Not everyone who comes to the Eternal City is captivated by its magic, a case in point being the great Irish writer, James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882-1941).
Joyce arrived in Rome from Trieste on July 31st, 1906, to take up employment as a clerk in a bank. He was twenty-four years old and was accompanied by his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle. The couple moved into a room on the third floor of a house in Via Frattina, which, since 1982, has been marked by a plaque.
The plaque hails Joyce as the writer of Ulysses, which was published in 1922. What it fails to note is how much Joyce disliked Rome. After a tour of the Forum, which left him distinctly under-whelmed, he wrote to his brother Stanislaus: “Rome reminds me of a man who lives by exhibiting his grandmother’s corpse.”
Joyce did little writing in Rome, returning to Trieste in early 1907.