James and Nora

All I can say to this one is: woah.

James and Nora Joyce. Look at his smoking jacket thing. And the eye patch. And her expression!!

Nora was always insulted when everyone assumed that she must be Molly Bloom. She scoffed, “Molly was much fatter.”

Love Nora. I want to have a copy of this photograph on my wall. Next to my photograph of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, another couple I admire.

And I think Nora might have the final word on her husband, “Sure, he’s a genius, but he’s got such a dirty mind, hasn’t he?”

This entry was posted in James Joyce. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to James and Nora

  1. Forgive my ignorance, was Molly Bloom an actual person or a character in one of his books? I am assuming it’s not just the name of the bar where I asked my wife to marry me.

  2. Bryan says:

    “Molly was much fatter.” HA!!

    Much better endowed as well. Joyce encouraged Nora to drink cocoa in order to enlarge her breasts, and I have often wondered if she might have been rather resentful of Lenehan’s description of Molly’s “hell’s delights.”

    I know I’m being impossibly vulgar here, but I just couldn’t resist. It’s been way too long since we had a discussion about boobs on your blog. ;)

    By the way, ladies, don’t bother with the cocoa. It doesn’t work.

  3. Bryan says:

    Hi Blogger Formerly Known as Dave,

    There’s a bar named “Molly Bloom”? That’s great!

    Molly is the primary character in Joyce’s Ulysses.

  4. Thanks Bryan –
    The bar is an (obivously) Irish type pub. What’s really cool about it, is that it is smack in the middle of the area in the city where all the student bars are. All of the other bars are techno-dance type places. Molly Bloom’s has a traditional Irish band – and people sing along and dance on the tables to “Tied Up In A Black Velvet Band” all that sort of good fun stuff. Thoroughly enjoyable!

  5. Chai-rista says:

    Hey Bryan:

    Beer works, but it makes everything else fatter too. I’ve often thought about taking out an ad in the back of Rolling Stone: “Send two dollars for secret breast enhancement diet. Increase cup size in one month!”

    Then I’d mail them out this long-winded pamphlet that essentially said, “Dring more beer!”

  6. Chai-rista says:

    Or . . . Drink More Beer!


  7. red says:

    The end of Ulysses is given to Molly Bloom. She has a 40 page runon monologue, lying in bed, waiting for her husband.

    The book ends with:

    the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of Mulvey and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the sailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes they called it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house with the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

    I’ve done readings of this on Bloomsday, and all the Irish people in the audience know that last bit by heart and shout it out, as a chorus, punctuating the “Yes”s (if you read it out loud – then you get what’s going on, and what Molly is doing, lying in bed by herself):

    But anyway, the Irish crowd knows it by heart, and chant it as one, shouting the “Yes”s:

    “and first I put my arms around him YES and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume YES and his heart was going like mad and YES I said YES I will YES”

    amazing. makes me wish it was bloomsday again.

  8. … the crowd doesn’t do the actions too – do they?

  9. red says:

    What actions? There are no actions. It’s all about the words. Everything else is IMPLIED. Joyce HADN’T written pornography, even though his feckin’ book was banned left and right. He wrote literature.

    But actually – in thinking about the rowdy Bloomsday celebrations I have attended: Yes. People do do the actions. If they’ve had enough Guinness. It’s awesome. Yes. They do the actions. YES they do YES they do I say YES.

  10. Bryan says:


    I like it!

    You’d probably make a good bit of money, too, if the God Almighty’s truth was known.

  11. red says:

    I don’t really need the cocoa or the beer, if truth be told. the gazungas are large enough.

  12. Bryan says:


    Sounds like you’re a woman Joyce could appreciate.

    Now there’s a thought. What if instead of Joyce and Nora it had been Joyce and Sheila? If instead of the Molliloquy Joyce had given us the Sheililoquy? How different the face of modernist literature might have been!

  13. red says:

    Bryan – there was some piece in the Guardian, I think, on the event of the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday – where they had invited readers to send in altered versions of that last paragraph. Some of them were so funny that tears of laughter streamed down my face reading them.

    One that I remember very well had Molly saying “no” as opposed to “yes” through that last paragraph … which … when piled up cumulatively – just gets funnier and funnier.

  14. Bryan says:

    “no I said no I won’t no”

    I wish I had seen that. That sounds hilarious!

  15. red says:

    Bryan – I’m crazy. I just did a quick search on my blog – I had a feeling I linked to the Guardian’s contest, and I had!

    here’s the “no” version:

    so when comes again for me he can use his favourite self inflicted right hand girlfriend again as he has used today and he can watch the football and the like and the next time he comes at me and looks at me with those eyes he will see in my eyes no and he will ask me again and i will say no i will say no he will not have my mountain flower and no i will not put my arms around him again and i wont draw him down to me again and he will never feel my breasts again and he will never smell my perfume again and i dont care how much he gets excited and pants or how mad he goes i will say no and will say no i will No.


  16. red says:

    Here’s the rest of them, Bryan, my Joycean friend. Enjoy! Maybe write your own! Actually – I am definitely going to write my own. It’ll be fun.

  17. Bryan says:

    OMG!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!

    And how could I refuse such a request from my favorite redheaded Joycean? I’ll give it my best effort and send you the results.

  18. triticale says:

    I saw the headline James and Nora and thought instead of Nick and Nora, another couple with a first name for a last name. The photo thus looked to me like a caricature.

Comments are closed.