupted society and could be dealt with in part by establishing a
special territory, a Jewish state. Other anti-Semitic best-sellers of
the 1890s were Edouard Drumont's La France Juive (1886) which
sold 100 000 volumes in its first year, and the Anglo-German
Houston Stewart Chamberlain's The Fundaments of the Nineteenth
Century (1898). These arguments and publications emerged out of
a racism now upgraded by the sanctity of natural science.
Racial anti-Semitism precluded the salvation of the Jews by
conversion or education since heredity and race were eternal laws;
hence, the Jew was no longer 'Judaeus pervesus', a heretical or
dogmatic concept, but a physical entity whose attributes were
quantifiable and established precise and continuous racial
characteristics. The Jewish stereotype now had a scientific basis
according to racial anti-Semitism and could easily be caricatured


Joyce, Jews and History

by representing his common features, and appearance. Pseudo-
science then concluded that since the Jew was accursed from the
beginning of time, he had little chance of changing; his assimilation
would, furthermore, poison a nation. Therefore, he would
have to be removed, either by geographic isolation or annihila-
Notwithstanding Mr Deasy's explanation at the end of 'Nestor',
anti-Semitism was not endemic to Ireland. Jews, consistently small
in number, long resided in the country with varying freedoms and
rights. Fishberg in The Jews cites an estimate at the turn of the
century that listed 6100 Jews in Ireland, although Europe contained
approximately three quarters of all the Jews in the world at that
time, roughly 9 million.32 In Ireland, the freedoms and status of
the Jews partly resulted from an implicit identity with the persecu-
tion the Irish had undergone and the possible historical link
between the two people. The Irish, some believed, may have been
a lost Semitic tribe. The Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, consecrating
the Adelaide Road Synagogue in 1892, declared 'Alas, poor Erin!
Thou art thyself \an eternal badge of sufferance', although he
emphasised that 'the blood of my people rests not on thy head'.33
In the nineteenth century, anti-Semitic outbursts in Ireland were
few, the most significant being the anti-Jewish demonstrations of
1838 in Cork, defused by the intervention of Parnell. The potential
for widespread anti-Semitism, however, remained. In 1884 in
Limerick, further anti-Jewish action appeared, partly caused by the
Jews not closing their shops on St Patrick's Day. The Cork Examiner,
however, defended Ireland which 'has long been honourably
distinguished by its tolerance towards the Jews'. These people, it
reasoned, 'will never be convinced of the truth or beauty of
Christianity by battering in their doors with stones' (JI 211).
In 1892, the Recorder, Sir Frederick Falkiner, KC, strongly
admonished Jews in his Dublin court and increasingly made racist
remarks in his sentencing which led to a formal complaint and
then his apology. However, in 1902 he resorted to new slanders:
to a Jew guilty of breaking windows in Dublin, he charged 'You
are a specimen of your race and nation that cause [sic] you to be
hunted out of every country' (JI 163). At the trial of Leopold Bloom
in 'Circe', Sir Frederick, in a mockery of Moses, the lawgiver,
sentences Bloom, telling the court that he will 'rid Dublin of this
odious pest' (15.1167-8).
In January 1904, with a boycott of Jewish merchants of Limerick


Joyce and the Jews

underway, supported by physical attacks on Jews (the result of an
inflammatory sermon by a Father Creagh), anti-Semitism attained
national prominence in Ireland. The founder of the Irish Land
League, Michael Davitt, intervened, although Father Creagh, who
did not withdraw a charge of ritual murder against the Jews, found
a new ally in Arthur Griffith, editor of the United Irishman. On 23
January 1904, Griffith published a virulently anti-Semitic attack on
the Limerick Jews and Davitt, echoing Wagner's belief that the
host country must free itself from the parastic Jews:

We do not object to the Jew seeking an honest livelihood in
Ireland we object to his seeking a dishonest one and howling
out that he is being martyred for his faith when the people object
to him putting his hands in their pockets. Mr Davitt is proud -
so are we that Ireland is the one country in Europe where 'the
Jews were never persecuted.' But that is all the more reason why
Jews should not persecute Ireland.

The passage, with its distinctly Mr Deasy tone, may have caught
Joyce's eye since he read Griffith's paper.
Jews took away jobs from the Irish, a constant complaint made
by anti-Semites, and a point Griffith elaborated in April 1904:

The Jew in Ireland is in every respect an economic evil. He
produces no wealth himself he draws it from others. He
is an unfair competitor. and he remains among us ever and
always an alien.3

The account and interpretation of these events no doubt sensitised
Joyce to Irish anti-Semitism and made him aware of the false
celebration of the supposed religious liberalism of the country. But
Joyce did not need these social and communal displays of anti-
Semitism; he had more personal encounters and experiences.
During his days at University College, in an effort to further his
intellectual development, Joyce read back issues of the Lyceum, a
college publication that appeared between 1887 and 1894. C. P.
Curran, Joyce's friend who makes this claim, outlines the aims of
the journal as Catholic solutions to vexing social and educational
problems. In July 1893 its leader was entitled 'The Jew in Ireland',
and dealt with the problem of whether or not more Jews should
be allowed in. The tone of the six-and-a-half column article is


Joyce, Jews and History

critical, although it begins by reasonably supporting the issue of
'should the Jew be made welcome in Ireland'? Citing Michael
Davitt's recent support of Irish tolerance of the Jews, the Lyceum
agrees that 'the Irish have no conceivable motive of racial hatred
against the Jews'.35 There are, however, economic reasons for
opposing them.
Self-defence, not persecution, is the rationale for preventing
more Jews from entering Ireland since 'our first duty is to ourselves'
and not to the Jews. The author suggests new laws to prevent
unfair competition from Jewish workers, who would be forced by
their poverty to accept low wages, thereby reducing the pay of
Irish workers; the writer does admit, however, that the Jews
who come to Ireland are not by and large labourers. Their
neighbourhood, near the Soutlh Circular Road, he notes, exists
independently of the city with its own language, presumably
Yiddish, and customs. This ghetto, although the word is not used,
reminds the writer of a Jewish quarter in 'some city of Poland or
Southern Russia', although the houses and people are respectable
and well-fed (216-17). The recent election of anti-Semites to the
Reichstag, however, and anti-Semitic campaign of the German
Catholic party as seen iT their periodical Germania are cause for
worry, although the German dislike of the Jew is explained as
originating in his being a 'gombeen man' (217), one who gains
financial control of land through mortgage manipulation while
they are themselves physically unproductive. Anti-Semitism is the
natural result.
The essay then explains that similar actions are beginning to
appear in Ireland as the Jewish petty trader adopts methods parallel
to his German brethren. His acceptance of weekly payments makes
him a regular and rich visitor who penetrates, but does not adopt,
the customs of his new society. Money-lending practices follow
the time-purchase of goods until finally the creditor seizes the
property. Jews, the Lyceum warns, are beginning to buy up the
small farms and properties of the Irish (218). The essay concludes
with a welcome for the Jew if he will become a productive and
equal member of the work force.
The vocabulary, attitudes and complaints that characterise Euro-
pean anti-Semitism are evident here, as well as the fears, objections
and anxieties of established, closely knit societies that cannot
tolerate foreigners. Were Joyce to have read this essay, it is likely
to have planted a number of stereotyped ideas on the condition


