James Joyce
Relevant Non-Istrians


 

Giacomo of Trieste: James Joyce on the Adriatic
 by John McCourt

Oh how I shall enjoy the joumey back! Every station will be bringing me nearer to my soul's peace. O how I shall feel when I see the castle of Miramar among the trees and the long yeIlow quays of Trieste! Why is it I am destined to look so many times in my life with my eyes of longing on Trieste? [1]

Thus wrote James Augustine Joyce in a letter to his partner Nora Bamacle written in December 1909 from Dublin where he was busy setting up the Volta Cinema (Ireland's first) along with a group of Triestine entrepreneurs. While not wishing to suggest that Joyce's years in the Adriatic emporium of Trieste were in any sense idyllic, there is no doubt that the exiled Irish writer developed a deep attachment for his adopted home, or as he called it himself his "second country" of Trieste. Later he liked to downplay the fierce struggle he had lived there while trying to balance his precarious writing career with the demands of his family, and was happy to be quoted by his first biographer, Herbert Gorman, remembering the more pleasant aspects of what his life had been like: "I cannot begin to give you the flavour of the old Austrian Empire. It was a ramshackle affair but it was charming, gay, and I experienced more kindnesses in Trieste than ever before or since in my life ...Times past cannot retum but I wish they were back."[2]

Part of the attraction of Trieste lay in the fact that it was such an intellectual challenging city, a multi-cultural melting-pot of peoples, cultures and ideas, as Rosa Maria Bosinelli has shown:

The intellectual climate of the city was particularly invigorating. Trieste was situated at a kind of cultural and linguistic crossroad of three civilisations and three great cultural traditions - the Mediteranean-Latin, the Slavonic and the Germanic. This Southem tip of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was thus a melting-pot of the mid-European and Mediterranean cultures. In Joyce's Trieste Freud's work and psycho-analytical theory were discussed animatedly. Whilst in Italy Freud's ideas met with considerable opposition, both in their scientific and cultural implications, in Trieste they took root with relative ease, on account of the particular social and political configuration of the city. As there was no local university, Triestine culture in those days gravitated, on the one hand, towards Vienna, where the majority of doctors, lawyers and scientists went for their studies, and, on the other hand, towards Florence, a centre for students of the arts.[3]
Joyce found himself in a lively cultural environment: in addition to the dominant Il Piccolo and its evening version Il Piccolo della Sera, Trieste boasted a huge range of daily and weekly newspapers and periodicals; there was also much literary activity, indeed one need only mention a couple of contemporary Triestine writers, such as Italo Svevo, Silvio Benco (a Triestine D'Annunzio), the poet Umberto Saba, and consider the prominent presence of groups of both Vociani and Futuristi in the city, to realise that the literary world was an active and often an controversial one. Theatre was also an enduring passion for the Triestines. Each night the City's impressive theatres offered a wide range of plays and operas to choose from while lectures and readings were organised with extraordinary regularity on a bewildering range of subjects by a countless number of associations and study circles. Politics too must have been an interesting phenomenon for this Irish outsider to observe with constant sparring between the Irredentists and their socialists adversaries and rising tensions between the pro-Italians, the Austriacanti, and the Slavs. Joyce also found an unusual mix of religions in Trieste and had little trouble earning the title he later awarded himself in Finnegans Wake of "Jimmy the chapelgoer" (FW 587. 35-36). He regularly attended the splendid neo-byzantine Serb Orthodox Church of San Spiridione and the impressive Greek temple, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity and San Nicolò, the "ciesa dei greghi" as the Triestines called it. He went to Easter services in various Catholic Churches but more often than not in the Church of Sant'Antonio Taumaturgo, located at the end of the Canal Grande. He also found in Trieste a large Jewish population and lost little time in going to visit the synagogue, where he found a surprising number of his students, as his brother Stanislaus remembered in his Triestine Book of Days, a daily diary he kept from 1907 to 1909:

He asked had the Jews any theology in the sense that Catholics have one, and was the priesthood with them a caste or a profession. Also he wanted to know whether they had a school of theology in which it was necessary to study, and lamented that none of his pupils ever seemed to know anything about the religions to which they were supposed to belong. [4]

Side by side with these communities Joyce would have noted the presence of Armenian Mechitarists, Swiss and Valdesian Protestants, Lutherans, Anglicans and Methodists.

