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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).
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
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In Turlock, California, nearly 3,500 samples of bull semen were stolen from the back of a truck.
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”