Did Joyce teach unplugged as an EFL teacher in Trieste or Yssel entertaining and talking at his students the Limatt to what he did?

The Platzspitz in Zurich, where the rivers Sihl and Limmat meet, was one of Joyce's favourite places when he was in Zurich (1915-1919)  He of course used the river names along with hundreds of other rivers in Finnegans Wake.  "Yssel that the limmat?"

The Platzspitz in Zurich, where the rivers Sihl and Limmat meet, was one of Joyce's favourite places when he was in Zurich (1915-1919) He of course used the river names along with hundreds of other rivers in Finnegans Wake. "Yssel that the limmat?" "The 'j' s were put in the names here on this postcard to get James Joyce's initials in." (Fritz Senn, the James Joyce Foundation, Zurich)

We mostly know Joyce as a modernist writer,a little less as a linguist and proficient language learner,even less as an EFL teacher and rarely for his love of rivers.

all thim liffeying waters (the role/roll of the rivers)

river run,past Eve and Adam’s from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recircultation back to Howth Castle and Environs (the opening of Finnegans Wake)

Rivers flowed through the whole of his life and his work. While living in Zurich,(and check out the James Joyce foundation if you ever go there) he often frequented the confluence of the Limmat and the Sihl. Being by these rivers mirrored an experience in Ireland where he had sat at The Meeting of the Waterssmall_Meeting Waters Color a famous beauty spot where the Avonmore and Avonbeg Rivers meet to form the Avoca River.

He had grown up on the Liffey in Dublin and the Livia part of the main female character in Finnegans Wake, Anna Livia Plurabelle, is partly an echo of that river.

End here. Us then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thousendsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the

End here. Us then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thousendsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the................. Paris 1922-1939

In the main Anna Livia Plurabella section in Finnegans Wake, hundreds of rivers are interwoven into the text. Of course he had the Danube in there too (Duna in Hungarian): “For the Dove of the Dunas (FW page 203) ” img015He deserves a starring role on this blog if only for this!

Joyce’s lingustic background, how he became an EFL teacher and my visit to Trieste

By the time Joyce went to university he had already studied French, Latin and Italian.

At university, alongside his English degree, he continued to study French and Italian both with native speakers in small groups. All of this experience will have influenced the way in which he taught later.

( Lortie 1975, Apprenticeship of Observation)

“He even ran away with hunself and became a farsoonerite, saying he wold far sooner muddle through the hash of lentils in Europe than meddle with Irrland’s split little pea.” Finnegans Wake (p 171)

Like many native English speaker teachers, Joyce left home to see the world and teach English in the process. In 1904, at the age of 22, he ended up in Pula by the sea on the Istrian peninsula teaching English. He was undoubtedly a talented linguist but without any formal CELTA, DELTA, PGCE or any other university teacher training qualification in ELT; his BA degree from University College Dublin was flatteringly translated for him into a “dottore in filosofia”.

Interestingly, later in 1912, he did take written and oral exams in Padua, over a period of 3 days, to become a teacher in an Italian state school, his marks were excellent, English composition 50 out of 50 points, dictation in English 50 out of 50 points, translation into English of a pasage by an Italian author 50 out of 50, although there was no methodology component, surprise, surprise! However, unfortunately for Joyce, the Italian authorities would not recognise his Dublin degree and the whole thing fell through.

In Pula though, he was proudly paraded as the new native English teacher in the local Berlitz private language school, no problem with lack of teacher qualifications, but the owner hoped his new asset would attract more students merely by being an educated native speaker of English. It worked, and, happily for the owner of the school, most of the students were rich, including officers of the Austro-Hungarian navy. In Pula there is now a cafe named after Joyce in the town centre,well worth a visit if you are ever in Istria. A year later in 1905  he moved to the Trieste Berlitz school.

Outside the Joyce cafe in Pula, where Jim landed his first EFL job in 1904

Outside the Joyce cafe in Pula, where Joyce landed his first EFL job in 1904

Five years ago I attended the annual Joyce summer school in Trieste, organised by John McCourt and Renzo Crivelli and promptly fell in love with the town and the joys of Joyce.

