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James Joyce’s Steamy Love Letters Are Better Than ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Irish writer James Joyce may best be remembered as a literary icon whose written work, Ulysses, cemented his image as a wise and intelligent mind hiding behind a soft and innocent-looking face.

 

Don’t be fooled, however. Yes, he is in fact intelligent, but he’s certainty not soft (in more ways than one). Behind those puppy dog eyes, thick mustache, and posh bowtie happens to be a dirty old man. Seriously dirty, dirty man.

 

The same passion and experimental attitude this linguistic mastermind brought to his stories and poetry he also translated to other avenues of his personal life. For those unfamiliar with Joyce, he had a passionate relationship with Nora Barnacle, whom he met in 1904 (the same date he later chose as the setting of Ulysses).

 

Their enduring love was filled with children, a marriage, and a great deal of passion. The sensual bond between the pair was evident throughout their public relationship. However, it became much more evident following their deaths when, in 1975, a book containing Joyce’s side of their written correspondence was published. The book, appropriately titled, Selected Letters of James Joyce (which you can buy here), brought to light their very personal and steamy love affair that rivaled anything E. L. James ever wrote. 

 

Don’t believe it? Take a peek for yourself. Just a warning, however, they are absolutely NSFW! You’ve been warned.

 

1. 2 December 1909, Dublin

 

My love for you allows me to pray to the spirit of eternal beauty and tenderness mirrored in your eyes or fling you down under me on that softy belly of yours and fuck you up behind, like a hog riding a sow, glorying in the very stink and sweat that rises from your arse, glorying in the open shape of your upturned dress and white girlish drawers and in the confusion of your flushed cheeks and tangled hair. It allows me to burst into tears of pity and love at some slight word, to tremble with love for you at the sounding of some chord or cadence of music or to lie heads and tails with you feeling your fingers fondling and tickling my ballocks or stuck up in me behind and your hot lips sucking off my cock while my head is wedged in between your fat thighs, my hands clutching the round cushions of your bum and my tongue licking ravenously up your rank red cunt. I have taught you almost to swoon at the hearing of my voice singing or murmuring to your soul the passion and sorrow and mystery of life and at the same time have taught you to make filthy signs to me with your lips and tongue, to provoke me by obscene touches and noises, and even to do in my presence the most shameful and filthy act of the body. You remember the day you pulled up your clothes and let me lie under you looking up at you while you did it? Then you were ashamed even to meet my eyes.

 

You are mine, darling, mine! I love you. All I have written above is only a moment or two of brutal madness. The last drop of seed has hardly been squirted up your cunt before it is over and my true love for you, the love of my verses, the love of my eyes for your strange luring eyes, comes blowing over my soul like a wind of spices. My prick is still hot and stiff and quivering from the last brutal drive it has given you when a faint hymn is heard rising in tender pitiful worship of you from the dim cloisters of my heart.

 

Nora, my faithful darling, my seet-eyed blackguard schoolgirl, be my whore, my mistress, as much as you like (my little frigging mistress! My little fucking whore!) you are always my beautiful wild flower of the hedges, my dark-blue rain-drenched flower.

 

JIM

 

2. 3 December 1909, Dublin.

 

As you know, dearest, I never use obscene phrases in speaking. You have never heard me, have you, utter an unfit word before others. When men tell in my presence here filthy or lecherous stories I hardly smile. Yet you seem to turn me into a beast. It was you yourself, you naughty shameless girl who first led the way. It was not I who first touched you long ago down at Ringsend. It was you who slid your hand down inside my trousers and pulled my shirt softly aside and touched my prick with your long tickling fingers, and gradually took it all, fat and stiff as it was, into your hand and frigged me slowly until I came off through your fingers, all the time bending over me and gazing at me out of your quiet saintlike eyes. It was your lips too which first uttered an obscene word. I remember well that night in bed in Pola. Tired of lying under a man one night you tore off your chemise violently and began to ride me up and down. Perhaps the horn I had was not big enough for you for I remember that you bent down to my face and murmured tenderly ‘Fuck up, love! fuck up, love!’

 

JIM

 

 

3. 8 December 1909, Dublin.

 

My sweet little whorish Nora,

 

I did as you told me, you dirty little girl, and pulled myself off twice when I read your letter. I am delighted to see that you do like being fucked arseways. Yes, now I can remember that night when I fucked you for so long backwards. It was the dirtiest fucking I ever gave you, darling. My prick was stuck up in you for hours, fucking in and out under your upturned rump. I felt your fat sweaty buttocks under my belly and saw your flushed face and mad eyes. At every fuck I gave you your shameless tongue come bursting out through your lips and if I gave you a bigger stronger fuck than usual fat dirty farts came spluttering out of your backside. You had an arse full of farts that night, darling, and I fucked them out of you, big fat fellows, long windy ones, quick little merry cracks and a lot of tiny little naughty farties ending in a long gush from your hole. It is wonderful to fuck a farting woman when every fuck drives one out of her. I think I would know Nora’s fart anywhere. I think I could pick hers out in a roomful of farting women. It is a rather girlish noise not like the wet windy fart which I imagine fat wives have. It is sudden and dry and dirty like what a bold girl would let off in fun in a school dormitory at night. I hope Nora will let off no end of her farts in my face so that I may know their smell also.

 

You say when I go back you will suck me off and you want me to lick your cunt, you little depraved blackguard. I hope you will surprise me some time when I am asleep dressed, steal over me with a whore’s glow in your slumbrous eyes, gently undo button after button in the fly of my trousers and gently take out your lover’s fat mickey, lap it up in your moist mouth and suck away at it till it gets fatter and stiffer and comes off in your mouth. Sometime too I shall surprise you asleep, lift up your skirts and open your hot drawers gently, then lie down gently by you and begin to lick lazily round your bush. You will begin to stir uneasily then I will lick the lips of my darling’s cunt. You will begin to groan and grunt and sigh and fart with lust in your sleep. Then I will lick up faster and faster like a ravenous dog until your cunt is a mass of slime and your body wriggling wildly.

