• Morgan Fagg

We all sing from the same hymn sheet though we don’t always understand him.


IN THE SHADOW OF JAMES JOYCE. Lectura de Finnegan´s Wake in Museo Reina Sofia.

I sit quietly in a chair listening to the discussion about Joyce and Finnegans Wake.

The group did not notice me entering the darkened room and continued their discussion.

I sat down on one of the few vacant chairs not occupied by the audience and wondered how there could be any spectators there at all.

Each chair had the script but Finnegans Wake is difficult to read even at the best of times.

This was the Bloomsday Society´s third discussion about Finnegans Wake in Reina Sofia as part of Dora Garcia´s exposition, entitled Segundo Vez.


Inspired by Joyce and other writers it is difficult to describe the scope of her varied work.

This was the third and final event to discuss Joyce as it was also the last night of her exposition.


Named after Queen Sofia, the Reina Sofia displays the €750 million Guernica as its crown jewel.


This priceless painting by Pablo Picasso is my personal favourite and despite finally visiting the town of Gernika the day before and drinking coffee in the market place, there was no time for Picasso or Guernica as I was trying to follow the discussion on the wording used by Joyce and a famous murder in Phoenix Park.

People came and went but I couldn’t understand the appeal for people visiting a room on such a complicated discussion especially as most of the charla (chat) was in English.

This was my segundo vez, (second time) as I had attended the previous event and went unnoticed by the group until the very end.

After reading a fantastic book by Senator Norris Introducing Joyce, A Graphic Guide over the Summer, I'm edging closer to joining the discussion panel at the table but maybe I´ll just stick to my picture book.


I have taken photos of the group in the past but didn’t want to interrupt them so sat quietly.

I was a little tarde to the party after all.


A woman arrived and took her seat and everyone at the table stood to attention and applauded her.

If your name´s not on the list, you're not coming in.

This I was to learn was the artist and film maker Dora Garcia whose name was billed all over Museo Reina Sofia for the last few months.


In the shadow of a subtitled film about Joyce, the book club continued their discussion, finishing as always on a high with a song sung by Bill Dixon, The Ballad of Persse O'Reilly.


Joyce spoke numerous European languages and it is always interesting to see how people interpret his work which of course he predicted we would still be doing for hundreds of years.


We then went downstairs to watch the end of one of her screenings and I was suddenly disappointed to be focusing so much attention on dead artists like Picasso and Joyce and missing the bigger picture of art all around me yet secretly proud that people in Spain still gather round to discuss the mystery of Joyce.




A great colourful read about the life and influences of James Joyce

A picture of a picture of a town made famous by Picasso´s picture.

#jamesjoyce #pablopicasso #guernica #doragarcia

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