I had been a fan for a long time, but experiencing Trieste first hand gave me much more insight into his life than I had ever got from being in Dublin. In fact, the Dubliners, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are all deeply influenced by Joyce’s time in Trieste. Ulyssees would never have been written in the way it was, if Joyce hadn’t left Ireland and he turned the whole novel into an exploration of the wanderings of a Jew with a Hungarian background through the streets of Dublin, such was the impact on him of the Jewish community in Trieste.


“For much of the Oriental, Jewish and Greek elements of Ulysses, for much of the multilingual chaos of “Circe” and Finnegans Wake, Trieste was his principle source, his ‘citta immediata’ (FW p228) ” ( The Years of Bloom. John McCourt). John’s book is a fabulous read and the best book I know about Joyce in Trieste.

As a challenge to both British nationalism, negative forms of Irish nationalism and anti-semitism in general (particularly here in Hungary today), a reading of Ulyssses has a key role to play and it all came out of Joyce’s experiences living amongst many different nationalities in the port city of Trieste.

James Joyce, unplugged in Trieste, 1905-1915

This ELT blog has given me both a pretext and a context to write about something I’ve mulled over for many years: James Joyce the EFL teacher. When attending the Joyce summer school, it was this aspect of his life that  most intrigued me. Renzo Crivelli, a teacher at the English faculty of Trieste university, was kind enough to photocopy and give me pages from a notebook of one of Joyce’s private students, the surgeon Adriano Sturli.

In this notebook are notes written by both Joyce and Sturli, giving a powerful insight into the way in which Joyce must have taught.  These notes suggest a methodology which is very close to  “the learner participating in activity with a ‘better other’ (Thornbury) and ‘a teacher and a learner as co-participants in the generation of classroom discourse’ (Kumaravadivelu). (Teaching Unplugged, p11)

From the dogme yahoo group homepage

From the dogme yahoo group homepage

Unfortunately,we don’t have access to the classroom discourse, but the page in the student book itself, when subjected to close analysis, is very revealing in itself.

Looking at the notebook of any student that we teach always gives us valuable insights into what students notice in a lesson and consider worth writing down. In one2one teaching situations, writing in the student’s notebook alongside the student’s own notes can be very useful for the student. We sometimes do it in groups anyway, but it gives the student’s notebook a more personal, dialogic, interactive feel that may be remembered and relived when the student opens their notebook at a later date.

A great book published as a result of the re-organisation of the Joyce archive in Trieste and which led to many new documents relating to Joyce's time in Trieste as an EFL teacher.

An engaging book published as a result of the re-organisation of the Joyce archive in Trieste and which led to many new documents relating to Joyce's experiences in Trieste as an EFL teacher.

It is to Renzo Crivelli that I am indebted for the raw material in this post,but contexualised within the broader more recent Dogme tradition, as developed  by Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury, it allows a fresh perspecitive on how he taught and focuses on positive aspects of his teaching.

Key dogme principles are highlighted throughout this post, echoing those listed at the bottom  and suggest that Joyce, as a language teacher, may have been employing many aspects of this approach to language teaching 100 years ago. As the founder of the most famous of the early cinemas in Ireland in 1909, the Volta, Joyce may well have appreciated an approach to ELT

dogmefilmtake1which was drawn from a group of innovative Danish film makers, given his love of things  Dano-Norwegian!

A dogme analysis of Adriano Sturli’s notebook

Page 10 of the notebook: The student was a post-beginner. (Click on the notebook page to see it properly.) The handwriting takes some deciphering, at least Joyce’s does, but it’s worth the effort and it’s not much.

Page 10 of Sturli's note book in the middle of which Joyce writes "goddamn weather".

Page 10 of Sturli's note book, a wonderful insight into how James Joyce may have taught.

