The Wool Trade

‘How different are the words “home”, “Christ”, “ale”, “master”, on his lips and mine’ Stephen Dedalus Heaney’s epigraph is taken from James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man at the point when the young Irishman, in his dealings with the English Dean of Studies, suffers ‘unrest of spirit’ when it dawns on him that English (‘so familiar and so foreign’ to him) is a major legacy of English occupation. Three of his example words, of things that loom large in a young Irishman’s life (kinship, religion, social activity), lead to the fourth: his sense of Irish dispossession. Dedalus sounds the words out to himself conscious that the Dean, as an Englishman, will read their meaning differently. The […]