James Joyce’s final resting place
A chara, – I read in The Irish Times of Dublin City Council’s motion to repatriate James Joyce’s body, and that Cllr Dermot Lacey had been contacted by “local Joyceans in Sandymount” who said that the writer wished to be buried in Ireland (“Return writer’s remains to Ireland, say Dublin councillors”, News, October 15th).
Joyce never expressed any wish to be buried in Ireland. (Anthony Jordan has uncovered one letter which suggests that Nora, his widow, expressed a wish for his repatriation in 1948, but the evidence for this is less conclusive than Mr Jordan claims.)
Zurich has done very well for Joyce with a beautiful statue at his grave and it is an entirely fitting city for him to be buried: besides being the city where he died, it is where he wrote large parts of Ulysses.
Furthermore, there is a line in Finnegans Wake that seems to anticipate Joyce’s burial in Fluntern cemetery: “As the lion in our teargarten rememberers the nenuphars of his Nile”: Fluntern is right next to the Zurich zoo; the German word for zoo is Tiergarten. Joyce himself remarked that in the cemetery you can hear lions roaring in the nearby zoo.
So, “teargarten” is a lovely little compound word that combines zoo with cemetery (a tear garden) and one can indeed hear lions in the teargarten from right by Joyce’s grave. – Yours, etc,
Dr SAM SLOTE,
School of English,
Trinity College Dublin,