Friday, 28 July 2017

Edgar Quinet in Finnegans Wake


Quinet by Sebastien–Melchior Cornu
'Today, as in the days of Pliny and Columella, the hyacinth disports in Gaul, the periwinkle in Illyria, the daisy on the ruins of Numantia; and while around them the cities have changed masters and names, while some have ceased to exist, while the civilisations have collided with one another and shattered, their peaceful generations have passed through the ages, and have come up to us, one following the other, fresh and cheerful as on the days of the battles'

That's a sentence from the French historian Edgar Quinet (1803-75), which Joyce gives in the original French on page 281 of the Wake. It's the only undistorted quotation in the whole book. Joyce loved this sentence so much that he would recite it from memory.

'He recited a page from Quinet, which satisfied him completely, a description on which he embroidered for several pages in 'Work in Progress': the whole atmosphere of the Mediterranean is in it, he said, its ports, its flowers, the azure sky, the sun on the sea. In that passage he felt at home.'

Jacques Mercanton, 'The Hours of James Joyce', 1963 (reprinted in Portaits of the Artist in Exile p 239)

In 1953, the Irish tenor John Sullivan told Richard Ellmann that Joyce astounded him one day by reciting the sentence to him while they were walking by Montparnasse cemetery, along the Boulevard Edgar Quinet. Quinet lies buried here

THE DAYS OF PLINY AND COLUMELLA

Pliny the Elder

Joyce summed up the sentence in a letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver: 'E.Q. says that the wild flowers on the ruins of Carthage, Numancia etc have survived the political rises and falls of Empires' (Let I: 295). Quinet uses classical Rome as the example of empire. Pliny the Elder and Columella were the great Roman writers on nature: Pliny wrote a massive Natural History and Columella wrote books on Agriculture and Trees. Numantia was a city in Spain whose inhabitants committed suicide rather than surrender to the Romans. Illyria in the western Balkans and Gaul (France) were also conquered by Rome.

Columella
Joyce said he 'felt at home' in this sentence. He shared Quinet's detached view of history, eternally repeating the same events. Ellmann tells us that, when Samuel Beckett spoke of Nazi persecution of the Jews, Joyce pointed out that there had been similar persecutions before. In later life, says Ellmann, Beckett 'thought this ability to contemplate with telescopic eye Joyce's most impressive characteristic, and quoted four lines from Pope's 'Essay on Man' to illustrate:

Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms of sytems into ruin hurled,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.'  (Ellmann p.709)

METCHNIKOFF

Léon Metchnikoff  (1838-88)
In The Books at the Wake, J.S.Atherton identified the source of the quotation as Quinet's Introduction à La Philosophie de l'Histoire de l'Humanité. Clive Hart spotted six misquotations in Joyce's text, and suggested that this was 'almost certainly due to faulty memory'. But Inge Landuyt discovered that Joyce's source was not Quinet's original but Léon Metchnikoff's La Civilisation et les Grands Fleuves Historiques (1889). Joyce follows Metchnikoff 's misquotations of the text ('au temps de Pline' instead of 'aux jours de Pline' and 'entrées' instead of 'rentrées').

Metchnikoff was a social scientist, who wrote about the impact of the environment on history in particular the role of great rivers in shaping early civilizations. Joyce read his book in early 1924, when he was gathering research for his own river chapter, Anna Livia Plurabelle. You can read Ingeborg Landuyt and Geert Lernout's article about Joyce's uses of Metchnikoff online, in Genetic Joyce Studies. 

I've also found Metchnikoff's book online. Here's the page where Joyce found Quinet's sentence.


THE BOUTS OF HEBEAR AND HAIRYMAN

In 1926, two years after finding the sentence, Joyce wrote the opening chapter of the Wake, which is a panoramic view of the prehistory of Dublin.  This was the perfect place to include Quinet's sentence, and so he reshaped it and made it Irish:

'Thus, too, for donkey's years. Since the bouts of Hebear and Hairyman the cornflowers have been staying at Ballymun, the duskrose has choosed out Goatstown's hedges, twolips have pressed togatherthem by sweet Rush, townland of twinedlights,  the whitethorn and the redthorn have fairygeyed the mayvalleys of Knockmaroon, and, though for rings round them, during a chiliad of perihelygangs, the Formoreans have brittled the tooath of the Danes and the Oxman has been pestered by the Firebugs and the Joynts have thrown up jerrybuilding to the Kevanses and Little on the Green is childsfather to the City (Year! Year! And laughtears!), these paxsealing buttonholes have quadrilled across the centuries and whiff now whafft to us, fresh and made-of-all-smiles as, on the eve of Killallwho.' 14.35

Though Joyce's reworkings of Quinet are called parodies, I prefer Clive Hart's description of them as 'free translations into various dialects of 'Djoytsch''. In rewriting Quinet here, Joyce changed the setting from classical antiquity to Dublin. Rush, Knockmaroon, Goatstown, Ballymun and Little Green Market are all places in and around Dublin.

