Crisis Magically Sparks Rebirth of Literary Culture

Cork – Inspired by the stern and ancient wisdom of the Catholic Church, doom prophets like Kevin Myers of The Independent have been castigating Ireland for the materialism that led to the crisis and predicting that a brutal EU/IMF penance will be good for us, as it may spark the rebirth of a humanistic culture.

To the surprise of everyone, this actually seems to be happening.

"Actually, his stuff isn't as bad as you'd think," said Pat Doran.

"Actually, his stuff isn't as bad as you'd think," said Pat Doran.

The nation is suddenly awash in James Joyce reading clubs, with groups of ordinary citizens gathering across the nation to discuss the finer points of Finnegan’s Wake and other high modernist fiction on a regular basis.

Joyce’s novels, previously thought unreadable by virtually everyone in the country, have become unexpectedly popular of late as many members of the public find themselves with a lot more free time on their hands.

“Someone gave me a copy of Ulysses years ago,” said Pat Doran (32), an unemployed real estate agent from Macroom, Co. Cork. “And, sure, it was just rustin’ away up on the shelf alongside the Bible and the Encyclopedia Britannica.”

“But, by God, wasn’t I sitting there a few months ago flickin’ through daytime TV and I just thought to myself, should I not try and read an oul’ book? And as I had a lot of time to kill, I thought I may as well make it a big one.”

Astonished at his own behaviour, Mr. Doran took down the copy of Ulysses and was pleasantly surprised to find some stuff that was pretty good.

“There were some lines in it I thought might make a good laugh, so when I was down in Kinsale I remarked to another man looking at the sea: ‘Isn’t the sea what they say it is, a great grey mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea.’”

Joyce's immortal description made Ireland's snotgreen scrotumtightening sea famous.

Joyce's immortal description made Ireland's snotgreen scrotumtightening sea famous.

“I didn’t know scrotumtightening was a word before and I’d been dyin’ to try it out but, Jesus, didn’t yer man turn and look at me in wonder and reply, ‘Epi opinum pontun.’”

Mr. Doran shook his head at the recollection. “It was amazing, it was like the spirit of Ulysses looking out at the wine-dark sea of Homer was standing right behind us, opening a vista on an eternal cycle of unknowable but briefly glimpsed order. We had to go have some chips after that.”

That fortuitous meeting between Pat Doran and John McKiernan led to the foundation of the James Joyce Reading Club, which rapidly opened chapters all across Cork and then spread northward throughout the country.

“Each week we’d have a few new people showing up,” said Mr. McKiernan, picking up the story. “Everyone was a little bit embarrassed at first to be meeting on a Thursday afternoon, as it was an admission that none of us had a job, but as time went on we got used to it. Every week we’d have new members of the unemployed shuffling in, twisting their caps in their hands, just wanting to talk with someone else about Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”

Mr. McKiernan (39), a debonair former theatrical agent who was been drawing the dole since 2008, said, “We’d give them a cup of tea and a sandwich and then all discuss whether or not the opening chapter was written from a first-person viewpoint or not. I mean, how could he use words like ‘moocow’ if it isn’t the child narrator speaking? But he seems to be writing in the third-person.”

“Brilliant use of free indirect speech,” he added appreciatively.

An overjoyed David Norris enthralls a packed audience with his interpretation of "Chamber Music."

An overjoyed David Norris enthralls a packed audience with his interpretation of "Chamber Music."

Senator David Norris broke down in tears of joy when discussing the phenomenon. For years a celebrity national eccentric for being the only person alive to actually read all of Ulysses, Senator Norris has suddenly found himself in great demand across the country.

“I get requests pouring in every day, so many I can hardly keep up with them,” said Senator Norris, beaming through the tears of rejoicing flowing down his cheeks. “Just the other day the city of Galway asked me to come and give a public lecture on Northrop Frye’s contention that Finnegan’s Wake is the central defining myth of our time.”

“There were at least 10,000 people in the audience, all with their free soup from the nearby soup kitchen, listening to every word.”

Cultural observers record similar enthusiasm across all the arts, with powerfully original new bands springing up in garages across the country and indie film festivals showing great creativity on small budgets.

Typically, the doom prophets predict it will all end in tears. “Sure, we’ll have the Second Irish Renaissance,” said Kevin Myers sarcastically. “And then what? We’ll just have even more unreadable books to force down the throats of our children’s children at school.”

“It’s the punishment we deserve for our reckless artistic creativity.”

One Response to Crisis Magically Sparks Rebirth of Literary Culture

  1. ancruiskeenlawnmower says:

    Tried to read ‘Portrait’ once, hmmph…it was like a child wrote it! Moocow indeed.

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