On this day…14 June

On 14 June 1904 Nora Barnacle missed an appointment with Joyce.

After meeting for the first time on Nassau Street on Friday 10 June 1904, Joyce and Nora Barnacle made an appointment to meet again on Tuesday 14 June outside Sir William Wilde’s house on the corner of Merrion Square and Lower Merrion Street. Joyce turned up for the meeting but Nora didn’t.

Nora was working at Finn’s Hotel, just around the corner from Merrion Square. Joyce could have called to the hotel, but that might have caused problems for Nora, who lived at the hotel, or might have been embarrassing if it turned out that Nora had changed her mind and didn’t want to meet him.

Joyce did what came more naturally to him: he wrote to her at the hotel on Wednesday 15 June 1904. His concern was that he had missed her on account of his poor eyesight. He wrote that he had looked at a woman with a head of reddish hair but eventually had decided it was not Nora. Evidently disappointed that he had failed to meet her, Joyce wrote that he had gone home dejected. He wanted to make another appointment but was afraid that it might not suit her, and so he asked if she would be kind enough to make one with him, presuming, of course, that she had not forgotten him.

She had not forgotten him, and they made another appointment to meet, we presume, on Thursday 16 June 1904.


Sources & Further Information:

Ellmann, Richard: James Joyce – New and Revised edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Maddox, Brenda: Nora – A Biography of Nora Joyce, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1988.