At times Bowker was incredibly difficult to hear, but his wealth of Joyce anecdotes kept the audience’s rapt attention. He told the audience that he had chosen James Joyce as his subject impulsively following his biography of George Orwell. Bowker spoke of the apprehension he’d felt when he began the project but also of his experience of meeting Richard Ellman, the author of the only other Joyce biography, whom he greatly admired. Bowker entertained the audience with facts he’d discovered and with evidence, found in interdepartmental memos, of the Home Office’s wariness of Joyce. Chair Stuart Kelly focused particularly on the autobiographical elements of ‘Finnegan’s Wake,’ which were intriguing but did not require as much focus as they were given.
Pepper’s Theatre, Aug 22, 4.00pm (5.00pm), £8.00 – £10.00, eibfpp34.