At the top of the page there are two words: “why?” and “because.” Not a bad place to start!  If Joyce believed that the words “why” and “because” were important to emphasise, then we might conclude that he was interested in his students thinking about language rather than just performing the drills outlined in the Berlitz book he was expected to teach from.

Sturli’s notebook contains a mixture of items that Joyce probably copied out from that book,but all of the spontaneous language mixed in there suggests that he was happy to digress from the textbook whenever he could and this is confirmed by those who knew the students who Joyce taught (see below).

After the words “why” and “because”, we can see “language”, “spell” with an Italian translation alongside it and “pronounce”, all good enabling language for students to know and be able to use to be a “co-constructor of the skills and knowledge” emerging from the lesson.

Soon after these words come “ask, receive, answer and dare”, suggesting that Joyce was interested in getting his students involved in the kind of scaffolded conversations characteristic of dogme classes.

Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning

Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning

Maybe he was telling his student that he should dare to ask questions and take risks in the classroom.

Joyce then moves on to teaching punctuation markers,  “a note of interrogation” (?) and ” a note of exclamation”. (!)

Totally out of the blue, we then see the expression “By Jove”, followed by “still” and its Italian equivalent “ancora” and “the goddamn weather”!  Made me laugh out loud! If you look closely, he started writing “By G…” and then wrote the J over the G.

By g.....By jove!

By g.....By jove!

Jove is derived from Jehovah, a form of the Hebrew name of God and saying  “by Jove” is a useful way of calling on the Almighty without using the blasphemous “by God”. Once a Catholic! Interestingly though, it didn’t stop him writing down the expression “goddamn” straight afterwards. One of the reasons Joyce left Ireland was what he considered to be the suffocating influence of the Catholic Church.

At that moment in the lesson, one can probably deduce that through the window Joyce could see one of those dramatic Adriatic electric storms; he was very scared of lightning. He then writes down “still” probably meaning that it was “still” raining or something connected to the storm and then chooses to turn it into an learning opportunity for his student by writing it down. (Affordances: the teacher’s role is to optimize language learning affordances through directing attention to emergent language.} I dare say there followed a brief exchange, maybe in Italian, about the aspects of the Northern Adriatic weather Joyce so disliked:

I went out yesterday for a walk in a big wood outside Trieste. The damned monotonous summer was over and the rain and soft air made me think of the beautiful (I am serious) climate of Ireland. I hate a damn silly sun that makes men into butter. I sat down miles away from everybody on a bench surrounded by tall trees. The Bora (the Trieste Wind) was roaring through the tops of the trees.

The famous Trieste bora blowing its inhabitants hither and thither

The famous Trieste bora trying to blow people off the bridge on the Grand Canal where there is a Joyce statue now!

After the little weather interlude he returns to the punctuation work,writing down “full stop” with its Italian equivalent “punto fermo” and then “empty”, in Italian “vuoto”, followed by “half” and then “phrase”before then writing the word “comma”. The word “full” then led to Joyce writing down one of its antonyms “empty”, and almost certainly led to him saying “Is the glass half empty or half full”,

half-empty or half-full? And Joyce always preferred white to red, he compared red wine to beefsteak. When he left Trieste for Zurich in 1915 he developed a taste for fendant de sion, sadly unavailable in Hungary!

half-empty or half-full? And Joyce always preferred white to red, he compared red wine to beefsteak. When he left Trieste for Zurich in 1915 he developed a taste for fendant de sion, sadly unavailable in Hungary!

otherwise he woudn’t have written down the word “phrase” immediately afterwards.

We can also imagine him using his glass of whatever he was drinking at the time as a prop to then perhaps go on to talk about optimism and pessimism.

The last word at the bottom of the left-hand-side of the page is bookcase, probably referring to a bookcase which was actually in the room that Joyce was doing the teaching in. Joyce often asked questions about the furniture in the room and the pictures on the walls where the lesson was taking place, encouraging students to observe their immediate classroom reality and see it as a resource for language learning.

The “goddamn weather” and the word  “cloudburst”, which appears in the middle of another page show that he was interested in what was going on inside and outside the classroom and saw these things not as unwanted distractions but as something to draw on for language learning.

