'In the Dublin of my day there was the kind of desperate freedom which comes from a lack of responsibility, for the English were in governance then, so everyone said what he liked. Now I hear since the Free State came in there is less freedom. The Church has made inroads everywhere, so that we are in fact becoming a bourgeois nation, with the Church supplying our aristocracy, and I do not see much hope for us intellectually. Once the Church is in command she will devour everything..'
-James Joyce in conversation with Arthur Power.
This is the first paperback edition of Arthur Power's unique and fascinating account of his friendship with James Joyce during the 1920s. Power, a young Irishman working as an art critic in Paris, first met Joyce in a Montparnasse dancehall, and the two men maintained a prickly friendship for several years. Power re-creates his conversations with the master, on a remarkable range of topics, literary and otherwise. We read of Joyce's thoughts on writers past and present: Synge, Ibsen, Hardy, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Gide, Proust, T.S. Eliot, Tennyson and Shakespeare. Joyce also speaks of the looming might of America ('Political influence, yes, but not cultural'); of religion ('Do you believe in a next life?' 'I don't think much of this life'); and of his own work.