University of Virginia Library



The boy Archie, for example, calls Richard "babbo" as Giorgio Joyce referred to his father; he recalls thievery in Rome, where Joyce had been robbed; Joyce, like Richard, received from his wife detailed daily reports on her admirer's advances; Richard has had a merry father and a solemn mother, from whom he was alienated at the time of her death; he wears glasses like Joyce, writes books which (like Joyce's) don't sell in Dublin; and is described, by Brigid, as arrogant with the upper classes but delighting in familiar gossip with the humble. Phrases like "he thinks the sun shines out of your face" (p. 90) and "your face is a wild flower blowing in a hedge" (p. 32) derive from Joyce's personal correspondence in very personal contexts indeed.


The fact that Richard and Beatrice, the "intellectuals" of the play, are pronouncedly nearsighted probably makes an ironic point against the conscious mind. They are also the coolest and most reserved of the couples, as the most deeply alienated from the life of the senses. According to Joyce's feelings, they would thereby qualify for an extra measure of compassion.