Small surprise then that this city came to play a vital role in shaping Joyce's creative development, to the extent that, despite, or perhaps because of,  the hard struggle he had to make a living there as a 1anguage teacher, he later came to believe - as his friend Alessandro Francini Bruni (his fellow teacher in the Berlitz School, first in Pola and later in Trieste) stated - that "his personality had been formed in Trieste."[5] As his Triestine friend Ettore Schmitz (alias Italo Svevo) succinctly put it: "Joyce's outward life at Trieste can be summed up as a spirited struggle to support his family. His inner life was complex but already clear-cut: the elaboration of the subject matter offered him by his childhood and youth. A piece of Ireland was ripening under our sun. But he had to pay for it; for the life of a gerundmonger is not an easy one."[6]

Joyce had first arrived in Trieste in 1904, aged like Stephen Dedalus, twenty-two; when he left some sixteen years later he was, like the central character of Ulysses, that "cultured alroundman" Leopold Bloom, thirty-eight. In those years Joyce lived many of the experiences that would enable him to put flesh on his Middle-European Dubliner, Bloom. It was with good reason, then, that Schmitz could claim of Joyce "that we Triestines have a right to regard him with deep affection as if he belonged in a certain sense to us. And as if he were to a certain extent Italian. In Joyce's culture there is a marked Italian bias... It is a great title of honor for my city that in Ulysses some of the streets of Dublin stretch on and on into the windings of our old Trieste... Trieste was for him a little Ireland which he was able to contemplate with more detachment than he could his own country. To the Irish critic Boyd, who asserted that Ulysses was merely the product of pre-war thought in Ireland, Valery Larbaud replied, "Yes, in so far as it came to maturity in Trieste."[7]

Schmitz's view of the importance of Trieste in Joyce's developing creative consciousness is a crucial one especially because for a very long time he seems to have been the only one to have realised the depth and breadth of this impact (which was strangely downplayed by Stanislaus Joyce and by the great American Joyce biographer, Richard Ellmann). This perhaps because he was one of the very few to have witnessed at close range the mechanics of Joyce's writing process in the years leading up to the First World War and to have contributed personally much valuable information in response to Joyce's persistent questioning about, for example, the Jews and the Hebrew language. Once, in an exasperated response to Joyce's questions, Svevo asked his brother, Stanislaus: "Tell me some secrets about Irishmen. You know your brother has been asking me so many questions about Jews that I want to get even with him".[8]

Joyce's fondness for Trieste was genuine and complex. Although he often despaired of the drudgery of endless rounds of English language lessons, and although he was to leave the city several times (spending six months in 1906 and 1907 in Rome in the vain hope of an easier life, undertaking three visits to Dublin and an extended stay in Zurich for the period of the First World War) he always returned voluntarily, recognising Trieste both as a refuge and an adopted home. As he put it to Nora in September 1909 in a letter written to her from Dublin:

La nostra bella Trieste! [9] I have often said that angrily but tonight I feel it true. I long to see the lights twinkling along the riva as the train passes Mirarnar. After all, Nora, it is the city which has sheltered us. I carne back to it jaded and moneyless after my folly in Rome and now again after this absence.[10]

Like many other recently arrived immigrants he found little difficulty in adapting to the rhythms of the busy port city and to its many pleasures ("una buona mangiata, un caffè nero, un Brasil, il Piccolo della Sera, e Nora, Nora mia, Norina, Noretta, Norella, Noruccia ecc ecc").[11] He quickly learnt its ways and mastered its dialect, Triestino, "one of the richest, one of the most 'composite' (languages) in the world that Joyce listened to with passionate attention".[12] Triestino was a sort of lingua franca, a linguistic glue which held together many peoples - Italian, Austrian, Slav - not to mention "the Greeks and the Jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe" (Ulysses 18. 1587-1589), all of whom worked in harmony to make the city thrive and prosper.

