Fintan O'Toole: There is a gulf between Ireland and England when it comes to Europe

Why England and Ireland take vastly different approaches to the Continent

It was Trieste that gave Joyce the sheer cosmopolitan energy that he infused back into the native city he had left in disgust, making it not the dull provincial nowhere he had fled but, in his reimagining, a European metropolis.

It was Trieste that gave Joyce the sheer cosmopolitan energy that he infused back into the native city he had left in disgust, making it not the dull provincial nowhere he had fled but, in his reimagining, a European metropolis.

Early on Sunday morning I was standing on the Via Cavana in Trieste having my photograph taken for Il Piccolo della Sera. This is of no earthly interest to anyone except that Il Piccolo della Sera was the newspaper for which James Joyce wrote, in perfect Italian of course, his most extensive incursions into journalism.

They were, for the most part, explanations of contemporary Irish politics and replies to the misrepresentations of the English press. I have always thought it a little odd that the most important commentaries on Irish affairs by arguably the most important Irish writer appeared in the local paper of a provincial Austro-Hungarian port city. But when you’re actually in Trieste and when the same newspaper wants to talk to you about Brexit, it doesn’t seem odd at all. It just seems European.

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