 

Goodnight, my little farting Nora, my dirty little fuckbird! There is one lovely word, darling, you have underlined to make me pull myself off better. Write me more about that and yourself, sweetly, dirtier, dirtier.

 

JIM

 

If you can’t get enough, the great news is, there’s more. You can read more of James Joyce’s letters by clicking on the link here.

 

Feature Image Courtesy of The Irish Times and Her Campus

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Notable Irish Authors to Celebrate

Although their classic works won’t be forgotten, we wanted to specifically honor Irish authors for their extraordinary contributions to literature in history. From Oscar Wilde and his examination of vanity in The Picture of Dorian Grey to James Joyce’s classic journey in Ulysses, see our list below of selected authors and book recommendations to add to your reading list. Did we miss someone? Add the Irish author you want to celebrate in the comments. 

James Joyce

Courtesy of Burning Brigid 

Notable Work: Ulysses (1922) 

James Joyce wasn’t just a novelist, but also wrote short stories and poetry. Joyce was influenced by music the same way music has been influenced by his words, which have inspired the work of many musicians. He is well known for being truthful about the middleclass Irish experience in many of his works including, Dubliners.

 

Oscar Wilde 

Courtesy of Daily Beast 

Notable Work: The Picture of Dorian Grey (1890)

Although Wilde was a popular playwright in London, he was actually born in Dublin. The Picture of Dorian Grey is one of his best works, but The Importance of Being Earnest shows Wilde’s range and ability to write both comedy and drama.

 

Jonathan Swift

Courtesy of aforismi.meglio.it 

Notable Work: Gulliver’s Travels (1726) 

The satirist is best known for his fantasy book, Gulliver’s Travels, but was also a great poet and wrote many sermons and prayers. He was very involved in the Irish cause and highly disliked by Queen Anne of England who believed his works, especially The Tale of a Tub, to be blasphemous. 

 

Flann O’Brien (also known as Brian O’Nolan) 

Courtesy of antoinemalette.com 

Notable Work: The Third Policeman (1967)

Flann O’Brien is best known for At-Swim Two Birds, The Third Policeman, and The Dalkey Archive. O’Brien’s real name is Brian O’Nolan and The Third Policeman was originally rejected by publishers and published postmortem. The story about a murderous protagonist let loose in an alternate reality is partially recycled in The Dalkey Archive due to its initial rejection. 

 

Samuel Beckett 

Courtesy of Huffington Post 

Notable Work: Waiting for Godot (1953) 

Samuel Beckett wore many hats including novelist, playwright, director, and poet. His play Waiting for Godot was highly influential as two characters wait for someone who never comes. Beckett’s bleak outlook on human nature made his writing incredibly raw and meaningful.

 

Bram Stoker 

Courtesy of stephenmorrisauthor.com

Notable Work: Dracula (1897)

Although Stoker is famous for Dracula today, he was better known as an assistant to actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London during his lifetime. Dracula, Transylvania, and Van Helsing are all household names now—and we can thank Stoker for that.

 

Anne Enright

Courtesy of readme.readmedia.com

Notable Work: The Gathering (2007)

The modern author has been compared to Flann O’Brien and her work has been featured in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Irish Times. Her novel The Gathering won the Man Book Prize and her books frequently explore relationships and Ireland’s difficult past.

 

Elizabeth Bowen

Courtesy of www.irlandando.it

Notable Work: The Heat of the Day (1948)

Bowen wrote extensively about orderly life and what happens when something disrupts that. Additionally, she was very interested in betrayal and secrets—which may have been an ode to her own life, having many extramarital affairs.

 

George Bernard Shaw

Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Notable Work: Pygmalion (1913)

Readers can thank Shaw for Eliza Doolittle for coming into their lives. George Bernard Shaw’s writing genres were expansive and included short stories, novels, plays, and criticism. Shaw expressed his views on everything from vegetarianism to politics within his work and is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature and an Academy Award for the same work (Pygmalion).

 

William Butler Yeats

Courtesy of imgkid.com

Notable Work: The Tower (1928) 

Yeats was heavily involved in the Irish Literary Revival and was the first Irishman awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Yeats had many poetry collections and is one of the rare authors whose greatest works, including The Tower and The Winding Stair and Other Poems, were published after winning the Nobel Prize.

 

C.S. Lewis

Courtesy of shoutitforlife.com

Notable Work: The Chronicles of Narnia (1950) 

The novelist and Oxford University faculty member is best known for The Chronicles of Narnia—a high fantasy series comprised of seven novels. Lewis was in an informal society of writers known as “Inklings”, which included close friend J.R.R. Tolkien. Writers around the world note his imagination and storytelling ability.

 

Maeve Binchy

Courtesy of naunua.blogspot.com.

Notable Work: Circle of Friends (1990)

The novelist, playwright, short story writer, and journalist is known for her portrayal of small-town life in Ireland. Her career began as a journalist and she joined the staff at The Irish Times in 1968. She went on to publish 16 novels—with a few becoming movies. Her novels often involve a cast of related or reoccurring characters.

 

Patrick McCabe


Courtesy of Cavan Theatre Festival

Notable Work: The Butcher Boy (1992)

The contemporary author has been shortlisted twice for the Booker Prize for Fiction and has also written a children’s book and radio plays. McCabe focuses on dark comedy in most of his novels, two of which have been turned into films. All of his protagonists are “extraordinary” people in very ordinary place—usually meaning they are socially unacceptable characters.