Restaurant menu

The menu of the 90-year-old restaurant that portrays James Joyce as a patriotic man


The relic of the modernist author’s daily life found its way into an archive of material amassed by his grandson Stephen, who kept the contents of the collection secret until his death in 2020, when he left at the University of Reading. The Telegraph got an exclusive look at its treasures.

“Looks like he was out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day,” said Guy Baxter, head of the university’s archives services. “Here he is with Beckett, his family, his friends. There are a lot of “wines” on the menu, which is no surprise.

“But it’s a surprise to see him celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, when you think about his opinions, his life in Europe and even his tone in some of the letters we have in relation to Ireland.”

Although he wrote about it from successive bases in Trieste, Paris and Zurich, the Dublin-born Joyce never returned to Ireland after 1912, and at the time of his new St. Patrick’s Day meal, he was a 49-year-old exile living with his family. in France.

Although there is no surviving bill for the meal, the signed menu bears the name of Silvia Beech, a bookseller who published Joyce’s groundbreaking novel Ulysses at her own expense, and the presence of her loyal patron at the dinner suggests that the often penniless author may have had dinner for free.

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