In Pliny and Columella, he saw his warring twins, Shem and Shaun. He also made Quinet's flowers female temptresses - seizing on the contrast between masculine and feminine forces in Quinet's sentence. Wars and cities, 'which change masters' are masculine. The peaceful flowers are feminine in the French ('la jacinthe...la pervenche...la marguerite'). Girls are often flowers in Finnegans Wake

'And they still nowanights and by nights of yore do all all bold floras of the field to their shyfaun lovers say only: Cull me ere I wilt to thee! and, but a little later: Pluck me whilst I blush! Well may they wilt, marry, and profusedly blush, be troth.' 15.19

'the bouts of Hebear and Hairyman'

The battles of he-bear and the hairy man (Esau?) and Heber and Heremon – the Irish equivalents of Romulus and Remus. The Irish traced their race back to Milesius of Spain, whose sons, Heber and Heremon were the first kings of the Gaels, ruling jointly until Heremon killed Heber. 

'twolips have pressed togatherthem by sweet Rush'

Kisses and tulips. The village of Rush, on the coast fifteen miles north of Dublin, is famous for its tulip fields. cf 'tulipbeds of Rush below' 526.06

'during a chiliad of perihelygangs' 

A thousand years. A chiliad is a group of a thousand, and it also includes the first war epic, the Iliad.  'perihelygangs'  going (gangs) around (peri) the sun (Helios), and so years. Hely in the Wake might suggest the Irish Governor General and enemy of Parnell, Tim Healy (Ireland is called 'Healiopolis' at 24.18).  It's a phrase suggestive of war and violence (gangs).

'the Formoreans have brittled the tooath of the Danes and the Oxman has been pestered by the Firebugs'

The Formoreans and the Tuatha de Danaan were two rival supernatural Irish races.  After being defeated by the Milesians, the Tuatha de Danaan retreated underground to become the aos sí (fairies). Also the tooth of the Danes, invaders who founded Dublin. The Danes called themselves Ostmen (men from the east), which became corrupted to Oxmen. So Dublin has an Oxmantown, the area north of the Liffey where the Danes were exiled at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion. The Firbolgs were another legendary Irish race, conquered by the Tuatha de Danaan but allowed to settle in Connacht.

'and the Joynts have thrown up jerrybuilding to the Kevanses'

The Giants have thrown up jerry buildings. All our cities are 'jerry built', because the buildings will crumble in time, or be burned down ('firebugs' are arsonists). Shem and Shaun are also often called Jerry and Kevin

'these paxsealing buttonholes have quadrilled across the centuries'

Joyce takes Quinet's 'peaceful generations have passed through the ages...one following the other, fresh and cheerful' and creates a processional dance by the flowers, worn as buttonholes. Paxsealing - sealing peace. The alternation of peace and war.  In the marginal note next to the French text on page 281, Joyce wrote, 'BELLUM-PAX-BELUM'.

'the eve of Killallwho'

Joyce's version of Quinet's 'days of battles'. King Brian Boru, who defeated the Danes at the Battle of Clontarf had his stronghold at Killaloe. 'Kill all who' – the dead of Clontarf included included Brian Boru, his son Murchad, his grandson Toirdelbach, King Máel Mórda of Leinster and the Viking leaders Sigurd of Orkney and Brodir of Man.

THE FIRST VERSION

Here's the first draft of the sentence, written in pencil by Joyce in late 1926, from the Garland Press James Joyce Archive.






Joyce originally wrote 'the times of Hebear and Hairyman', then 'the high old times' before deciding on 'bouts'; 'townland of twinedlights' was originally 'the place for twilights', then 'twinlights'; 'during a chiliad of perihelygangs' began as 'during a hundred thousand yeargangs'; 'valleys' became 'mayvalleys'; 'jerrybuilding' was originally 'wallmaking'; 'the eve of Kallallwho' was 'the day of combat', corrected to 'the day of Killallwhoo' (though Joyce then lost the extra o).

