This is WB Yeats’s account of his first conversation with the young James Joyce–Joyce walked up to him in the street and introduced himself. At the time, at the age of thirty seven, Yeats was one of the great figures of Irish letters, leading a revival of Irish myth and folklore through his poetry and plays. Joyce was more than simply unknown: he had barely written anything.
After inviting him to the smoking room of a restaurant on O’Connell Street, Yeats listened to and praised Joyce’s poems. Then Joyce:
‘…began to explain all his objections to everything I had ever done. Why had I concerned myself with politics, with folklore, with the historical setting of events, and so on? Above all why had I written about ideas, why had I condescended to make generalisations? These things were all the sign of the cooling of the iron, of the fading out of inspiration… his own little book owed nothing to anything but his own mind which was much nearer to God than folklore… [Read more…] about James Joyce meets WB Yeats