James Joyce’s Dirty Love Letters Read Aloud by Martin Starr, Paget Brewster & Other TV Comedy Actors (NSFW)

(Be warned, these videos are Not Safe for Work. And unless you can deal with strong lan­guage, you should skip watch­ing these clips.)

Last year we fea­tured James Joyce’s “dirty let­ters” to his wife, orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten in 1909 but not dis­cov­ered in all their cere­bral­ly erot­ic glo­ry until this cen­tu­ry. For Valen­tine’s Day, the sketch com­e­dy video site Fun­ny or Die cap­i­tal­ized on the avail­abil­i­ty of these high­ly detailed, fan­ta­sy-sat­u­rat­ed Joycean mash notes by hav­ing them read dra­mat­i­cal­ly. For this task the pro­duc­ers round­ed up five well-known actors, such as Mar­tin Starr from such comed­ical­ly respect­ed tele­vi­sion shows as Freaks and Geeks and Par­ty Down. You can watch his read­ing above. “I would like you to wear draw­ers with three or four frills, one over the oth­er at the knees and up the thighs, and great crim­son bows in them, so that when I bend down over you to open them and” — but you don’t just want to read it. You want to hear such a mas­ter­piece per­formed.

Off rais­ing the chil­dren in Tri­este, Joyce’s wife Nora wrote replies of a pre­sum­ably sim­i­lar ardor-sat­u­rat­ed nature. Alas, these remain undis­cov­ered, but that unfor­tu­nate fact does­n’t stop actress­es as well as actors from pro­vid­ing oral ren­di­tions of their own. Just above, we have Paget Brew­ster from Friends and Crim­i­nal Minds read­ing aloud anoth­er of Joyce’s love let­ters, one which moves with sur­pris­ing swift­ness from evok­ing “the spir­it of eter­nal beau­ty” to evok­ing “a hog rid­ing a sow.” This series of read­ings also includes con­tri­bu­tions from The Mid­dle­man’s Natal­ie Morales, The Kids in the Hall’s Dave Foley, and Sat­ur­day Night Live’s Michaela Watkins. They all reveal that, with his tex­tu­al cre­ativ­i­ty as well as his close acquain­tance with those places where the roman­tic meets the repul­sive, James Joyce would have made quite a sex­ter today. You can have that idea for free, lit­er­ate sketch com­e­dy video pro­duc­ers of the inter­net.

PS Apolo­gies for the lengthy ads that pre­cede the videos. They come from Fun­ny or Die and we have no con­trol over them.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

James Joyce’s “Dirty Let­ters” to His Wife (1909)

James Joyce Plays the Gui­tar, 1915

On Blooms­day, Hear James Joyce Read From his Epic Ulysses, 1924

James Joyce, With His Eye­sight Fail­ing, Draws a Sketch of Leopold Bloom (1926)

James Joyce’s Ulysses: Down­load the Free Audio Book

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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