Thursday, January 13, 2011

James Joyce and genius


A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

- James Joyce
From Ulysses [1922]
James Joyce, Ireland’s great novelist and poet, died in Zurich, Switzerland on January 13, 1941. He passed away 70 years ago today at the age of 58. He is widely known for his great landmark novel Ulysses (1922). His other major works include the short-story anthology Dubliners (1914) and his 1916 novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Although Joyce lived most of his adult life outside of Ireland, his Dublin birthplace remained ensconced in his soul. His experiences in Dublin were at the core of his works and provided all the settings for his stories. Soon after the publication of his masterpiece Ulysses, Joyce explained his preoccupation with his hometown. He declared, “For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”

James Joyce was undoubtedly a literary genius. The theme of today’s musings is genius. Here are some quotations on the subject.

Genius . . . is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one, and where the man of talent sees two or three, plus the ability to register that multiple perception in the material of his art.

- Ezra Pound
From Jefferson and/or Mussolini [1935]

It’s not fun being a genius. It’s torture.

- John Lennon
Interview for Rolling Stone magazine in 1970

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

- Jonathan Swift
From Thoughts on Various Subjects [1711]

Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.

- Thomas Alva Edison
Harper’s Monthly Magazine, September 1932

I have nothing to declare except my genius.

- Oscar Wilde
From Frank Harris, Oscar Wilde [1918]

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.

- William Blake
From Proverbs of Hell


On January 13, 1968, Winnipeg-born Bill Masterton of the Minnesota North Stars was checked into the boards during an NHL game between the North Stars and the Oakland Seals at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. His injuries were so extensive that doctors were unable to perform surgery. After suffering a massive brain hemorrhage, he died two days later on January 15, 1968.

In the late 1960s, helmets were rarely worn in the National Hockey League. As a result of Masterton’s death, the movement for players to wear helmets gained considerable momentum. It wasn’t until 1979, however, that helmets were made mandatory for players entering the NHL in that season onward. How sad that it took the death of a player to help accomplish that goal!

It’s interesting to note that both teams in that fateful game 43 years ago are now defunct. The North Stars left Minnesota for Texas in 1993 and became the Dallas Stars. The Seals played their final game on April 4, 1976. The club was moved to Cleveland and was renamed the Cleveland Barons.

To watch a video on the history of the Oakland-California Golden Seals, click on the link below.

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy s awarded annually to the NHL player who best displays the qualities of perseverance, dedication and good sportsmanship. The winner is chosen by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.



I am very pleased that Roberto Alomar is going to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as a Blue Jay. Alomar has expressed his preference to go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Blue Jay cap. A week ago, the Hall confirmed Robbie’s choice. He will indeed be the first inductee to wear the colours of the Toronto Blue Jays.

To watch an interview with Alomar talking about his years as a Blue Jay and his selection to the Hall of Fame, click on the link below.

- Joanne

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