Joyce and the Jews

and threat of the Jews to Irish life. But the dominating event that
propelled anti-Semitism into the forefront of European racial hatred
began six years later: the arrest and subsequent trials of Captain
Alfred Dreyfus, the first Jewish officer attached to the General Staff
of the French Army.
Although not directly affected by it, Joyce could hardly have
avoided the attention generated by the Dreyfus affair and its
consequences. The events involving the French artillery captain
and the bordereau, with its promise of a French artillery manual to
the Germans, began in September 1894 with his arrest, court
martial for treason, sentence to life imprisonment, and exile to
Devil's Island off French Guiana. Preceding his exile was the
humiliating act of being publicly disgraced (the removal of his
epaulets and breaking of his sword) on 5 January 1895 before 5000
men and fellow officers at the Ecole Militaire in Paris. The papers
reported that the mob witnessing the act hissed. Almost immedi-
ately, Dreyfus became a symbol to anti-Semites like Edouard
Drumont of an international Jewish conspiracy.
The discovery in March 1896 of a second bordereau in the same
hand as the first led to charges against Major Esterhazy but, despite
convincing evidence, he was acquitted and his accuser, Colonel
Picquart arrested. In January 1898 Zola published J'Accuse, his
open letter to the President of France; one month later he was,
himself, on trial for libel. However, by June 1899, with the suicide
of Lieutenant Colonel Henry after the exposure of his forgeries
said to incriminate Dreyfus, and with attacks by Clemenceau,
Anatole France, Peguy and Zola on apparent government intransi-
gence to reAtore the officer, Dreyfus was at last ordered to return
to France for a re-trial. New anti-Semitic diatribes emerged in the
press, while one of the most significant documents of anti-Semitism
emerged, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1894-9).6
Dreyfus was again found guilty at the Rennes trial, despite
evidence to the contrary. His sentence, however, was reduced
from life imprisonment to ten years. The result was a violent liberal
reaction throughout Europe. Emile Loubet, Liberal President of
France, finally pardoned Dreyfus whose complete. judicial exoner-
ation did not take place, however, until 1906. He was also awarded
the Legion of Honour that year in compensation for his mis-trial
and suffering, but his rehabilitation by the Cour de Cassation was a
turning point for French Jewry because it meant in, effect the
separation of Church and State as state support for religious


Joyce, Jews and History

institutions ended. At the same time, there was an increase of
Jewish immigrants from Russia, the result of the failed 1905 revolt
in Russia accompanied by new acts of repression. These, and later
waves of Jewish immigration, markedly expanded the Jewish
population of France between 1906 and 1939.37
The attention throughout Europe paid to the Dreyfus case
concentrated hatred on the Jews and fear that they were not to be
trusted, that they were aliens, and that they would, if given the
chance, undermine European society, especially the military. Emile
Zola could write to Dreyfus that 'so long as one innocent man
remains convicted, we no longer exist as an honourable or just
people', but others cited 'L'Affaire' as parallel to the expulsion of
Jews from Spain in the fifteenth century, or to the pogroms in
Eastern Europe in its anti-Semitic importance.38 Roger Martin du
Gard in his novel Jean Barois (1913) recreated 'L'Affaire' and its
abusive treatment of a Jew, while the historian Daniel Halevy
explained that 'the hatred of a whole people weighed on him
[Dreyfus] ... he was a Jew, his infamy was taken as a symbol;
the insult to his person insulted a whole race'. Proust referred to
Dreyfus in a passage from Remembrance of Things Past in which the
narrator analyses the resurgence of Swann's Jewish appearance
and identity, attributing it to 'the sentiment of a moral solidarity
with the rest of the Jews, a solidarity which Swann seemed to have
forgotten throughout his life, and which, one after another, his
moral illness, the Dreyfus case and the anti-semitic propaganda
had revived'.39
But the reassertion of Jewish identity in some was matched by
the increasing support of anti-Semitism in others. Establishment
of the vocal, right-wing and militaristic 'Action Francaise' in 1899
is but one example. The preceding year, anti-Semitic riots in
Paris, Bordeaux, Rennes, Lyon and elsewhere, including Algeria,
seriously threatened Jewish confidence. They occurred during
Zola's first trial (February 1898) and continued throughout the
year, sparked by support of the Army and patriotic ideals as much
as by hatred for Jews. Anti-Semitic posters, rallies, and speeches
were common. The 'Ligue Antisemitique Franqaise', founded in
January 1897, provoked some of the outbursts, aided by local press
and politicians. From the first headline in Drumont's anti-Semitic
daily, La Libre Parole, 'High Treason. Arrest of Jewish Officer. A.
Dreyfus', to the enactment of the pardon, partly motivated by the
impending World Exposition of 1900 and need for France to re-


Joyce and the Jews

establish its international image, the Dreyfus Affair remained in
the foreground of the social and political life of Europe and the
But what of Joyce? How did he react to these events? How did
he even learn of them? What prompted his ironic remark to Maria
Jolas in 1938 that anti-Semitism was 'one of the easiest and oldest
prejudices to prove' (JJ 709)? The Irish daily press was naturally full
of details concerning the 'affair' but one paper in particular gave it
extensive treatment, a paper Joyce read and followed, although he
often disagreed with it: Griffith's United Irishman. Joyce admired
and criticised the paper, telling his brother Stanislaus it is 'the only
newspaper of any pretensions in Ireland', that 'its policy would
benefit Ireland very much' but that it is 'hopelessly deaf' concerning
matters of intellectual interest (Lett. 11:157-8). A reference to Griffith
and his paper reporting 'any signs of Philocelticism ... in the
Paris newspapers' appears in Stephen Hero, while in Ulysses Griffith
and his paper, plus his popular pamphlet The Resurrection of
Hungary, are variously cited (SH 61; 12.1636). Throughout 1899,
however, Griffith concentrated on the Dreyfus Affair and its anti-
Semitic character.
Invariably and repetitiously, Griffith made the Dreyfus Affair
not so much a problem for France as for all of Europe. It clearly
demonstrated the danger of Jews and their threat to established