Joyce never confused Triestino with standard Italian, which the Triestines referred to as regnicolo, as can be seen in his one hundred odd letters written in a mixture of both to his brother Stanislaus (w ho joined him in Trieste in 1905 and lived and worked there until his death on 16 June 1955), to his children, Giorgio and Lucia, and to his friends Ettore Schmitz and Alessandro Francini Bruni.[13] That Triestino was spoken in the family can be seen in a letter written in Italian and Triestino to Lucia in the nineteen thirties:

Uno scolaro mio a Trieste era molto pesante, stupido, calvo, lento e grasso. Però un dì mi raccontò questa storiella a proposito dell"educazione' di una sua sorella che era probabilmente un tipo simile. Questa ragazza imparava alla scuola a fare la calza ma niente le entrava in testa. La maestra cercò d'insegnarle come farla. Così e così. Vedi adesso? Passa l'ago sotto, poi tira e così di seguito. Infine le domandò se aveva una sorella maggiore. La ragazza rispose di si. Allora, le disse la maestra, fa vedere il lavoro alla tua sorella maggiore e domani riportati tutto in ordine. Capito? Si, siora maestra.

L'indomani la ragazza arrivò a scuola ma il suo lavoro era peggiore che prima. Come? disse la maestra. Non hai una sorella maggiore a casa? Si, siora maestra. E non ti ho detto di domandarle come si fa? Si, siora maestra. Ed hai domandato? Si, siora maestra. E cosa ti ha detto tua sorella? La ga dito che vada in malora lei e la calza. Tanto per 'l'educazione'.

The letter reads as follows in the English given in the Ellmann edition of Joyce's letters:

One of my pupils in Trieste was very heavy, stupid, bald, slow and fat. But one day he told me this little story a propos of the "education" of a sister of his who must have been like him. This little girl was learning how to knit at school but could get nothing into her head. The teacher tried to show her how to do it. Like this, like this. Now do you see? Pass the needle under, then pull it through and so on. At last she asked if the girl had an older sister. The girl replied she had. Then, said the teacher, show her your work and tomorrow being in everything done properly. Do you understand? Yes, Miss.

The next day the girl came to school but the work was worse than before. How is this? said the teacher, don't you have an older sister at home? Yes, Miss. And didn't I tell you to ask her to show you? Yes, Miss. And what did your sister say? She said that you and the knitting both should go to hell.

So much for "education"[14]

The first thing to be noted here is Joyce's gift as a story-teller, mixing, rather as he did in Dubliners, spare description and social comment with a telling use of dialogue which is keyed in contrasting linguistic registers. Thus he expresses his awareness of the social gap between the pupil and her teacher, by having the pupil incapable of speaking in anything other than Triestino, and the teacher using standard Italian and comandeering all the authority that goes with it. This recalls his early short story "The Sisters" in which the boy's aunt speaks standard English while the dead priest's sisters speak an unsophisticated brand of Hiberno-English. The logical conclusion of this comparison is that Joyce somehow equated the relationship between Triestino and Italian with that between Hiberno-English and standard English, thus underlining the intrinsic value he attached to both local variants. It is also significant that the punch-line, "La ga dito che vadi in malora lei e la calza", which effectively puts the bearer of standard Italian in her place, is in Triestino.