At the top of the second half of the page in the notebook  Joyce wrote, “Doctors differ and patients die” showing clearly his awareness of the profession of his student and recognising the student’s voice, almost always helpful in teaching adults, if they have a profession or job. It may well be that here a discussion ensued on the lines of  the sentiments expressed in a later Irish poem using “Doctors differ and patients die” as it’s first line. Here’s the whole poem. Obviously we don’t know what happened next, but it would be fair to assume that the doctor will have had something to say about this humorous statement which will have created more job related language content to work on. ( students are most engaged by content they have created themselves)

Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses

Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses

To wrap up the note book analysis, it’s worth mentioning  the “neither…..nor” phrase which follows the doctor/patient expression and the word “pupil” translated into the Italian “scolaro”. This is a chunk of emergent grammar which Joyce obviously wanted to deal with and to get his student to practise in some way. Chances are that he didn’t think of introducing this at the beginning of the class and that it came up spontaneously as a result of the doctor/ patient expression.  Maybe that phrase was common in spoken English in 1913, it isn’t used much in spoken English now but it may still be a structure that is taught.  (Emergence: language and grammar emerge from the learning process. This is seen as distinct from the ‘acquisition’ of language.)

Finally, Sturli himself found the lessons very light-hearted and wrote about the difference in his and Joyce’s handwriting: ” You can see what a difference there is in our handwriting: mine gothic and rigid, his characterised by a nervous, Latinate cursive, which was probably also due to the less than sober state in which he would often present himself, hungry and thirsty in via del Carradori.

Anecdotes from people who knew Joyce,  were taught by Joyce or who collected stories about Joyce.

1) An Italian teacher, Alessando Francini Bruni, who was on very good terms with Joyce, said this about him in “Joyce intimo spogliato in piazza. (1922)”

Joyce’s lessons were filled with digressions and references to his personal life. In fact, during the conversation exercises which were intended to give the students practice in using specific words, Joyce was fond of quoting phrases and proverbs and recounting humorous situations on the spur of the moment.

2) Miss G, a former pupil of Joyce’s quoted in a 1948 article in Nuova Stampa Sera:

” Lessons never followed the same pattern but changed according to the teacher’s mood. Sometimes he would come into the sitting room, light a cigarette and say: ‘Listen, talk to me about something.’

(Engagement: students are most engaged by content they have created themselves.)

3) Richard Ellman in his seminal 1959 biography says of Joyce that:

“James invariably arrived late for his lessons, and after a brief drill began to converse about all manner of subjects: the lessons would end with teacher and pupil singing an Irish song together, after which James would slide down the bannister and leave, also very late. This “free and easy” appoach could certainly enthuse and, in objective terms, might even be more effective due to its immediacy…”

Richard Ellman's 1959 biography

Richard Ellman's 1959 biography

Ellman also describes a class Joyce had with three 14-year-old girls where

“almost anything could serve as  text of the girls’ lesson: a Shakespearean song or,one day, a fortune which Joyce had purchased from a beggar.”

It seems that Joyce had little difficuly in using whatever was available as material to be talked about in class putting him firmly into the materials light camp.

4) Mario Nordio,who was taught both by James Joyce and his brother Stanislaus and wrote about the differences between the two:

“The latter was the typical professor, rigid and deliberate. Jim was just the opposite…His mind was extremely agile, quick on the uptake and prepared to discuss all the topics of current interest and the most varied subjects imaginable. His conversation was always vivid and incisive, and so diversified that it was impossible to predict what he would talk about next. “

5) Renzo Crivelli says that when Joyce was teaching and giving encouragement to the most  famous Trieste writer, Italo Svevo, their lessons were “hardly limited to exchanging textbook phrases”. Svevo was impressed by the cultural breadth of the lessons and “while the professore (Joyce) used the standard texts of the period, such as the First Book for Teaching Modern Languages: English part for adults (Berlin, New York, Paris, London, St Petersburg: 1907,

The textbook Joyce was supposed to lead his students through was M.D Berlitz's First Book, a repetetive 91 page volume which aimed to teach English through the exclusive use of English, we can see from the notebook that Joyce took no notice of this!