Here's Joyce's fair (!) copy of November 1926. The only additions here are the parenthesis '('Year. year. laughtears!)' and 'whaft' added to 'whift'.




Here's Joyce's second reworking of Quinet's sentence, from the Hen chapter, written in 1927. Here he's taken just the structure of the sentence and applied it to new subjects, the passing on of the Letter and the brewing of tea and alcohol:

Since nozzy Nanette tripped palmyways with Highho Harry there’s a spurtfire turf a’kind o’kindling when oft as the souff souff blows her peaties up and a claypot wet for thee, my Sitys, and talkatalka tell Tibbs has eve: and whathough (revilous ife proving aye the death of ronaldses when winpower wine has bucked the kick on poor won man) billiousness has been billiousness during milliums of millenions and our mixed racings have been giving two hoots or three jeers for the grape, vine and brew and Pieter’s in Nieuw Amsteldam and Paoli’s where the poules go and rum smelt his end for him and he dined off sooth american (it would give one the frier even were one a normal Kettlelicker) this oldworld epistola of their weatherings and their marryings and their buryings and their natural selections has combled tumbled down to us fersch and made-at-all-hours like an ould cup on tay. 

117.16-30

For his third version, in the Games chapter, written in 1930, Joyce brought in Romulus and Remus and developed the dancing flower theme:

Since the days of Roamaloose and Rehmoose the pavanos have been strident through their struts of Chapelldiseut, the vaulsies have meed and youdled through the purly ooze of Ballybough, many a mismy cloudy has tripped taintily along that hercourt strayed reelway and the rigadoons have held ragtimed revels on the platauplain of Grangegorman; and, though since then sterlings and guineas have been replaced by brooks and lions and some progress has been made on stilts and the races have come and gone and Thyme, that chef of seasoners, has made his usual astewte use of endadjustables and whatnot willbe isnor was, those danceadeils and cancanzanies have come stimmering down for our begayment through the bedeafdom of po's taeorns, the obcecity of pa's teapucs, as lithe and limbfree limber as when momie mummed at ma. 

236.19-32

The fourth use of Quinet, furthest from the original, comes at the end of the Joyce's war story of Buckley and the Russian general.

'When old the wormd was a gadden and Anthea first unfoiled her limbs wanderloot was the way the wood wagged where opter and apter were samuraised twimbs. They had their mutthering ivies and their murdhering idies and their mouldhering iries in that muskat grove but there’ll be bright plinnyflowers in Calomella’s cool bowers when the magpyre’s babble towers scorching and screeching from the ravenindove.'

354.22-36

The final use of Quinet was one of the last pieces of Finnegans Wake to be composed, in 1938. Joyce wrote it when he was tying together the opening and closing chapters. It has a place of honour, introducing Anna Livia Plurabelle's letter, delivered at last, and her final monologue. The passage is a sort of summary of the book. It's very dense but look out for the days of Pliny and Columella, and the flowers la jacinthe, la pervenche and la marguerite:

'Our wholemole millwheeling vicociclometer, a tetradomational gazebocroticon (the “Mamma Lujah” known to every schoolboy scandaller, be he Matty, Marky, Lukey or John-a- Donk), autokinatonetically preprovided with a clappercoupling smeltingworks exprogressive process, (for the farmer, his son and their homely codes, known as eggburst, eggblend, eggburial and hatch-as-hatch can) receives through a portal vein the dialytically separated elements of precedent decomposition for the verypetpurpose of subsequent recombination so that the heroticisms, catastrophes and eccentricities transmitted by the ancient legacy of the past, type by tope, letter from litter, word at ward, with sendence of sundance,since the days of Plooney and Columcellas when Giacinta, Pervenche and Margaret swayed over the all-too-ghoulish and illyrical and innumantic in our mutter nation all, anastomosically assimilated and preteridentified paraidiotically, in fact, the sameold gamebold adomic structure of our Finnius the old One, as highly charged with electrons as hophazards can effective it, may be there for you, Cockalooralooraloomenos, when cup, platter and pot come piping hot, as sure as herself pits hen to paper and there's scribings scrawled on eggs.'  61427-615.10

The best thing written about Joyce's uses of Quinet is Clive Hart's article in Structure and Motif in Finnegans Wake, which you can read online here. Here he reveals that 'Mr Frank Budgen insists that Joyce detested flowers'!