"Malora" is employed as a noun here meaning "hell" or "the devil". Joyce readopts the word in Ulysses as part of the name of one of the ludicrous visiting foreign delegation present at Robert Emmet's execution as it is described in the Cyclops episode: "Senor Hidalgo Caballero Don Pecadillo y Palabras y Paternoster de la Malora de la Malaria" (U12.563). While the long name is obviously pseudo-Spanish, the "de la Malora" is a Triestine phrase meaning "of the Devil". The Triestine "ga dito" ("ha detto" in standard Italian) would later reappear in Finnegans Wake: "Senior ga dito: Faciasi Orno! E orno fu fò. Ho! Ho! Senior ga dito: Faciasi Hidamo! Hidamo se ga facessà. Ha! Ha!" (FW 212. 34-36). This has been identified as Slovene Triestino, supposedly that spoken in a sermon by a Slovene priest probably in the Church of San Giacomo just up the street from Joyce's via Bramante apartment; in so far as it can be translated, it reads: "The Lord said: Let man be made! And man was made. Ho! Ho! The Lord said: Let Adam be made. And Adam was made. Ha! Ha!"

As these few examples show, Joyce was very much au fait with the Triestine dialect and knew it well enough to take linguistic liberties with it in Finnegans Wake. Indeed his last book contains a substantial body of Triestine words and phrases, often disguised through idiosyncratic spelling, but always used to great effect, as in this linguistic evocation of Trieste's sometimes fearsome Bora wind, which Joyce's renders which astonishing precision:

...the Boraborayellers, blohablasting tegolhuts up to tetties and ruching sleets off the coppeehouses, playing ragnowrock rignewreck, with an irritant, penetrant, siphonopterous spuk" (FW 416-117).

The powerful and singular voice of the Bora is clearly audible in these lines, which effectively recreate the rise and fall of its irregular rhythm, its gusts, the many tones of its multiple voices. What's more, to give authenticity and local colour to his Finnegans Wake description of the Bora, Joyce employs many words which are either in Italian or in the Triestine dialect. So while the standard annotations to Finnegans Wake suggests (rather out of context) that "tegolhuts" comes from the Dutch "tegel" it can much more convincingly be argued that it derives from "tegole" - the Italian for slates. Another Italian word for the slates or roofs is "tetti", which becomes "tetties" in Joyce's quote. The "ruching" evokes the Triestine verb "rucar" (push or carry - usually with force) and deriving directly from the German "ruchen" which also means "push". In short Joyce captures the wind pushing or ripping slates off the "Coppeehouses", a word, this, which suggests Trieste's coffeehouses (the city was one of Europe's main coffee-importing ports) and the Triestine "copi" which means roof tiles or slates. The dictionary of the Triestine dialect gives several examples of the use of this word, for instance: "La Bora fa svolar un mucio de copi" - the Bora makes a bundle of slates fly away - and the highly common phrase "èser fora dei copi" - to be off your head (to be crazy).

Smal1 wonder, given the extent to which Joyce intricately wove Triestine into Finnegans Wake, that he and his family continued to use it in conversation and correspondence long after they had left the Adriatic port for Zurich and Paris.

Yet when he arrived in 1904, Joyce's Italian was stiff and academic, as Francini Bruni recalled colourfully:

Joyce parlava allora uno strano italiano, stracco convien dire meglio che strano, un italiano ciompo pieno di trafitte e di scrofole che se fosse facile immaginare qualche cosa di simile, direi che pareva la lingua unigenita, figlia deforme d'una balia opulenta accoppiata con un manfano di vecchio ciucciato e infistolito. Era, in ogni caso, una lingua morta che veniva ad unirsi alla babele delle lingue vive di quella bolgia di sciaurati.[15]

Or as the attempted English translation puts it:

At that time Joyce talked a strange species of Italian. It is better to say archaic than strange, a crippled Italian full of ulcers. It was, if you can imagine such a thing, like an only-child language, and that child the deformed daughter of a buxom wet nurse and a diseased old dwarf.