The textbook Joyce was supposed to lead his students through was M.D Berlitz's First Book, a repetetive 91 page volume which aimed to teach English through the exclusive use of English, we can see from the notebook that Joyce took no notice of this!

used in all of the Berlitz schools, and Hermann Berger’s English Grammar, he would generally leave them lying open and unused on the table, instead preferring to invent extemporaneous topics of conversation that were often connected with the daily lives of his students. (Relevance: materials (eg texts, audios and videos) should have relevance for the learners)

Dogme principles revisited

Finally, if we revisit the 10 key principles of Dogme as listed below then I think we can say that Joyce was probably engaged in all of these to a greater or lesser extent in the lessons he taught, either one2on or in small groups. There is enough in the remarks of former pupils and the 20 pages of the student notebook, only one of which I’ve looked at in this blog post, to suggest that his classes had a strong dogme element in them.

There are many other wonderful pages in the notebook including foods that Joyce liked, zuchette, the Triestine form of zucchine, and melanzane (egg plant). Parts of the body feature too, obviously important for a surgeon!

Thanks Luke and Scott for assembling such a great collection of ideas and activities.”Teaching Unplugged”  (Delta 2009)

Teaching Unplugged, by Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury, was unveiled as one of this year’s British Council ELTons winners at a ceremony in London on 3rd March.

Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury separated by Lindsay Clandfield and their book "Teaching Unplugged"

Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury separated by Lindsay Clandfield and their book "Teaching Unplugged"

10 Principles of Dogme ELT

  1. Interactivity: the most direct route to learning is to be found in the interactivity between teachers and students and amongst the students themselves.
  2. Engagement: students are most engaged by content they have created themselves.
  3. Dialogic processes: learning is social and dialogic, where knowledge is co-constructed.
  4. Scaffolded conversations: learning takes place through conversations, where the learner and teacher co-construct the knowledge and skills.
  5. Emergence: language and grammar emerge from the learning process. This is seen as distinct from the ‘acquisition’ of language.
  6. Affordances: the teacher’s role is to optimize language learning affordances through directing attention to emergent language.
  7. Voice: the learner’s voice is given recognition along with the learner’s beliefs and knowledge.
  8. Empowerment: students and teachers are empowered by freeing the classroom of published materials and textbooks.
  9. Relevance: materials (eg texts, audios and videos) should have relevance for the learners.
  10. Critical use: teachers and students should use published materials and textbooks in a critical way that recognizes their cultural and ideological biases.


Of course Joyce wasn’t a conscious, reflective dogme teacher in action, but I think there is    enough evidence to suggest that he did spontaneously display some of the characteristics that we describe as dogme today. As a Joyce enthusiast rather than a Joycean, I have certainly benefited from and enjoyed taking a look at an aspect of Joyce which is hardly ever attended to out there in the scholary world of Joycean criticism. I can’t thank Renzo Crivelli enough for the local work he has done in Trieste and I hope that this post brings some of his observations to a wider ELT world, the dogme take is all my interpretation and responsibility and the first thing I want to do is to write to Renzo and see what he thinks of the angle I have taken on one of the most famous writers in ELT who more than just dabbled in English Language Teaching over a period of 10 years. ( See Lindsay Clandfield’s six things)

Five minute Joycean activities

The original Faber 1937 edition

The original Faber 1939 edition

I hope you’ve enjoyed the bits of Finnegans wake in this post. There are  so many laugh out loud moments in the text and now and again I take into class an odd sentence or two for the students to read in groups and see how many words or connotations they can find. Here’s a couple of  quotes which have usually gone down well, the second one involves seeing how many countries you can identify. It all keeps the brain ticking over and if you can’t get to sleep, Joyce’s book of the night is one to keep by your bedside, there is no book in the world anything like it!