The Jew has at heart no country but the Promised Land. He
forms a nation apart wherever he goes. He may be a German
citizen today, and a British subject to-morrow. He is always a
Jew Nationalist bound by the most solemn obligations and the
fiercest hopes to the achievement of National Restoration and
Revenge. Touch a Jew in Warsaw, and collections will be made
to protect him in Moorish Synagogues on the edge of the Sahara
and in Chinese Synagogues on the Yellow River. The French
Army has sent a Jew to a convict settlement. So, woe to the
French Army if the Jews can manage it.40

A pastiche of anti-Semitic attitudes, Griffith manages to link the
separateness of the Jew, unable or unwilling to join his new society,
with Zionism, the return to the Promised Land. He also suggests
the conspiracy theory of Jewish life; wherever they live, Jews join
together to support one another. The infiltration of Jews into high


Joyce, Jews and History

places, especially the Army, is cause for alarm and if the French
did not act as they did with Dreyfus, they would surely have lost
the control of their Army, Griffith implies. The Jewish control of
the press in France and England then comes under attack, as well
as 'the landlord of the Monte Carlo Gambling Hall', the Prince of
Monaco because he has a Jewish wife.b'The Croupier's Paradise'
is, furthermore, home to numerous German and Italian spies who
easily slip into France and aide the secret movements of the Jews,
Griffith adds.
In August 1899, Griffith declares that the 'Rothschilds are behind
the Dreyfus Syndicate' which has now extended itself to Dublin,
citing a passage in the Dublin Herald opposed to hostile demonstra-
tions against the Dreyfusards and expressing hope for a fair trial
for Dreyfus whose new hearing was to begin on 7 August 1899
(UI II:23, 5 August 1899, 4). Why did Griffith spend so much time
writing about Dreyfus? Essentially because the attacks on the
French government and military for mishandling the affair were
attacks on France, 'Ireland's most faithful and powerful friend'
now being corrupted by Jews and others (UI ii:23, 5 August 1899,
4). Ironically, journalists should especially not be trusted: 'two
thirds of the Foteign journalists, who are not English or Yankee,
are Jews', while the Daily Mail and Irish Times are 'jingoist journals'
seeking 'every chance to perpetuate disunion amongst the French
people by the dissemination of vile fables calculated to throw the
military organisation of France into disgrace and disorder' (UI n:23,
19 August 1899, 1; In:23, 2 September 1899, 4).
By mid-September, after Dreyfus' second trial, Griffith expressed
shock at the liberal reaction to the second guilty charge. The 'Jew
traitor who had sold some vital secrets of France to her military
enemies', tried fairly and found guilty a second time, has no reason
to complain, he argues. And the proposed boycott of the Paris
Exhibition will hurt none as much as the Dreyfusite class in France,
'the big hotel keepers and railway companies' by implication,
Jews (UI II:23, 16 September 1899, 1). In the same issue, Griffith
unleashes an even more violent attack on the Irish press:

I observe that the miserable Reptile Press of Dublin is not satisfied
with having for two years supplied the Irish Public with nothing
but the crooked; telegrams and lying correspondence of its Jew
and London agents or paymasters. It now publishes from the
same putrid sources long lists of newspapers which pretend to


Joyce and the Jews

represent the feelings of 'Indignant Civilisation' at the Rennes
Court-Martial. As a matter of fact, the newspapers in question
are almost all Jew rags which represent nothing but the
impotent ravings of a disreputable minority, which is universally
regarded as a community of thieves and traitors from Madrid to
St Petersburg.
(UI ii:29, 16 September 1899, 1)

These racist views found continued expression in the United
Irishman, summarised by this statement: 'we know that all Jews
are pretty sure to be traitors, if they get a chance' (ibid.). The
central fear is a conspiracy where 'the Jew capitalist has got a grip
on the lying "Press of Civilisation" from Vienna to New York and
further; the pen of the Jew scribe is uplifted terve the cause of
Sister England' (UI II:33, 14 October 1899, 5)loorn' attachment
to the press is consistscandalous anSemiis n
ews an ournasmwhich developed n te nineteenth centu
e fear is that through er s 11 with language Jews
the minds of readers and control their reaction to various social
and moral issues. This attitude may have influenced Joyce's choice
of associating Bloom with the papers, although his status as a
hero and peripheral activity as advertising canvasser rather than
journalist make his attachment to the press ironic. In Ulysses, Joyce
playfully exploits the conspiracy of a Jewish press.
Griffith's views were not new, as anyone reading about the
Dreyfus trial would discover. But one did not have to turn to
France; in England, Joseph Banister's England Under the Jews (1901)
or his equally insulting Our Judaeo-Irish Labour Party (1923) promoted
similar views. But in Ireland, a reader would no doubt find
Griffith's position alarming and possibly accurate in exposing a
racial attitudes toward Jews hidden by neglect rather than intention.
Additionally, Griffith's journal Sinn Fein published Oliver St John
Gogarty's anti-Semitic racist views in 'Ugly England' (see the essays
of 24 November and 1 December 1906). Extending Griffith's earlier
views of Jewish control of England, Gogarty emphasised the
English prejudices and anti-Semitism attributed to Jewish domi-
nance. Jews in Ireland can only bring similar decay and economic
ruin he concluded, a view similar to that of Haines, Mr Deasy,
and the Citizen in Ulysses. In a letter to Stanislaus, Joyce referred
to Gogarty's essays as 'stupid drivel' (Lett. 11:200).
But Dreyfus alone dominated European anti-Semitism. In June,


