How James Joyce was struck dumb by lightning

16th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - As the world celebrates the centenary of "Bloomsday", a date made famous by James Joyce's "Ulysses", one of the rare Frenchmen still alive to remember said the legendary Irish writer was terrified by lightning.

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - As the world celebrates the centenary of "Bloomsday", a date made famous by James Joyce's "Ulysses", one of the rare Frenchmen still alive to remember said the legendary Irish writer was terrified by lightning.

Claude Suter, a retired architect, was only 12 when he met Joyce in 1935 in Paris at sittings at his father's studio, sculptor Auguste Suter, who was making a bust of the Irish novelist.

"He lived in Passy (in western Paris) and would come to my father's studio in Denfert-Rochereau (southern Paris) with his daughter Lucia, who I played with," Suter said at a "Bloomsday" centennial event this week at the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris

Joyce spent almost all of his adult life away from Ireland, mostly in Trieste and Rome, but also in Paris and Zurich.

"He was overbearing and made me scared. He had a squint and wore thick glasses," Suter added.

"He was absolutely terrified of lightning and of storms, and could always tell when one was coming. One day he was taken by surprise by a storm at our place, and fell to the floor trembling. We had to cover him up with blankets."

Suter said his mother, singer Helene Moser, gave Joyce singing lessons, while grandfather Moser, a Zurich architect, helped him financially. "They're both buried in the same cemetery."

© AFP

Subject: French news

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