At any rate, it was a dead language, which joined the babble of living languages coming out of that pit of poor devils at the school.[16] Whatever Francini Bruni's overstatement of the weaknesses of Joyce's Italian there is no doubt that the Irish writer himself immediately felt a pressing need to improve it. His nine articles written in perfect Italian for Il Piccolo della Sera (between 1907 and 1912) demonstrate that his progress was swift and impressive, as the Triestine journalist and novelist, Silvio Benco, who was asked to look over the early articles, remembered:

He wanted the revision to take place under his own eyes; I do not think it was from distrust so much as from a desire to learn. In fact, there was very little to change in the articles. The Italian was a bit hard and cautious, but lacked neither precision nor expressiveness. [...] My collaboration did not last long. The day we argued about a word and he was right, with his dictionary in his hand, it became clear to me that his manuscripts no longer needed my corrections.[17]

Further proof of his mastery of Italian is to be found in the translation of J .M. Synge's Riders to the Sea which he made with his Triestine friend, the multi-lingual lawyer and man of letters Nicolò Vidacovich. This is a remarkably controlled achievement, which manages to reproduce the flow of Synge's line, and by careful useful of rhythm manages to successfully imitate and sometimes even intensifies the power of the original tragedy.

Even if Joyce was eager, from the very beginning, to achieve mastery of Italian, Benco's description of his desire to learn is certainly correct. He read widely and rapidly, regular1y turned his English lessons into discussions in which he practised his own Italian and even Triestine, and took lessons in Italian language and literature with his Tuscan friend, Francini Bruni. The lessons began in the early period in Pola (from October 1904 to late February 1905) and continued for a time after they both transferred to Trieste. Evidence of them is to be found in a large notebook Joyce kept with the title "Italiano"[18] inscribed in his own hand on the cover and which contains an eclectic variety of hand-written passages in Italian and a further twenty pages of useful Italian idioms, commonplace phrases and key vocabulary which he had painstakingly noted down. Usually the key word or phrase was underlined as in the following random examples: "Parenzo è il capoluogo dell'Istria" (Parenzo is the capital of Istria), "Stando all'ultimo censimento la città di Trieste..." (According to the last census the city of Trieste...) "La neve fioccava fitta fitta" (The snow was falling heavily heavily - an echo here perhaps of the closing lines of "The Dead" in which he describes "the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling"). The passages are taken from Luigi Barzini's La Metà del Mondo, Raffaello Fornaciari's Letterature Italiana, Gabrielle D'Annunzio's Il Trionfo della Morte, Libero Merlino's I Principi dell'Anarchia, Torquato Tasso's Aminta, Giacomo Leopardi's Pensieri, A.C. Firmani's Tacito e le sue opere, Paolo Giacometti's La Morte Civile, Brunetto Latini's Il Libro delle Bestie, and Francesco Bricolo's I Drammi dell'lrlanda (this was actually written by Lucien Thomin and translated by Bricolo), and were probably dictated to Joyce during his lessons with Francini Bruni.

A casual reader of Joyce who might expect to find his most significant works peppered with easily identifiable, studied Italian or Triestine phrases or references might well at first be a little disappointed. The city of Trieste is mentioned directly just once in Ulysses (and not very promisingly) in the scene in the Eumaeus episode in which the sailor recounts seeing a stabbing in a Triestine brothel:

Possibly perceiving an expression of dubiosity on their faces the globetrotter went on, adhering to his adventures.

- And I seen a man killed in Trieste by an Italian chap. Knife in the back. Knife like that.

Whilst speaking he produced a dangerous looking claspknife quite in keeping with his character and held it in the striking position.

- In a knockingshop it was count of a tryon between two smugglers. Fellow hid behind a door, come up behind him. Like that. Prepare to meet your God, says he. Chuk! It went into his back up to the butt {U 16.576-582).

