Friday, March 25, 2011

There's a Panther in the Room!

We have officially ended our week of Irish literature. There will be some follow up homework once Dr Baker leaves on Friday, but we no longer have class all day every day about literature. Today, we finished off the class by visiting a few sites around Dublin dedicated to the authors we have been discussing. My personal favorite of the day... the James Joyce Tower. But in order for you to understand why, I have to backtrack through history a bit....
A long time ago, the Irish kept being invaded by the British, French, Spanish, and probably a bunch of other people. Finally, they got sick of it and decided to try to keep this from happening. Napoleon was gaining power in Europe and they were afraid he would invade Dublin, set up camp there and try to invade England from there. So they built a whole bunch of round towers along the coast in order to keep in case his navy arrived. Then they sat down and waited and waited and waited. After about a hundred years they realized he wasn't coming, so they decided to rent the towers out. One of these towers, in Sandycove, was rented by a guy named Gogarty. He invited a couple friends, Joyce and this other guy (who is unimportant to the story) to come visit. At first, Joyce said no, but then he got kicked out of his place, and didn't want to go live with his parents so he decided to crash at the tower with Gogarty. Gogarty was a little hesitant about having Joyce live with him at this point, but he wanted Joyce to stop writing mean stuff about him in his poems, so he let him stay. Joyce was only there for 6 days! The reason he left? Well, they were all getting on each others nerves. But the last straw... that night Joyce must have had a dream or something because he thought there was a panther in the room! He took out the pistol he kept under his bed and started shooting at hit. Everyone freaked out! Somehow, Gogerty was able to creep over and grab the gun from Joyce. He then proceeded to shoot at the pans hanging over Joyce's head, causing them to fall on him. I guess Joyce got the hint that he was no longer welcome, so he quickly high-tailed it out of there!
The funny thing is, even though Joyce only stayed there 6 days, the tower is named after him, not Gogerty. That's because Joyce wrote a book that alludes to this experience. However, he changes the story so it sounds like he paid the rent to the place and the other two just mooched off of him! Gogerty was furious, but at this point he couldn't correct the story. So everyone started referring to his home as the Joyce Tower and the name has stuck ever since.

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