Sunday, December 27, 2009

a little Joyce, just because

Winter - Andrew Wyeth

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

-- the last lines of James Joyce's The Dead

You can listen to the lines read in John Huston's movie The Dead by clicking here. It's worth watching the whole, beautiful scene, but if you're impatient, the snow falling faintly, faintly falling is around four minutes into the six minute clip.


  1. Thank you for posting this excerpt! What wonderful language...I'm swooning myself, now.

  2. It makes me want to read 'Ulysses' now. But no, I must wait. Tell you what, though, I've had 'The Dubliners' in my to-read list for quite a while, maybe I'll give it a go.

    This was beautiful in language and imagery. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  3. gorgeous.

    'the dubliners' is on the very top of my pile. too!

    though i need to support my family, and alas, that doesn't happen (for me) when i snuggle up to a brilliant book.

    oh well!

  4. Good writing is so very good. I also like Andrew Wyeth's work as well. A very medatative post. And thanks for the well wishes. They are much appreciated.

  5. The end of "The Dead" is one of my all-time favorite passages in literature. The intense sadness of the wife, the memory of the dedication of the boy who loved her, the husband's never-knowing that fact. It's all so wrenching.

  6. Love Joyce, adore Wyeth. Beautiful post. Warm wishes for a wonderful 2010.

  7. I always say this last line in my head when it snows. Lovely. Thanks for this post.



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