1) He would wipe alley english spooker, multaphoniaksically spuking, off the face of the erse. (FW p178)  This is a good one to do with German speakers, there are about 70 languages in the wake.

2) You’ve seen all sorts in shapes and sizes, marauding about the moppamound. How’s the cock and the bullfight? And old Auster and Hungrig? And the Beer and Belly and the Boot and Ball? Not forgetting the oils of greas under that turkey in julep and Father Freeshots Feilbogen in his rockery garden with the costard? And tid you meet with Peadhar the Grab at all?  (FW p 464) It’s good to read out “the oils of greas” in a Dublin accent, let me know how many countries you managed to identify!

As for comments, “I amstel waiting. Garonne, garonne! (FW p 205) And you know where I’m leaving and where I’m on my way to on my twitter avatar, don’t you? 🙂

Trieste, ah Trieste ate I my liver (FW p301).  To eat one’s liver in Italian means to be eaten up with anger. Verlaine wrote: “O triste, triste était mon âme”. Oh, sad, sad was my soul. Joyce was ruining his liver with drink and Trieste ( était, ate I) was his livre (his book, Finnegans Wake and of course bits of Ulysses and the Dubliners) and his oeuvre (his work).  The Guinness is on me for anyone who can find any more meanings hiding in there waiting to get out!  Fun inn it, isn’t there?


If you are ever in Trieste we might meet up there one day, I go there regularly, swim in its sea, drink its wine, eat its fish and often wonder what life was like there in “old Auster and Hungrig” when Joyce lived there. It would have been great to observe one of his classes, wouldn’t it? Not that he would have let us sit quietly in the corner taking notes, so he wouldn’t!

” La nostra bella Trieste. I long to see the lights twinkling along the Riva as the train passes Miramar. After all Nora, it is the city which has sheltered us.”

21 thoughts on “Did Joyce teach unplugged as an EFL teacher in Trieste or Yssel entertaining and talking at his students the Limatt to what he did?

  1. Wow – what a beautiful piece. It’s a very natural, conversational use of the medium, taking me to places familiar (Lindsay’s blog) and unknown (the Meeting of the Waters). And texts familiar (the first line of Finnegan’s Wake) and unfamiliar (the rest of it!). The use of a page from the notebook of one of Joyce’s students is a stunning hook into an account of what makes teaching live, responsive, personalised. It’s also moving to read this detailed analysis of a lesson from some long gone afternoon, and moving to consider that one’s own notes in the margins may still be perused by learners from time to time. A key motivation behind ‘unplugged’ is the idea that teaching the person in the moment (rather than merely the often random language point in the syllabus) promotes recall, and the role of effective note-taking on pages retained by the learner is worthy of further study. What a wonderful experience as teacher, reader and writer to be given access to this notebook, thank you for sharing it with us.

    • thanks for that Luke, as a new blogger I’m very much interested in the medium of blogging and what it means to do it in a natural and conversational way, different from if you are submitting an article to a magazine. And am really interested in how we link articles in meaningful ways to people and topics in pedagogy, applied linguistics and practical teaching techniques too. Glad you enjoyed the links I put in. And I agree with you that effective note taking and also teachers writing in students’ notebooks, particuarly in one2one situations, is something worth looking into more. Thanks for being first to comment…

    • thanks Sputnik, I spent a while on it, drafting it and redrafting it before I finally put it up. Still not quite familiar with how to blog, but enjoy playing around with how to combine images and text.

  2. I have just spent a very enjoyable morning on my patio in the February sun reading this lovely blogpost. Having just come back from Dublin on a visit this rang true for me as I had Joyce in my head. An excellent and well-written piece here on how Joyce probably taught. I love the comment about him lighting a cigarette in class and goiing off on a diversion.
    Would Joyce have been as materials-light today I wonder with all that there is available?
    I also echo Luke’s comment above about what a wonderful experience to have access to a page from that notebook. Thanks too for sharing.

