I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

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Reasonable Doubt

Frank Callanan
Joyce in Court: James Joyce and the Law, by Adrian Hardiman, Head of Zeus, 336 pp, £12, ISBN: 978-1786691590 Adrian Hardiman left an indelible impression on all who encountered him. In the Literary and Historical Society at University College Dublin, polished and incisive periods issued forth in ringingly clear and unwavering cadences from a slim and slight boyish frame. Of strenuously anti-statist economic views, he was the scourge of the college left. They were bewildered when, having seized their bastion of the presidency of the Students Representative Council, he delivered an attack on the Soviet Union at a student congress in Bucharest and was garlanded with the hospitable approbation of the Soviet-hating Ceausescus. He was, as his friend Gerry Danaher recalled, “almost Haugheyesque in his capacity to provoke a reaction”. He studied history in Group VIIIB (“pure history”) and read for the bar at King’s Inns. As an advocate he was resourceful, remorselessly competitive, brilliant and alarmingly formidable. He flirted with politics. He achieved a larger public prominence when he brought a forensic liberalism to the pro-life and divorce controversies in a series of television interviews and debates. He was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in 2000. A marked philosophical constancy did not mean his views did not develop – his liberalism became more pronounced and rounded, though not at the expense of a somewhat visceral nationalism. What his career as a judge made clear was the degree to which his views were always – personal injuries actions apart – rooted in a solidarity with the beleaguered individual in contest with powerful institutions. His legacy is his incisive and broad-ranging judgements, and this book on Joyce and the law. Setting out from a curiosity about the many Irish legal personae and cases in the literary work, he developed a deep and sympathetic understanding of Joyce’s relationship to Ireland, and to justice. Hardiman gave much thought to the relation of trials to Joyce’s work: A notorious trial presents epistemological issues in an acute, concrete and accessible form. It exhibits the classic dramatic unities, of place, time and action. Every trial is, or involves, an inquiry into past events. Nearly all trials are locally rooted and reveal the texture of the society which gave rise to them very accurately, often precisely because they do so randomly. This is very much of a piece with Joyce’s literary technique in Ulysses. He makes…

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