I've always loved Joyce's first reworking of Qunet in the opening chapter. When Derek Pyle of Waywords and Meansigns asked me to read a passage, this was the bit I chose. You can hear me stumbling over the words here.

From Mary Ellen Bute's film of the Wake


 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Travesties: The Henry Carr Trouser Saga


Joyce lovers have an absolute treat on offer right now in the West End of London. Yer man himself is being beautifully brought to life by the Dublin actor Peter McDonald (right), who looks like a more handsome version of Joyce.

This is Patrick Marber's revival of Tom Stoppard's 1974 comedy Travesties. It sold out almost instantly at the Menier Chocolate Factory, but has now transferred to the beautiful Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. We caught a Saturday matinée last month.

Stoppard's play was inspired by reading Richard Ellmann's account of the wonderful Henry Carr Trouser Saga of 1918. Carr was a junior official at the Consulate at Zurich, cast by Joyce as Algernon Moncrieff in his production of 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.
 
After the production, Carr told Joyce that he expected to be paid for a pair of trousers he'd bought for the part. Joyce answered that these were not a costume but could be worn as everyday clothing. Carr then called Joyce a cad and a swindler and threatened to wring his neck if he met him on the street.

From the theatre programme
Joyce sued Carr for libel and for the price of five tickets sold by Carr. Carr countersued for the cost of the trousers....Everybody lost.

Joyce later got his revenge, three times. He mocked Carr in an October 1918 poem, 'New Tipperary' (left).

He also put him into Ulysses, as the most foul-mouthed character in the whole bookthe English soldier who assaults Stephen Dedalus in the Circe episode:

PRIVATE CARR (With ferocious articulation.) I'll do him in, so help me fucking Christ! I'll wring the bastard fucker's bleeding blasted fucking windpipe!

His third revenge was to get Herbert Gorman to put the whole story, at great length, in his 1941 authorised biography. This bit was almost certainly written by Joyce himself:

'It became noticeable to the entire company that Carr's behaviour towards Joyce was one of veiled indefinable hostility, an insolence unreasonable and unwarrantable in a young man of no particular talents towards one who was older and far more experienced in life and certainly of greater and more recognized achievement.'

Stoppard was excited to learn that two other revolutionary figures were also in Zurich at the same time as Joyce Lenin and Tristan Tzara, the leading Dadaist. The problem was that their dates don't quite match. In 1918, when Carr was fighting Joyce about his trousers, Lenin was already in power in Russia.

The solution was to filter the story through the recollections of the fantasising amnesiac 80 year-old Henry Carr, who places himself at the centre of events, and also muddles up the plot of Wilde's play with his encounters with the others. 

So Carr and Tzara play the roles of Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, while Joyce, appearing at one point in a dress, is Lady Augusta Bracknell. We learn that his middle name really was Augusta.

TZARA: I say, do you know someone called Joyce?
CARR: Joyce is a name which could only expose a child to comment around the font.
TZARA; No, no, Mr Joyce, Irish writer, mainly of limericks, christened James Augustine, though registered, due to a clerical error, as James Augusta, a little known fact. 

 
Carr, both young and old, is beautifully played by Tom Hollander, who has to begin with a challenging twelve minute circling monologue in which he attempts to shape his memories of Joyce and the others

CARR:....now then – Memories of James Joyce...It's coming.
  To those of us who knew him, Joyce's genius was never in doubt. To be in his presence was to be aware of an amazing intellect bent on shaping itself into the permanent form of its own monument – the book the world now knows as Ulysses! Though at the time we were still calling it (I hope memory serves) by its original title, Elasticated Bloomers.
  (Joyce was) a complex personality, an enigma, a contradictory spokesman for the truth, an obessive litigant who wished his total indifference to public notice to be universally recognised – in short a liar and a hypocrite, a tightfisted, sponging, fornicating drunk not worth the paper, that's that bit done.' 


TROUSER OBSESSION 


A delightful running joke has Carr as trouser-obsessed.