Joyce, Jews and History

1906, a month before he moved to Rome, Joyce probably read the
leader by Ferrero in II Piccolo della sera, the Trieste paper, on the
misguidance of public opinion as exemplified by the Dreyfus case
(Il Piccolo, 25 June 1906). Joyce may have also read of the June 1908
attempt to shoot Dreyfus as he attended the official ceremony in
the Pantheon marking the transfer of Zola's ashes. L'Action Frangaise
found in the event a new programme of anti-Semitism (Brendin
487). The death of Dreyfus in Paris in July, 1935 may have renewed
Joyce's interest which the Wake records. In the text he makes
reference to 'dreyfussed' to indicate the 'portrifaction' that over-
takes the three monads in a watery grave, transformed to parched
land (78.21). A military tone echoes in 'ramp, ramp, ramp, the
boys are parching' (78.21-"2) and the entire section might allude to
t imprisoned Dreyfus on the torrid island off French Guiana.

free (drei) castles (Schlqs .)on the Dublin coat of arms but the
anti-Semitism of the Dreyfus affair and the Anschluss of March 1938
in M. ine-T8e
rase a e *Ptr riddleho oft eth
the motto o
ore directly, references to the 'mamafesta' of Anna Livia
explicitly allude to the bordereau, the unsigned forgery which
incriminated Dreyfus in 1894 (104.4). In the Wake Joyce specifically
recalls the complexities of the document when he writes, momenta-
rily sounding like a historian, of the Dreyfus case:

Closer inspection of the bordereau would reveal a multiplicity of
personalities inflicted on the documents or document and some
provision of virtual crime or crimes might be made by anyone
unwary enough before any suitable occasion for it or them had
so far managed to happen along.

The passage suggests the untrustworthy figures that surrounded
the case as well as the subterfuge and intrigue that characterized
the entire situation. '[W]ho is, hallhagal wrote the durn thing
anyhow?' is a question that plagued Dreyfusards and readers of
Anna Livia's letter (107.36-108.1).
Among the various ironies of the Dreyfus affair was the indiffer-
ent response of the French Jewish community. As Michael Marrus
has shown, the majority of French Jews remained committed to


Joyce and the Jews

an assimilationist ideology and supported the ideals of the Third
Republic. The Jews of France established their freedom in the
French Revolution, called by some Rabbis 'The Second Sinai',
consolidated their emancipation in the succeeding century, and
enjoyed their assimilation in society and culture.2 But the Dreyfus
Affair precipitated a crisis of international proportions which French
Jews failed to see. Their passive response and desire for the
status quo became unsettled only through the disturbances of an
increasingly vocal, anti-Semitic minority and the coalescence of a
series of events summarised by the appearance in December 1896
of Theodor Herzl's revolutionary article, Der Judenstaat, the writings
of Bernard Lazare on anti-Semitism, the violent anti-Jewish riots
in Algeria and then France (1897-8), and the organisation of the
First World Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897. Zionism rapidly and
momentously became the principal Jewish alternative to the politics
of assimilation, librating Jews in France and elsewhere from
oppression, suspicion, fear and passivity.
In France in December 1902 and again from 23 January 1903 to
10 April 1903, Joyce could not avoid the furor still echoing around
Dreyfus. For example, on 6-7 April 1903, three days before Joyce
returned to Dublin, the socialist Jean Jaures addressed the Chamber
of Deputies in a defence of Dreyfus in an effort to re-open the case
to exonerate Dreyfus' name and reverse the decision of the Rennes
Court-Martial only a Presidential pardon could release Dreyfus;
the original decision still stood. In January 1904 the case was
reopened as the Public Prosecutor Baudouin asked the Criminal
Chamber to reconsider the recent pardon of Dreyfus with a public
hearing commencing in March. But the impact on Joyce was more
political than artistic. In absorbing the attacks on the Jews, he no
doubt felt some identity with his marginality in France in 1903 as a
'foreigner', as the Jews were repeatedly portrayed in the French
and Irish press.
The notice by Joyce of the communal passivity of Jews may be
reflected in Bloom's repeated declaration of his Irishness an
identity he promotes more willingly and enthusiastically than his
identity as a Jew as Dreyfus himself constantly proclaimed his
identity as a Frenchman, an officer and an Alsatian rather than a
Jew. In fact, in Dreyfus' entire correspondence there is not a single
mention of the Jews, nor does he ever attribute his situation to the
fact that he was Jewish.43 While the Dreyfus Affair introduced
widespread anti-Semitism to Europe, it may have also acted as a


Joyce, Jews and History

catalyst to Joyce's treatment of the Jew as hero in addition to
stimulating one of the most vital aspects of modem Judaism:

Joyce developed an early interest in the Zionist movement if his
Trieste library is any guide. Amid such anti-Semitic volumes as
Wagner's Judaism in Music was Harry Sacher's collection, Zionism
and The Jewish Future published by John Murray in London in 1916,
and Herzl's Der Judensfaat (Berlin: Judische Verlag, 1918) purchased
in Zurich. In Edouard Dujardin's La Source du fleuve chritien,
subtitled Histoire critique du judaisme ancien et du christianisme primitif:
Le judaiseme (1906), another volume in the Trieste library, Joyce
would have discovered a chapter referring to the Books of Moses,
the Torah, as 'The National Epic of an Imperialism' and read an
interpretation of ancient Judaism based on the need for territory
and a national homeland.44
Sex and Character (1904), the study by the Viennese anti-Semite
Otto Weininger, a work also presumably read by Joyce, similarly
contained pertinent comments on Zionism, although principally
opposing it. The very notion of Zionism contradicts Judaism, says
Weininger, because 'the conception of Judaism involves a world-
wide distribution of the Jews. Citizenship is an un-Jewish thing,
and there has never been and never will be a true Jewish State'.45
Weininger resoundingly declares that 'before Zionism is possible
the Jew must first conquer Judaism' (p. 312). Only the converted
Jew, he adds, deserves to be treated fairly by the Aryan and 'no
longer be condemned as belonging to a race above which his moral
efforts have raised him' (p. 312). The Aryan of good social standing
will respect this type of Jew.
Joyce s sources for understanding Zionism were varied, originat-
ing in Dublin, continuing in Trieste, renewed in Zurich and restated
in Ulysses. By the 1890s, as a result of emigration by Russian Jews,
branches of the Zionist organisation 'Chovevei Zion' (Lovers of
Zion) were established in the British Isles, with representatives in
Belfast, Cork, Londonderry and Limerick. The largest was in
Dublin where by 1892, four years before Herzl published Der
Judenstaat, there were 175 members. Interest in Palestine preceded
the 1890's, however; subscription lists for donations to Palestine
exist from Dublin congregations from 1848 to 1874 (JI 193). In 1893


