Conversations with James Joyce

Conversations with James Joyce

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By Arthur Power

ISBN: 9781628972719

A memoir of James Joyce, one of the most important novelists of the twentieth century, never before published in North America.

In the ordinary sense Joyce was not a conversationalist, writes Arthur Power, in Conversations with James Joyce. An aspiring painter and art critic, Power (of the famous whiskey family) struck up a strained, somewhat prickly friendship with the master of exile, silence, and cunning at the Bal Bullier in Paris, in the year of 1921. This volume is Power’s record of the two men’s encounters and conversations, whose subjects ranged from Irish literature to American politics, and from Assyrian monuments to the individual “odor of a country,” which, Joyce assured his wide-eyed interlocutor, was “the gauge of its civilization.” Here is a rare glimpse of the private James Joyce—to Power’s great surprise, not a brash bohemian, but a steadily working, sharp-tongued, elusive man.

Arthur Power's Conversations with James Joyce, edited by Clive Hart and originally published in 1974, is an important artifact relating Joyce's thoughts and opinions on past writers as well as his contemporaries: Synge, Ibsen, Hardy, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Gide, Proust, Eliot, Tennyson, and Shakespeare.


"Fascinating glimpses of Joyce and his opinions, quite well presented by a man with different views. . . . Certainly recommended." --Complete Review

"Offers useful insights into what Joyce thought of his fellow practitioners, from Tolstoy to Kipling." --Daily Telegraph

"Arthur Power has written an interesting and lively book. It succeeds because it is direct and unpretentious. But no portraitist, however gifted, will ever find in Joyce a good sitter." --The Times

Biographical Information

Arthur Power (1891–1984) was raised in Waterford, Ireland, and served in the First World War before moving to Paris, where he socialized with the sculptor Jo Davidson, interviewed Amadeo Modigliani, and became a regular visitor to the Joyce home. After ten years in France, Power moved back home to Ireland to try to manage the family estate and was for a long time an art critic for The Irish Times. He is also the author of From the Old Waterford House (1940).