Looking for the obvious in Joyce's writings often leads the reader astray and causes him to miss key clues lurking in unsuspecting corners of his prose. The attentive reader will gradually come to realise that he will have to delve a little deeper in order to find Trieste's influence, which in reality adds a shadowy layer to all of Joyce's works. Space here allows for but a few examples. The stories of Dubliners, for instance, which Joyce completed in Trieste during his early years there, bear a few names borrowed from people the Irishman met in Trieste, such as that of his first singing teacher there, Francesco Riccardo Sinico (1869-1949), whose name the Irish writer would give to Captain and Emily Sinico in "A Painful Case". Joyce's employer at the Berlitz School, the extraordinarily named Almidano Artifoni, would find his name recycled for Stephen Dedalus's Italian teacher in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man (which was composed entirely in Trieste) and in Ulysses (which was conceived and partly written there). Another Triestine name which would reappear in Ulysses was that of Moses Dlugacz, Joyce's student from 1912 to 1915. Dlugacz, a cashier with the Cunard Line in Trieste, was an ardent Zionist who was born on 12 January 1884 in Galizia, ordained rabbi when he was fifteen, and was was well-known for his efforts to promote the teaching of Hebrew. During the First World War Dlugacz worked in Trieste as a provisions merchant in a small shop on via Torrebianca, which supplied cheese and meat to the Austrian army fighting along the Isonzo river near Trieste, a fact, this, which induced Joyce to rather roguishly have him appear in Ulysses as the "ferret eyed pork butcher" of Upper Dorset Street, the only shopkeeper in the book who is not listed in Dublin's Thorn's Directory. Significantly, Dlugacz keeps advertisements in his shop for the model farm at Kinnereth, and Molly mentions him as that "queerlookingman in the porkbutchers" who "is a great rogue"(U 18.911-912).

Significant though these connections may be, what is important to stress is that Joyce found more than just bit-players in Trieste. In a very real way the city furnished him with many vital elements for the central characters of Ulysses, Leopold and Molly Bloom. While Ulysses is primarily a book about Joyce's Dublin, the Dublin it presents is no longer simply the provincial city which stifled the young writer and forced him to depart, rather melodramatically, for exile and Europe; it is instead a cosmopolitan metropolis which resounds with echoes from all over the continent. While the central characters of Ulysses are all genuinely and vitally Dubliners, Stephen Dedalus brings with him Greek elements, Leopold Bloom has a vital middle-European, Austro-Hungarian and Jewish background and his wife Molly is decidedly Mediterranean, having been born in Gibraltar of Major Brian Tweedy and Lunita Laredo, his Spanish-Jewish wife. Joyce could never have found this combination of backgrounds and identities in Dublin but there seems little doubt that he discovered it in Trieste, a city noted for its multi-cultural and multi-ethnic fabric. He used the Adriatic metropolis as a source of many of the "foreign", and especially Jewish, elements which enrich the book. To complement what he knew of the Jewish situation in Ireland, he visited Trieste's synagogues (a new one was inaugurated in 1912 as the biggest in Europe), its Jewish shops and businesses, and from his many Jewish friends and students - a mixture of rich businessmen, irredentists, Zionists and the offspring - put a considerable amount of non-Irish flesh on the character of Leopold Bloom, whose very name may be the result of a cross enacted by Joyce with the names of two people he knew in Trieste - Leopoldo Popper and Luis Blum.

Perhaps the key text for any understanding of Joyce's Triestine absorption is Giacomo Joyce, his brief and fragmentary Triestine novelette written sometime between 1911 and 1914 and located overwhelmingly in the Adriatic city. It bears the singular honour of being the only Joyce work of any length to be situated outside his native city. Giacomo Joyce is largely in English with a little interwoven Italian, Triestino and German, and comprises just sixteen hand-written pages written on both sides of eight large sheets with uneven gaps between the paragraphs or entries or fragments of text. Among other things it presents a portrait of Joyce at around thirty finding himself fascinated by a young Triestine girl and, of a "continentalised" not so young writer coming to terms with the clash of complex Middle-European and Italian identities and cultures that made Trieste such a singular place.