Joyce and the Jews

a splinter group calling themselves 'The Brotherhood of Israel
Association' formed within 'The Lovers of Zion' in order to buy
land in Palestine and a Dublin contingent of up to 40 families
prepared to resettle in Palestine (JI 194-5). However, the forcible
removal of settlers from land in Trans-Jordan set aside for the
settlement postponed this new migration. By 1900 Leopold Green-
berg, editor of the influential London Jewish Chronicle, friend of
Theodor Herzl, and later instrumental in writing the Balfour
Declaration, gave a series of widely reported public lectures in
Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Belfast on the aims and objectives of
Zionism. And in September of that year, a report from the
4th World Zionist Congress was given to the 'Chovevei Zion'
association which also affirmed its support for Herzl at a general
Dublin's support of Zionism was strong, and even Joyce's limited
awareness of Irish Jewish life could hardly have permitted him to
neglect it. But Trieste provided Joyce with his strongest indoctrina-
tion to Zionism, first through his friendships with individuals like
Ciro Glass and Moses Dlugacz, and later through his oWn readings
on the topic. Ciro Glass, a young aristocratic Italian-Zionist leader
was an English student of Joyce's. The instruction often took place
in Glass's orthodox home which Joyce regularly visited and where
he most likely discussed, out of interest and Glass's enthusiasm,
ionism.46 Moses Dlugacz furthered Joyce's knowledge of orthodox
ewish practices and the Zionist cause, supplanting Joyce's fri-
endships with the non-practising Jew Italo Svevo and the Hungar-
ian-Jewish editor of II Piccolo della Sera, Teodoro Mayer.
Dlugacz (1884-1943), the son and grandson of Rabbis, was a key
figure. Ordained as a Rabbi at 15, Dlugacz became Joyce's English
student in 1912 when he was appointed to a post with the local
Cunard Line office and continued to study with Joyce until the
beginning of the First World War, when Joyce left for Zurich.
Dlugacz remained in Trieste after Joyce fled, becoming a food
Wholesaler, although later in his career he emigrated to Palestine.
With Joyce, he shared an enthusiasm for literature, language,
music and philosophy; in appreciation of his contribution to Joyce's
intellectual life, he received a presentation copy of Dubliners soon
after its 15 June 1914 publication. Joyce may have also studied
Hebrew with Dlugacz who voluntarily established courses in
Hebrew and Jewish history for the Jewish youth of Trieste. It is
also possible that Joyce discussed Talmud with Dlugacz, an integral


Joyce, Jews and History

part of his rabbinic schooling (JI 184). More importantly, Dlugacz
was an ardent Zionist, promoting the cause of a Jewish homeland
to all he met as his former students attest (JI 337 n. 163).
Joyce no doubt remained indifferent to Dlugacz's enthusiasm,
although he was informed enough about the subject to know the
Zionist national anthem 'Hatikvah' which he played for A. J.
Leventhal in 1921 in Paris and has Leopold Bloom partially sing in
Ulysses (JJ 513; 17.763-4). Dlugacz later became local representative
of 'Ufficio Palestinese', the Jewish Agency for Palestine, established
in 1918 to organise the movement of Jews to the country. In 1921
he attended the 12th World ZiOnist Congress in Carlsbad 0
'Calypso' JcetransformsD a

s eets an a ve segment or the e ar
a of Galilee near enaus his prompts Bloom to think
o Moses Montiore and his plans to resettle Palestine, an early
effort of the Dublin Zionist movement. Walking up Dorset Street,
Bloom reads on his sausage-wrapper of 'Agendath Netaim', an
investment opportunity in a planting company north of Jaffa to
own a dunam of land planted with 'olives, oranges, almonds or
citrons', traditional fruits associated with Palestine. 'Nothing doing'
he first thinks, but then adds 'still an idea behind it' as he meditates
on the journey of the fruit, a journey of exile for Jews as well:
'Coming all that way: Spain, Gibraltar, Mediterranean, the Levant'
but he still rejects the Zionist idea:

a dead sea in a dead land, grey and old. The oldest people.
Wandered far away over all the earth, captivity to captivity,.
multiplying, dying, being born everywhere. Dead: an old
woman's: the grey sunken cunt of the world.

Ironically sensing his own alienation as he hurries into Eccles
Street, Bloom's rejection of Zionism is an inverted ac-
knowledgement of Dlugacz's presence in Joyce's background. The
link between the porkbutcher and 'Agendath Netaim' is not
accidental, and Bloom sporadically ponders the meaning of the
plantation and Palestine throughout the novel. In 'Sirens', Bloom
combines Dlugacz with Agendath and the hackney car No. 324
(11.878-85; also see 4.492-3). In 'Circe', 'Agendath Netaim in
faraway Asia Minor' is again cited, but as a source of Bloom's bad


Joyce and the Jews

luck since he mortgaged his savings to it; Dlugacz himself then
appears in the public gallery of Bloom's trial in blue dungarees
'holding in each hand an orange citron and a pork kidney', while
a mirage of Lake Kinnereth appears projected on a wall (15.981-3;
987-9). Dlugacz's speech is only the address of 'Agendath Netaim'
in Berlin (contradicting an earlier postal code! cf. 4.199; 15.991; for
details on the actual project in Palestine see JI 188, 388-9, nn. 193-
8). Referring to that 'queerlooking man in the porkbutchers' who
might be 'a great rogue' (18.911-12), even Molly alludes to Dlugacz
in her soliloquy. Dlugacz, however, is an adopted Dubliner, not
listed in Thorn's Directory (1905); and to Bloom's disappointment,
he is an 'Enthusiast' for Zionism (4.493). Nominally a Catholic,
Bloom still has the exilic yearnings of a Jew for his homeland which
is also Ithaca, represented as 'number 7 Eccles Street' (17.71-2).
From Dlugacz, Bloom receives a message about the future of
Zionism but he consigns the prospectus of the model farm and
plantation, which he has carried for almost the entire day, to
flames, ironically creating an echo of the volcanic lake and aromatic
richness of the area described by the brochure. The burning creates
a 'truncated conical crater summit of the diminutive volcano' that
emits 'a vertical and serpentine fume redolent of aromatic oriental
incense' (17.1331-2). The adjective 'oriental' is an important sign
of Bloom's and Joyce's conception of, and attraction to, Jews (see
the second part of Chapter 4). Yet earlier, a point of contact
between Stephen and Bloom is their belief in the 'restoration ...
of Zion and the possibility of Irish political autonomy or devolution'
(17.759-60). Joyce's contact with Dlugacz extended over two periods
in Trieste: 1912-15 before the First World War and from October
1919 to July 1920, when Joyce returned after his exile in Zurich.
Dlugacz, with Joyce's other Jewish associates in Trieste, played a
major role in his understanding of Zionism, as well as Judaism.
But even in Zurich, where Joyce went to escape the war, he did
not escape the Zionist movement.
In 1915 Ottocaro Weiss remarked on the possibility of a Jewish
state, and Joyce replied 'that's all very well, but believe me, a
warship with a captain called Kanalgitter and his aide named
Captain Afterduft would be the funniest thing the old Mediter-
ranean has ever seen' (JJ 396). Four years later in the notesheets to
'Cyclops' he was to write 'Zionism retrograde' (UN 115.78). But in
Zurich, Joyce was serious enough about Zionism and far enough
along with purchase three significant texts: Herzl's Der