CARR: Ah yes...the war, always the war....I was in Savile Row when I heard the news, talking to the head cutter at Drewitt and Madge in a hounds-tooth check slightly flared behind the knee, quite unusual. Old Drewitt, or Madge, came in and told me. Never trusted the Hun, I remarked. Boche, he replied, and I, at that time unfamiliar with the appellation, turned on my heel and walked into Trimmett and Punch, where I ordered a complete suit of harris knicker-bockers with hacking vents.

CARR:  Oh, what nonsense you talk!
TZARA: It may be nonsense but at least it's not clever nonsense. Cleverness has been exploded, along with so much else, by the war.
CARR: You forget that I was there, in the mud and blood of a foreign field, unmatched by anything in the whole history of human carnage. Ruined several pairs of trousers. Nobody who has not been in the trenches can have the faintest conception of the horror of it. I had hardly set foot in France before I sank up to the knees in a pair of twill jodhpurs with pigskin straps handstitched by Ramidge and Hawkes. And so it went on – until I was invalided out with a bullet through the calf of an irreplaceable lambswool dyed khaki in a yarn to my own specification. 

Stoppard perceptively noticed that Joyce, though a dandy like Carr in many ways, made up his own rules about how to dress.

Joyce in mismatched jacket and trousers (Beinecke Library, Yale Univ).
JOYCE: I have only one request to make of you –
CARR: And I have only one request to make of you – why for God's sake cannot you contrive just once to wear the jacket that is suggested by your trousers??
(It is indeed the case that Joyce is now wearing the other halves of the outfit he wore in Act One)
JOYCE (With dignity): If I could do it once, I could do it every time. My wardrobe got out of step in Trieste, and its reciprocal members pass each other endlessly in the night. Now – could you let me have the twenty-five francs? 


This 1904 photograph shows that Joyce was wearing mismatched trousers long before Trieste.


THE ARTIST IN SOCIETY

At the heart of the play is a debate about the role of the artist in society Carr and Lenin (Forbes Masson) think that the artist has a social responsibility, and both hate modern art:

CARR & LENIN: Expressionism, futurism, cubism...I don't understand them and I get no pleasure from them.
CARR: That's my point. There was nothing wrong with Lenin except his politics.

TZARA: You could have spent the time in Switzerland as an artist.
CARR (coldly): My dear Tristan, to be an artist at all is like living in Switzerland during a world war. To be an artist in Zurich, in 1917, implies a degree of self-absorption that would have glazed the eyes of Narcissus.

Lenin argues that literature should play a practical role in creating a Socialist society, and that it should be free from the individual expression of men like Tzara and Joyce.

LENIN: Today, literature must become party literature. Down with non-partisan literature! Down with literary supermen! Literature must become a part of the common cause of the proletariat...We want to establish and we shall establish a free press...free from bourgeois anarchist individualism!

Joyce was the ultimate anarchist individualist, as he said himself in his 1916 poem 'Dooleysprudence':

Who is the tranquil gentleman who won’t salute the State
Or serve Nebuchadnezzar or proletariat
But thinks that every son of man has quite enough to do
To paddle down the stream of life his personal canoe?

It’s Mr Dooley,
Mr Dooley,
The wisest wight our country ever knew
‘Poor Europe ambles
Like sheep to shambles’
Sighs Mr Dooley-ooley-ooley-oo.


The bigger debate is between the conceptual artist,Tzara, who says that 'a man may be an artist by exhibiting his hindquarters', and Joyce, the master magician and creative craftsman. McDonald brings a stillness and authority to the role of Joyce, contrasting with the dancing grace and gaiety of Freddie Fox's Tristan Tzara.

TZARA: Your art has failed. You've turned literature into a religion and it's as dead as all the rest, it's an overripe corpse and you're cutting fancy figures at the wake. It's too late for geniuses! Now we need vandals and desecrators, simple-minded demolition men to smash centuries of baroque subtlety, to bring down the temple and thus finally, to reconcile the shame and the necessity of being an artist! Dada! Dada! Dada!
(He starts to smash whatever crockery is to hand; which done, he strikes a satisfied pose. JOYCE has not moved) 

