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In the footsteps of James Joyce in Trieste -

In the footsteps of James Joyce in Trieste –

The bronze statue of James Joyce on the Ponteroso River, which crosses the Grand Canal, is a popular image among tourists. Born in Ireland, he came to the port city in 1904. As a writer, he was just getting started. He appreciated going to the opera at Teatro Verdi and taking the lessons of Bel Canto himself.


Statue of Joyce in the ancient city of Trieste

Always in need of money

For some time, the family lived on the third floor of a house on Via della Barriera Vecchia 32. Today, a hotel and a pharmacy are located in the same building. The landlord at the time threw Joyce and his family into the street after the clerk could not pay the rent.

Former home of James Joyce in Trieste


The James Joyce family lived here on Via della Barriera Vecchia

He made his living by teaching English. And in between, he got a job as a banker in Rome to make money. Back in Trieste, his wife Nora was often worried, says tour guide Tiziana Zamay, because the money was barely enough to keep his family afloat. He also regularly asked wealthy friends or students who came from the upper class in Trieste for money. Time and time again he accumulated new debts, because laziness seemed to him the highest priority.

Perona Sweets in Trieste


Perona Sweets

Joyce likes to indulge in laziness

In Perona, where he was a regular guest between 1910 and 1912, everything remains the same as when it was founded. But James Joyce didn’t just come for coffee, says Tiziana Zamay: “He came here to Perona’s patisserie every day and ate a typical breakfast in Trieste: Presentz and also Torreoni. He also drank wine or spirits. So here in Trieste he ate and drank a lot and drank a lot. A lot and enjoy life.”

Tiziana Zamay in the Kavana region of Trieste


Tiziana Zmay in front of a former brothel in the Kavanagh neighborhood

Before James Joyce moved to Paris in 1920, he lived for a time in the Cavana neighborhood on Via della Bescheria. Trieste was a wonderful port, the port of Austria-Hungary. So there was also a red light district here. James Joyce loved the ambiance of this neighborhood,” says Tiziana Zmay.

Shipping note:

Servos, Srikno, Zhao; 13.8.2022

According to tradition, he often turned night into day there: “His favorite brothel was here – and it was called Metro Kobo, that is, cubic meters. The rooms were very small, so it was like a simple sailor’s brothel. This neighborhood is also the inspiration for James Joyce. …when he speaks of Dublin’s Montgomery Street in Ulysses, he is probably describing the Cavanna district of Trieste.”

Pictures of James Joyce in Kavanaugh in Trieste


A collection full of memories of Joyce and Sevo

Today the hotel still bears his name there and on 13 Via Madonna del Mare there is a museum dedicated to James Joyce. Ricardo Sebach is the custodian of many of the book’s memorabilia. He is especially proud of this first edition of The Dubliners from 1914 with dedication. A similar work by the author from this period recently sold at auction for €200,000.

Riccardo Sebach and Tiziana Zamay at the Joyce Museum


Riccardo Sebach and Tiziana Zamay at the Joyce Museum

Museum No. 13 Via della Madonna del Mare is not only dedicated to James Joyce. Aaron Hector Schmitz, born in Trieste, is also the center of attention. He would later go down in history under the pseudonym Italo Svevo. Despite the 20-year age difference, he and James Joyce shared not only a common love for literature, but a close friendship as well.

Picture of Joyce and Sifu

Municipality of Trieste

This is the only photograph in which James Joyce (third from left) and Italo Svevo (second from right) can be seen together.

Joyce Svevo encouraged writing

Svevo’s daughter Leticia Fonda Savio recalled James Joyce’s visit to her parents’ house in an interview: “James Joyce came to us in Villa Veneziani and read his own books for the first time – for my father and mother. My father said they were very beautiful and very interesting. Then he said shyly: ‘I also wrote Something, but nobody talked about it.’ And Joyce said to him, ‘Give me your books please. Then, when he came to Villa Veneziani for the second time, he said to my father, ‘Do you know that you are a great writer?’

Ricardo Sebach says that Joyce’s admiration for Svevo’s work kindled in him a desire to write actively: “The young man encouraged his older fellow artists.”

Exhibits on Italo Svevo


Memories of Italo Svivo

A private literature museum has been established

The two spoke and wrote to each other in the triple dialect – for Joyce the language of a world in which no one lies.

Whether it is Rainer Maria Rilke, Umberto Sava, Sriko Kosoville or the recently deceased Boris Pahor – the linguistic diversity that characterizes the book in the coastal city will be documented in a separate museum in the future, says Riccardo Sibach: “In their works, these book reflect the history of Trieste once again The twentieth century in particular was fraught with conflict. It is the basis of being able to accurately explain all the details we are talking about.” It is not yet certain when the museum will open.

Brochures about Trieste-related book


Many writers have found and continue to find inspiration in Trieste

Bloomsday wants to make literature accessible

What has been fixed is that next year’s “Flower Day” will be held again on June 16th. It is named after Leopold Bloom, the main character in the novel “Ulysses”, which was published exactly a hundred years ago. It is set in a single day, June 16, 1904, and provides insight into everyday life in Dublin.

Every year on Bloomsday in Trieste a chapter of the work is artistically prepared. It is an interesting and interesting way to delve into this work, says Ricardo Sebach: “As we know, it is very comprehensive and well-researched. Many readers find it difficult to understand. In this way, we also want to make it palatable to a wider audience. In this way, James’s world literature should be Joyce is available to everyone.

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