Joyce, Jews and History

Judenstaat, Harry Sacher's collection, Zionism and the Jewish Future,
and Dujardin's La source du fleuve chr6tien.
Der Judenstaat provided Joyce with a programmatic introduction
to the restoration of the Jewish state as a demonstration of the
cyclic nature of history. The emphasis on return by Herzl is an
emphasis on repetition, on restoring a balance to history that the
post-biblical world distorted. A Hungarian Jew born in Budapest
(could this be an unconscious influence on Bloom's similar roots
in Hungary?), who at 18 moved to Vienna to study law, earning a
doctorate in 1884, Theodor Herzl soon gave up practice to become,
first, a feuilletonist and then dramatist. In 1892 he joined the
prestigious Neue Freie Presse, Vienna's most influential paper, and
was sent to Paris as its chief correspondent.
Herzl's pre-Zionist writings accepted assimilation as the natural
condition of European Jews but in Paris he confronted the anti-
Semitic journalism of Edouard Drumont and in 1894 the intense
anti-Semitic response to the Dreyfus Affair. Earlier, in 1882,
coincidentally the year of Joyce's birth, Herzl had read Eugen
Diihring's anti-Semitic Die Judenfrage als Frqge der Rassenschadlichkeit
fur Existenz, Sitten und Kulture der Volker (The Jewish Question as a
Question of the Racial Damage for the Existence, Morals and Culture of
the Nations), a work which deeply affected his identity as a Jew,
although it took some thirteen years and the hysteria over Dreyfus
before his reaction crystallised into Der Judenstaat.47
Herzl's 1894 play The New Ghetto registers the impact of his
confrontation with universal anti-Semitism where even the most
assimilated Jew exists in an invisible ghetto in the gentile world.
Present at the public humiliation of Dreyfus in the courtyard of
the Ecole Militaire while the crowd screamed 'a bas les Juifs', the
events surrounding the trial and expulsion radicalised Herzl's
view of Jewish existence. In late June 1895, in an effort to see the
Rothschilds, Herzl wrote a 65 page essay in his diary on a solution
to the Jewish Question the establishment of a Jewish homeland.
This resulted in his February 1896 pamphlet, Der Judenstaat (origi-
nally two lengthy articles).
Of course, Herzl was not the first to propose this solution in
Hungary the politician Gyozo Istoczy declared in the Hungarian
Diet in June 1878 that the only solution to the menace of the Jews
who promoted social democracy, poisoned international relations
and retarded the growth of Christianity, was the restoration of 'the
ancient Jewish state' but Herzl's timing, and presentation, made


Joyce and'he Jews

his work Widely recognized. By August 1897, the 1st World Zionist
Congress was held at Herzl's instigation in Basel with more than
200 delegates as he solidified his authority and presence in the
movement. This was underscored by his negotiations with leaders
like the Sultan of Turkey, Kaiser Wilhelm, the King of Italy, and
Pope Pius X to obtain a legally secure homeland for the Jews in
Palestine. But unexpectedly, Herzl died in Austria on 3 July 1904
at the age of fourty-four.
What Herzl realized, Joyce recognized: 'that the nations which
emancipated the Jews have deluded themselves as to their own
feelings which are basically prejudicial, biased and anti-semitic.
11The destiny of Jews', Herzl told the 1st World Congress, 'has
suffered a long interruption' that must be redressed. Zionism, he
went on to explain, is return, the very first statement in Der
Judenstaat: 'The idea which I have developed in this pamphlet is
an ancient one: It is the restoration of the Jewish State'."48 Intensely
self-confident and convinced of his plan, Herzl asserts that 'the
world needs the Jewish State; therefore it will arise' (206). Anti-
Semitism is the catalyst because wherever the Jew lives, he remains
an alien, even, as Herzl cites, in Hungary where liberalised laws
of intermarriage aggravated the differences between Christians
and Jews (209-10). A Jewish state, however, will mean the end of
anti-Semitism since dedicated Jews will leave prejudiced societies
while Jewish civilisation will at last be realized completely. In a
practical, reasoned approach, with an undercurrent of emotional
energy Herzl outlines the need for a Jewish state.
.4 hetorical in manner, emotive in tone, Der Judenstaat none the
less provided Joyce with a clear-cut identification and explanation
of anti-Semitism as an outgrowth of emancipation, a term first
used for political purposes by Irish Catholics at the end of the
eighteenth century. 'Catholic Emancipation', which succeeded in
1829 by allowing Christians not just Anglicans to take the Oath of
Allegiance, became 'Jewish Emancipation' seeking similar free-
doms. The term emancipation soon travelled from England to
Germany where it became a weapon for Jewish liberties; in the
Wake it becomes parodied as 'Emancipator' (342.19), a race horse,
although it echoes 'Liberator', the phrase for Daniel O'Connell
who led the fight for 'Catholic Emancipation'.49
When confined to the ghetto, Herzl further explained, Jews
became bourgeois but when they emerged, they became a prodigi-
ous rival to the middle class' (218). Laws enshrining freedom made