Freddie Fox as Tzara
JOYCE: You are an over-excited little man, with a need for self-expression far beyond the scope of your natural gifts. This is not discreditable. Neither does it make you an artist. An artist is the magician put among men to gratify – capriciously – their urge for immortality. The temples are built and brought down around him, continuously and contiguously, from Troy to the field of Flanders. If there is any meaning in any of it, it is in what survives as art, yes even in the celebration of tyrants, yes even in the celebration of nonentities. What now of the Trojan War if it had been passed over by the artist's touch? Dust. A forgotten expedition prompted by Greek merchants looking for new markets. But it is we who stand enriched, by a tale of heroes, of a golden apple, a wooden horse, a face that launched a thousand ships – and above all by Ulysses, the wanderer, the most human, the most complete of all heroes – husband, father, son, lover, farmer, soldier, pacifist, politician, inventor and adventurer. It is a theme so overwhelming that I am almost afraid to treat it. And yet I with my Dublin Odyssey will double that immortality, yes by God, there's a corpse that will dance for some time yet and leave the world precisely as it finds it – and if you hope to shame it into the grave with your fashionable magic, I would strongly advise you to try and acquire some genius and if possible some subtlety before the season is quite over. Top o'the morning Mr Tzara!
(with which JOYCE pulls a rabbit out of his hat, puts the hat on his head, and leaves, holding the rabbit.)

Tristan Tzara
Stoppard is clearly on Joyce's side here, though, reviewing the original production in 1974, both Kenneth Tynan and Michael Billington took issue with the idea that Ulysses left the world 'precisely as it found it'. Tynan wrote, 'So much for any pretensions that art might have to change, challenge, or criticize the world, or to modify, however marginally, our view of it.' Billington asked, 'How can Ulysses be said to have left the world as it found it? Is changing people's consciousness and extending the range of the novel not as much a way of affecting the world as passing a piece of legislation?' Billington makes the same point in his review of the revival.

 

A JOYCEAN PLAY

 

Travesties is Joycean in spirit. Like Ulysses, it switches from style to style, from a scene in limericks, to Shakespearian pastiche and a history lecture.  There's a duet between Clare Foster’s Cicely and Amy Morgan’s Gwendolen which parodies the 1922 vaudeville song 'Mr Gallagher and Mr Shean'.  In a nice touch from Marber, they are accompanied by Joyce playing a guitar just like the real instrument he owned in Zurich, now in the Martello Tower, which you can see being played here.
 
Amy Morgan (Gwendolen) and Clare Foster (Cicely)

There's also a section written in the schoolbook catechism style of the Ithaca episode of Ulysses:

JOYCE: What, reduced to their simplest reciprocal form, were Tzara's thoughts about Ball's thoughts about Tzara, and Tzara's thoughts about Ball's thoughts about Tzara's thoughts about Ball?
TZARA: He thought that he thought that he knew what he was thinking, whereas he knew that he knew that he knew that he did not.  

What, reduced to their simplest reciprocal form, were Bloom's thoughts about Stephen's thoughts about Bloom and Bloom's thoughts about Stephen's thoughts about Bloom's thoughts about Stephen?
  He thought that he thought that he was a Jew whereas he knew that he knew that he knew that he was not.
  

AND WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE GREAT WAR?


Act One ends with a beautiful speech from Carr.

Well it was a long time ago. He left Zurich after the war, went to Paris, stayed twenty years and turned up here in December 1940. Another war...But he was a sick man then, perforated ulcer, and in January he was dead...buried one cold snowy day in the Fluntern cemetery up the hill.
  I dreamed about him, dreamed I had him in the witness box, a masterly cross-examination, case practically won, admitted it all, the whole thing, the trousers, everything, and I flung at him –'And what did you do in the Great War?' 'I wrote Ulysses,' he said. 'What did you do?'
  Bloody nerve.
(BLACKOUT)

That's such a well-known quotation that many people imagine that it really was said by Joyce. 

Picture from the Mission Impossible: Ulysses blog

After the original production, Stoppard was excited and alarmed to get a letter from a Mrs Noel Carr, who wrote, 'I was totally fascinated by the reviews of your play – the chief reason being that Henry Carr was my late husband until he died in 1962.' 

Stoppard learned that Carr had been badly wounded in 1916, and had spent five days lying in no-man's land, until he was taken prisoner by the Germans. He was then treated in a monastery before being sent as an exchange prisoner to Switzerland, where he encountered Joyce. You can see why a man who had been through those horrors would see the author of 'Dooleysprudence' as a cad.

Mrs Carr sent Stoppard this 1917 photograph of a trouser-free Carr, in his Black Watch uniform, which Ellmann printed in the second edition of his biography of Joyce.


Travesties is on at the Apollo Theatre until the end of April, and there are tickets for as little as £20. What a bargain!