Today is the birthday of James Joyce, who was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882, and wrote in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”
To celebrate his life, we present an August 1929 recording of Joyce reading a melodious passage from the “Anna Livia Plurabelle” chapter of his Work in Progress, which would be published ten years later as Finnegans Wake. The recording was made in Cambridge, England, at the arrangement of Joyce’s friend and publisher Sylvia Beach. “How beautiful the ‘Anna Livia’ recording is,” wrote Beach in her memoir, Shakespeare and Company, “and how amusing Joyce’s rendering of an Irish washerwoman’s brogue!”
And if you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks for your support!