Joyce, Jews and History

it outwardly difficult to prosecute Jews which, in turn, increased
the growing hatred of them. The remoteness of the Jew, enforced
by anti-Semitism, meant the loss of any possible assimilation. In
the middle ages this meant separation and suspicion; in more
modem times, it meant the 'excessive production of mediocre
intellectuals'. But 'whern we sink we become a revolutionary
proletariat ... and when we rise, there rises also our terrifying
financial power' (219) Herzl argues. In his plan, Herzl proposes
Argentina or Palestine as the proper homeland, stating that if the
Sultan of Turkey granted Jews the latter, they could undertake in
return 'the complete management of the finances of Turkey' and
from there 'a wall of defense for Europe in Asia, an outpost of
civilization against barbarianismn would be established (222).
Reading Herzl, Joyce would have learned of the universalism of
anti-Semitism, and enhanced his understanding of the continued
need for Jewish exodus. He also might have been impressed by
Herzl's liberalism demonstrated by the essentially non-Jewish
character of his proposed homeland. A large degree of 'anglophi-
lism' entered Herzl's plan, as Jews were to become sportsmen and,
gentlemen. There was also to be a 'linguistic federalism' since there
would be no common language, certainly not Hebrew. Each would
speak the language of his origin, with only Yiddish, the language
of the Ghetto, abolished. Even religion would be de-emphasised
with the clergy largely confined to their temples. Herzl proposes
not a Jewish but a liberal utopia where the state, in the words of
the historian Carl E. Schorske, 'would make possible the over-
coming of-the so-called Jewish traits which centuries of repression
had called forth int the Jews' (Schorske 172-3). Replacing decaying
Europe would be a liberalised world emphasising law, labour
and education. Joyce might have identified with this programme
because /Herzl's world would recreate the ideal Joyce himself
sought: the culture of modern liberal Europe. But Der Judenstaat
also corroborated Joyce's belief that conflict, not brotherhood, was
endemic to mankind a theme indigenous to Ulysses and the Wake.
Reading Herzl's work had an additional effect on Joyce because
he seized a phrase from the work and used it in the Wake and in
his correspondence. According to Herzl, establishing the Jewish
state 'vould be the responsibility of two Jewish agencies: 'the
Society of Jews', to organise the 'scientific plan and political policies'
and the 'Jewish Company' to implement the foregoing (Herzl 220).
'The Society of Jews is the new Moses of the Jews' one supporter


Joyce and the Jews

proclaimed (Adolf Boehm in Schorske 173). The phrase 'Society of
Jews' probably interested Joyce because of its similarity to the Jesuit
Society of Jesus. In the Wake, in a passage describing the flight of
Shem, Joyce writes 'he caught the europicolas and went into the
society of jewses' (423.35-6). This may be an allusion to Joyce's
own flight from Ireland, as well as to Herzl who, freed from
Viennese ideas, saw in France and in Europe the general condition
of the Jews and realized the need for a Jewish state. A second use
of the phrase occurs in a letter of Joyce's to his daughter-in-law in
March 1935 which concludes with this sentence: 'my cordial
salutations to you both not forgetting the Society of the Jewses
(quip from W.i.P.)' (Lett. m:352). The direct reference is to the
parents of Helen Kastor Fleischman, his daughter-in-law; the
allusion is to Herzl's concept for settling the Jewish Question.
Joyce's political respoq to Herzl's proposals was sceptical, but in
reading Der JudenstaatI would have encountered a political spirit
similar to the IrisI ie that sought to transform a religion and
culture into a nation
Zionism and the fish Future, edited by Harry Sacher, advanced
the argument of a Jewish homeland through its mixture of theoreti-
cal and practical proposals. The eleven essays, with an introduction
by Chaim Weizmann, in 1948 to become the first President of
Israel, and an appendix that reprints the Basel Programme of the
World Zionist Congress, also contains a description of worldwide
Zionist organizations, including the Palestine Land Development
Company, sponsors of the farm at Kinnereth that Bloom considers.
A list of Jewish colonies in Palestine and a comprehensive bibli-
ography survey the Zionist movement and practical issues of
resettlement. Essay subjects range from anti-Semitism to the
revival of Hebrew, from the economic development of Palestine to
a sketch of 'The New Jew'. The previous year the editor, Harry
Sacher, published A Hebrew University for Jerusalem (London, 1915)
and by 1917 began publication of a weekly British magazine,
Palestine. By late June of that year, at Weizmann's request, he
prepared an early draft of what became the Balfour Declaration.`0
Other contributors to the volume included an American Professor
from New York, R. Gottheil, a Rabbi, Dr M. Gester, and an
agricultural engineer from Tel Aviv, S. Tolkowsky. The collection
also contained a short story by N. Sokolow about a once sceptical
student of European Jewry who rediscovers his identity and well-
being as a Zionist settler in Palestine.


Joyce, Jews and History

Throughout the essays one theme is constant: the re-establish-
ment of a Jeivish nation in Palestine, essential to ending the exile
of Jews everywhere. The displacement of Jews, rooted in history
and exacerbated by such recent developments as the pogroms in
Russia and the Dreyfus Affair, must end, but only a Jewish
homeland acting as a spiritual as well as a geographic centre can
achieve this. On page 9 of the collection, in Chaim Weizmann's
essay 'Zionism and the Jewish Problem', Joyce made a notation on
the left margin near two crucial sentences marking the general
movement of return:

The ideal of the return to the land of Palestine, as the home of
the Jewish people, has begun to take concrete shape. And
concurrently with this development, and partly as a result of it,
there has gradually come about a change in the outlook of Jews -
a change which can be more easily felt by those who are in touch
with Jewish affairs than it can be measured by facts and figures.51

Weizmann's overall essay emphasises the outcast state of the
Jews, a condition Joyce in Zurich (where he purchased his copy of
the book) would have understood, Thinking about Bloom, Jo ce
might have been further influenced by Weizmann's statement of
the paradoxical condition of Jewish life:

The modern world sets the Jew the problem of maintaining
some sort of distinctive existence without the external props of
territorial sovereignty and a political machine, and the Jew sets
the modem world the problem of finding for him a place in.its
social structure which shall enable him to live as a human being
without demanding that he cease to be a Jew.