The Italian-Irish title Giacomo Joyce evokes a different vision of the writer to the one to which we are accustomed, suggesting a man comfortably acclimatised to life in Trieste, steeped in Italian culture, literature and language - an Italianised Irishman pleased to stray into the shadows of illustrious Giacomos before him such as Leopardi, Puccini, and Casanova. As various official documents relating to Joyce in Trieste show, the writer was habitually referred to as Giacomo (or sometimes Giac.) and he seems to have enjoyed adopting the name and indulging in the various Triestine nuances it evoked. He signed a letter written in the Triestine dialect to Italo Svevo "Giacometo" and another, dated 8 September 1920 to Francini Bruni, "Jacomo Del Oio, sudito botanico" [19]. In this case the "Jacomo" is Giacomo as it would have been spelt in Triestine dialect, the "sudito botanico" a Triestinised version of the Italian "suddito (subject) - it was and is the habit of Triestines never to pronounce double letters and their dialect reflects this - and a pun on Britannico" (British) which Joyce's passport declared he was; the "del Oio" carries a conscious hint of Joyce's financial woes in its echo of a Triestine idiom "Scampar coi bori de l'oio" (to flee from the paying of debts). The writer re-evokes his money troubles in another letter written on 20 February 1924, when he mentions "S.Giacomo in Monte di pieta" [20], referring to the working-class district of Trieste which bore his name and was just up the street from his house in via Bramante (he changed the name slightly from San Giacomo in Monte (Saint James on the hill) to the more apt "San Giacomo in Monte di pietà" (Saint James in the pawnbrokers) - thus evoking a place he was forced to visit as a customer all-too-often during his Triestine years. Finally, in a letter written in the unhappy thirties to Lucia, he ironically translates himself as "Giacomo Giocondo" - James joyful.[21]

Giacomo Joyce is dominated by the figure of a mysterious young Triestine woman whose depiction genuinely represents a turning point for Joyce as a creative writer and which would later come to nourish the more complicated female characters of Molly Bloom and Anna Livia Plurabelle. As Neil Davison put it, Joyce would go on to create Molly "out of the buried remnants of his dark lady (of Giacomo Joyce) coupled with the experience of his true intimacy with Nora Barnacle".[22] What then, we might well ask, was the nature of the mystery lady who could have provoked such turmoil and subsequent growth in Joyce? Three candidates have been identified - Amalia Popper, Annie Schleimer, and Emma Cuzzi - but Joyce's female creation may well be judged to be a composite of all of these and perhaps others students as well. Highly educated and highly assured, the young Triestine ladies encountered by Joyce were singularly independent and showed a range of qualities not always common in other women of their age. They studied music, often attended university (in Vienna, Graz, or Florence); they spoke, in addition to Triestino, at least three languages (Italian, German, English or French), and were usually widely read; they engaged in rigorous sporting activities - cycling, horse-riding, skiing, gymnastics - and at the same time, were highly fashion conscious. They were emancipated young ladies who, unlike their Irish counterparts, showed little or no interest in religion and were all aware of the sexual and intellectual attraction they could exercise over a young man such as Joyce.

Equally powerfully inscribed in the pages of Joyce's text is the city of Trieste, which is not simply a location for this chronicle of a failed and impossible love-story, but an active agent in the development of the narrative. As Carla Marengo Vaglio has shown, Joyce attempts "to illustrate Trieste from within, giving a sort of moral portrait of it (the streets, the harbour, the market, the hospital, the theatre, the house of baron Ralli, the israelitic cemetery, the cloudy Carso mountains, trams, the "huddled browntiled roofs, testudo-form".[23] He achieves this with an effect which is often almost totally visual, falling only slightly short of being cinematographic, such as in these descriptions of particular streets in Trieste and of its awned markets:

"At midnight, after music, all the way up the via San Michele...[24]