    • gosh Lindsay, wish I could sit on a patio here in Budapest and enjoy the February sun! You ask whether Joyce would have been as materials light today, well Scott and Luke quote the two Rolands, Tharp and Gallimore in “Teaching Unplugged p.10): “To most truly teach, one most converse; to truly converse is to teach”. We know that Joyce loved talking and my guess is that he would still see teaching as conversation-driven, even today.

  3. Great post, Mark! I have been fascinated by Joyce’s teaching career ever since I read Ellman’s biography, and in particular the way, according to an ex-pupil, he “subverts” the Berlitiz question-and-answer method, by, apart from anything else, weaving in references to the method’s founder: ‘Berlitz, Berltiz, what have I done to deserve this from you? Signor Berlitz and Signor Joyce, fool and beggar…. What is a pachyderm? See that man there with a trumpet for a nose and that sizable belly – there’s a pachyderm… etc.’

    I’ve also wondered to what extent Joyce’s teaching style was influenced by the catechistic exchanges of his (heavily) Catholic upbringing – which are not unlike the Direct Method in their relentless question-and-answer structure (there’s a whole section of Ulysses that mimics the genre). I’m wondering (like you) if Joyce might have taken secret pleasure in subverting, not only the DM, but also holy writ.

    I too have made the pilgrimage to Pula, although had no one to photo me alongside Joyce’s monument. My guidebook also directed me to the apartment building where he had lived – a nondescript building on the waterfront, I seem to remember. Sadly I’ve still not been to Trieste. (Maybe, in the style of Bloomsday in Dublin, interested parties should organise a Joyce-the-EFL-teacher tour of Trieste and Pula, involving long, spontaneous conversations about whatever crops up, and laced with the obligatory use of expletives like “By Jove!”)

    • Well Scott, yeah, in his “usylessly unreadable Blue Book of Eccles” (FW, p179) (early copies of Ulysses were bound in blue and Eccles St was where Bloom lived), that Ithica chapter, which is set in Bloom’s house, is a complete parody of the catechistic exchanges of his Catholic upbringing. Might be worth quoting a couple of examples from it.

      “What did Bloom see on the range? On the right (smaller) hob a blue enamelled saucepan: on the left (larger) hob a black iron kettle. What did Bloom do at the range? He removed the saucepan to the left hob, rose and carried the iron kettle to the sink in order to tap the current by turning the faucet to let it flow” (Ulysses p 782)

      And a little bit later..” Alone what did Bloom hear?…..Alone what did Bloom feel? (Ulysses p 827)

      You wonder to what extent his teaching style was influenced by his Catholic upbringing. I’m sure a lot stayed with him, the once a Cathollic thing and Lortie’s “Apprenticeship of Observation” would have a strong influence. Ironic isn’t it that he should come up with similar stuff in the Berlitz method which I expect he had an allergic reaction to and yes, subverted, especially when he realised that his love and knowledge of Italian was a great resource in the classroom.

      Thanks for commenting Scott. Joyce is a rich vein for many a good discussion, and the EFL vein is one I’m very keen to explore, coming from a strong language and culture background in ELT!

  4. Incidentally, I coined and used the term “emergenalia” the other day, on a blog posting, to describe the kinds of incidental and emergent words and phrases that might be written up on the board or in a student’s notebook during the course of a dogme-style lesson. It srikes me that Adriano Sturli’s notebook is an excellent example of this phenomenon, and that the term ’emergenalia’ is itself quite Joycean!

  5. Mark,

    first, congratulations on your blog! Though I haven’t read too many blogs so far, yours is indeed the best blog I have seen both design- and content-wise.
    It was very interesting to read through your posts; you write in a very reader-friendly way, I love the organization, the pictures and the original resources you use.
    I saw this post in its “working” form and it’s very good to see it in the finalized version. This could also be a good way to teach students about writing as a process. And I also know how much effort and energy you’re investing into all these posts or I would rather call them articles. This is more like art to me, especially with the pictures, photos, the colors, the design…you’re doing the art of blogging!