Bloom dramatises this dilemma, while Joyce in many ways lives
Two other subjects presented in the collection found sympathy
from Joyce: oaralles between the Irish andte teIs, and the
revival of Hebrew.Surisin he book contains threeseparate
reerenc o e ns an te-ews:t eirsisman
ces notation.av
r on -the impossibility f ass il on oeth ew who is
always 'felt by the outside world to be still something different,


Joyce and the Jews

still an alien', Weizmann argues that a Jewish home in Palestine
will be the only place in the world where 'the Jews are masters of
their own destiny' (6, 8). 'Palestine will be the country in which
Jews are to be found, just as Ireland is the country in which
Irishmen are to be found, though there are more Irishmen outside
Ireland than in it' he adds (8). Ironically, Weizmann himself
emigrated to England in 1906, two years after Joyce left Ireland,
and remained in Manchester and then London until his move to
Israel in 1937. In light of his own situation, Joyce may have been
startled to read the comment on Ireland with reference to its
%ftm The second Irish reference occurs in ,Gaster's 'Judaism A
Sm National Religion'. Emphasisna a -t j e ri
in exile', Gaster explicly jinks the Jews with the Irish: 'T ews'

re gari n ereim 0 ous e

(p.,9/ 94). aenti d difference, sim nty A7arn isni
characterise the union between Jews and the Irish, confirming
Joyce's own sense and extending his own knowledge of similarities.
Bertram B. Benas' essay 'The Meaning of a Hebrew University'
contains the third and most sustained comparison between the
Irish and the Jews. Defending the need for a Jewish university in
Palestine, but recognizing the difficulty of establishing one, Benas
explains that

Perhaps the nearest approach to a parallel is to be found in those
Celtic territories of the United Kingdom, across the Marches and
across the Sea, which have either preserved or endeavoured to
revive their national languages, and in which the demand for a
'nationalized' University finds expression in a form bearing some
similarity to that which characterizes the project of a Jewish
University in Jerusalem.

The allusion to the establishment of University College Dublin,
founded by Newman and where Gaelic Was a required course
(which Joyce, who attended from 1898 to 1902, disliked) would not
have been lost on Joyce. Nor perhaps would a later reference in
another essay not to an Irish parallel but to the larger notion that


Joyce, Jews and History

the Jew linked Oriental and Western cultures, and that Judaism
blended the exotic with the logic of the West in its ideas of
progress.52 Ulysses will explore this concept fully.
A further essay that most likely affected Joyce's knowledge and
understanding of Zionism was Leon Simon's 'The Hebrew Revival',
with its emphasis on the birth of a nation and rebirth of a language.
Joyce's interest was possibly drawn not to Simon's argument for
the cultural, political or historical significance of Hebrew, but to
the comment on language and style that link it with other classical
languages. furthermore, Hebrew as the s oken oral lan uge of
theta i norI an
the l .al use in
Europa,-l~JARirunderstpc anc b
acceptance of the language because in that ear Hebrew 'becomes
nrre aff ai anuaeee nation...aan morea
a-fiat eo nationala
language been revived by Lapo eLLr&( iired 1j
Simon summary of the evolution of a modern Hebrew style
may have also stimulated Joyce. Noting that an eighteenth-century
school of Hebrew revivalists led by Moses Mendelssohn (see U
12.1804) and Naptali Wessely sought to restore a purity to the
language by excluding neo-Hebrew and Aramaic expressions in a
return to the diction and style of the Bible, Simon writes that 'the
return to a great classical model is always of value as a corrective;
and it was particularly valuable in the case of Hebrew, which had
been written for centuries without any regard for purely literary
canons' (114). But such a revision was dangerous since imitating
the Bible meant the use of dead phrases and out-moded construc-
tions. Not at that time a spoken language, Hebrew could not refuse
'new life into its borrowings from the past' (115). But 'a language
of current speech', Simon explains, 'can be reinforced and enriched
out of its own past, without losing its flexibility or its power of
adaptation to new needs. Usage and instinct will correct any undue
tendency to archaism' (115). In this passage Joyce no doubt
found critical confirmation of his own ideas on language and its
possibilities. Basing so much of his word-hoard, syntax and
construction on classical forms, Hebrew as well as Greek, Joyce
found in this essay an analysis of the interrelation between classical
and modern forms of language which emphasised evolution and
change while establishing new meanings. That Bloom hesitatingly
and incorrectly utters several Hebrew words is a minor testament


80-- Joyce and the Jews

to oyce's interest in the language supported by his possible study
of me Hebrew in- neste witMoses u
Sis consu tons wi rsaiah So Zionism and the
lFewis ure provi oyce wi more an an introduction to
Zionism; it gave him new ways to conceive language at a critical
period in the composition of Ulysses.
'Anti-Semitism' by Albert M. Hyamson is a historical survey
repeating, again, the need for a Jewish state. Defined by Hyamson
as 'the prejudice against the Jewish race, a pseudo-scientific
movement as distinct from anti-Judaism' (p. 59), anti-Semitism
so conceived finds itself at the heart of the comments thrown at
Bloom in 'Cyclops'. Zionism and the Jewish Future, then, provided
Joyce with a comprehensive analysis of the Jewish Question while
reiterating a concrete solution: the establishment of a Jewish state.
Finally, an additional and important source for Joyce's under-
standing of Jewish history: Edouard Dujardin's The Source of the
Christian Tradition, a Critical History of Ancient Judaism, also in Joyce's
Trieste library and purchased in Zurich. Dujardin parallels the
Zionists in his emphasis on the nationalism of the Jews as the key
to their survival: 'The glowing nationalism of the founders of the
Jewish State ... had expressed in terms of the cult of the national
god Jahweh the fierce patriotism which was to them the condition
of existence; and this primitive conception had traced the path of
Judaism' (254). Identification of Yahweh with the Jewish homeland
and emphasis on the covenant between Yahweh and the Jews
ensured the determination of Jews and the need for a national
home in Palestine, restoring their Biblical land. Optimistic in his
belief in the existence of a Jewish homeland, Dujardin wrote that

history will simply say that the development of the Jewish State,
among the other states of Palestine, has been a similar success
to the development of the Athenian republic among the republics
of Hellas, or to the ever more extraordinary development of
Rome among the cities of Italy.

Dujardin's reading of Jewish history as aggressive nationalism may
have limited Joyce's own support of Zionism and contributed to
Bloom's casual and largely uninformed view of the subject, but
Dujardin's sense of history and its movement may have given
Joyce a clearer understanding of the similar motivations of the Irish

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