Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom

Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom

by Brenda Maddox
     
 

In 1904, having known each other for only three months, a young woman named Nora Barnacle and a not yet famous writer named James Joyce left Ireland together for Europe—unwed. So began a deep and complex partnership, and eventually a marriage, which endured for thirty-seven years.
This is the true story of Nora, the woman who, transformed by Joyce's

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Overview

In 1904, having known each other for only three months, a young woman named Nora Barnacle and a not yet famous writer named James Joyce left Ireland together for Europe—unwed. So began a deep and complex partnership, and eventually a marriage, which endured for thirty-seven years.
This is the true story of Nora, the woman who, transformed by Joyce's imagination, became Molly Bloom, arguably the most famous female character in twentieth-century literature. It is also the story of Ireland, a social history encapsulated in the vivid recreation of Joyce and his small Irish entourage abroad. Ultimately it is the portrait of a relationship—of Nora's complicated, committed, and at times shocking relationship with a hardworking, hard drinking genius and with his work.
In NORA: THE REAL LIFE OF MOLLY BLOOM, the award-winning biographer Brenda Maddox has given us a powerful new lens through which to see both James Joyce and the woman who was in turn his inspiration and his salvation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What Brenda Maddox has given with great success is a love story." The Los Angeles Times

"A fascinating portrait."—Edna O'Brien The New York Times

"Brilliant . . . the first book to read about Joyce himself." Newsweek

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Not only is this a highly engaging Joyce family biographybrightly written, scrupulously researched and full of intimate, little-known Joyceanait also gives an important thrust to a scholarly opinion now gathering force: that far from being an insignificant factor in her husband's work, Nora was the inspiration for Ulysses's Molly Bloom, Finnegans Wake's Anna Livia Plurabelle and principal females in all his other writings. Though she was semiliterate and never read Ulysses, Galway-bred Nora was intelligent, humorous and strong; and, for the exiled Joyce, she was Ireland. This account of how she stood by her hard-drinking, thriftless ``genius'' through years of poverty, physical tribulations and endless nomadism is deeply touching. Others figure prominently in the storymost notably Joyce's brother Stanislaus, benefactor Harriet Weaver, his first publisher Sylvia Beach and the Joyce's two children, Lucia, who went mad, and Giorgio whose career as a singer was disastrousyet the figure who shines through in the freshest, strongest light is Nora. The reader may well agree that Joyce could not have written any of his books without her. Maddox's previous books include Who's Afraid of Elizabeth Taylor and Married and Gay. Illustrations. (June)
Library Journal
Nora Joyce has long been seen as a shrew who was a poor cook, basically illiterate, and an unlikely helpmate for the greatest novelist of the 20th century. Maddox presents a different Noraperfectly ordinary, in the Joycean sense of the word. A caring, devoted wife, with a sharp tongue, fine wit, and strong sense of survival, Nora not only made Joyce a man, but also, at least in part, the author he was. Nora was the model for many of Joyce's heroines, from Lily in ``The Dead'' to Molly of Ulysses and Anna Livia Plurabelle of Finnegans Wake. A carefully written, sensitive study that offers many new insights on the Joyces' family life. Essential for Joyceans. Donald Kaczvinsky, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618057009
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/16/2000
Pages:
510
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.14(d)

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