    And a final comment is that in my view this is real research in the most positive sense of the word that you’re are doing. The way you collect all these resources, books, materials and all the knowledge that you use to write up a post is real ELT research that is not just interesting to read but can and probably will have an effect on the teaching practice of your readers, too.

    Overall, good job! And I think I’ll be a fan of your blog. 😉

    • thanks for your kind words Adri, yeah it’s a new genre for me and one I’m still trying to find a way of engaging with that feels right for me, suits my personality and is focussed on the the thing I’m most interested in using it for which is to understand classroom language learning better.

      I adapted William Morris’s quote in my Valentine’s day post on confluent blogging.

      ” Have nothing on your blogs which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”

      It’s something I’d like to try to adhere to on this blog. And yeah, the colours are important for me, I spent a lot of time on that with the organisation of the first page.

      The research question is very relevant ,how do we find bridges and links between good work that people are doing in our field and make it accessible to people who can make use of it? Teacher Associations like IATEFL are great places to do this but I think more and more that the blogosphere is a place where lots of good things can happen. It’s so immediate and more and more people with experiences of teaching and teacher training are finding time and creating the space to share these things with everybody else. Exciting times we live in, eh?

        • thanks very much Richard, and thanks very much for letting me know about the archive. Would love to stop by sometime. My mother lives in Wolverhampton and it wouldn’t be difficult for me to pop down sometime for the day when I’m there. I really enjoyed looking at things in your archive. Great work!

  6. A beautiful example of what can be done with the blog format. There is a real diversity of style and content in the blogosphere these days, from the frivolous to the scholarly, from the anecdotal to the research heavy, from the technological to the literary…and so on and so on. There’s room for all of it – this is a topic I wouldn’t have thought about but feel the better for having done so, so thank you!

    Ashamed to say I haven’t (as yet) got past the first couple of pages of Ulysses, although I loved ‘Portrait of the Artist…’ and ‘The Dubliners’. Inspired to go back and have another go.

    Of course, I’ve read Luke and Scott’s book… and a very fine one it is too ; D

  7. Really good piece of writing. I have never thought of Joyce in this way before. Thanks for that! I had the feeling that I might have choosen this aspect of him to be the topic of my thesis.:)
    This “Why?-Because”-thing is really worth thinking about. By the way, does this really express Joyce’s attitude towards teaching? What if it was the student who loved to digress? If I make notes on a lecture, they often express my attitude to the topic, not the lecturer’s!:)
    By the way, don’t you think you use too many commas? And I think you should insert the expressions that the abbreviations stand for so that less compatible people (like me) understand them, too!(CELTa, DELTA etc…)

    See you on Tuesday!

    Best wishes,

    Dóra Vagra

  8. Hi, Mark,

    What a ‘useful & beautiful’ post!

    I was wondering about the ‘February sunshine’ and then realised that you posted this some time ago. Fortunately it reappeared today. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will check out the details about the annual Joyce summer school in Trieste, organised by John McCourt and Renzo Crivelli.

    The Notebook..what a precious gift to a researcher! Interested in genealogy,some of my most valuable possessions are the most unlikely.. a portrait of a gggreat grandfather, a handwritten play by a ggreatgrandfather, a letter etc. Only recently I read the guest post on Ken Wilson’s blog by Matt Ledding about ‘roots’ http://bit.ly/ldNgyE and it demonstrates how interesting the past can be in forming new perspectives.

    Lovely to see Marilyn looking so happy this morning in the film you shared. time to get ‘Ulysses’ off my shelf!

  9. What a great read Mark!
    I didn`t know you are a Joyce enthusiast. Now I understand your affection for Trieste. I knew absolutely nothing about Joyce as an EFL teacher. Thank you for sharing it. One could have never imagined him as the “forerunner ” of the principles of Dogme. This thorough analysis of a student`s lesson from many different perspectives is brilliant. There is so much beneath the surface of simple note-taking of what the students think it`s worth writing down during a lesson.

  10. Great piece and great to see the page from Joyce – his teaching was so much like the Wake! I must read that Italian writer you mention –

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