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The Irishman, finding himself in another environment, outside Ireland, very often knows how to make his worth felt. The economic and intellectual conditions of his homeland do not permit the individual to develop. The spirit of the country has been weakened by centuries of useless struggle and broken treaties. Individual initiative has been paralyzed by the influence and admonitions of the church, while the body has been shackled by peelers, duty officers and soldiers. No self-respecting person wants to stay in Ireland. Instead he will run from it, as if from a country that has been subjected to a visitation by an angry Jove.
–James Joyce, “Ireland, Island of Saints and Sages,” a lecture delivered at the Università Popolare, Trieste, on Apr. 27, 1907, reproduced in James Joyce: Occasional, Critical and Political Writing, p. 123 (2002).
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”