The sellers offer on their altars the first fruits: grecnflecked lemons, jewelled cherries, shameful peaches with torn leaves. The carriage passes through the lane of canvas stalls, its wheel-spokes spinning in the glare. Make way! Her father and his son sit in the carriage.[25]

The lady goes apace, apace, apace.....Pure air on the upland road. Trieste is waking rawly: raw sunlight over its huddled browntiled roofs, testudoform; a multitude of prostate bugs await a national deliverance.[26]

What seems initially to be detached physical description rapidly reveals itself to function on other levels. This brief passage soon shows a political underside in its masterly evocation of the city's Irredentist movement which was so powerful a force in Joyce's time in the image of the "prostrate bugs" waiting to be emancipated - which of course represent the Italians awaiting deliverance from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or as Joyce calls it in Finnegans Wake "old Auster and Hungrig."

If his brief poetic notebook is Joyce's homage to the "docile Trieste" [27] of the highly-cultured upper-middle class Middle-European elite it was his chore and his pleasure to serve as their "maestro inglese", [28] his letters in Triestine might well be read as his warm and appreciative salute to the livelier and more popular culture that he encountered on a daily basis in what he referred to in Finnegans Wake as his "città immediata". These letters have less affinity with the sophisticated worlds of his private language students and can be linked more easily to Triestine popular culture, to the worlds and words of the people he met on the streets and in the endless round of bars he made an intermittent habit of frequenting. As a drinking town Trieste was every bit Dublin's match and Joyce would have been delighted with the choice of some 600 bars, osterie, birrerie and trattorie which the city boasted. Indeed, what Bloom says of Dublin: "Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub" (£74.129-130) was equally true of the Adriatic city [29]. It was in these places that he picked up his colourful variety of Triestino even if the only examples we have of his using it today are to Ettore Schmitz (whose family would never have let him darken the door of some of the bettole or dives Joyce went to), and to Alessandro Francini Bruni, whose thankless task it often was to drag him home, a floppy drunk, from a bar in the Cita Vecia - the old city.

Perhaps the most famous letter that Joyce wrote in Trieste is the one he wrote from Paris on 5 January 1921 to Schmitz and which is kept today in the Museo Sveviano of the Biblioteca Civica di Trieste. Joyce begins in standard Italian telling Schmitz of how Ulysses is progressing before moving on to the important part of the letter, which he writes in Italian and in Triestino, asking his friend to go and fetch a large bundle of notes he had left behind in Trieste:

Ora l'importante: non posso muovermi da qui (come credevo di poter fare) prima di maggio. Infatti da mesi e mesi non vado a letto prima delle 2 o 3 di mattina, lavorando senza tregua. Avrò presto esaurito gli appunti che portai qui con me per scriver questi due episodi. C'è a Trieste, nel quartiere di mio cognato, l'immobile segnato col numero politico e tavolare di via Sanità, 2, e precisamente situato al terzo piano del suddetto immobile nella camera da letto attualmente occupata da mio fratello, a ridosso dell'immobile in parola e prospettante i postriboli di pubblica insicurezza una mappa di tela cerata legata con un nastro elastico, di colore addome di suora di carità, avente le dimensioni approssimative di cm 95 a cm 70. In codesta mappa riposai i segni simbolici dei languidi lampi che talvolta balenarono nell'alma mia.

II peso lordo, senza tara, è stimato a chilogrammi 4.78. Avendo bisogno urgente di questi appunti per l'ultimazione del mio lavoro letterario intitolato Ulisse ossia Sua Mare Grega rivolgo cortese istanza a Lei, colendissimo collega, pregandoLa di farmi sapere se qualcuno della Sua famiglia si propone di recarsi prossimamente a Parigi, nel quale caso sarei gratissimo se la persona di cui sopra vorrcbbe avere la squisitezza di portarmi la mappa indicata a tergo.

Dunque, caro signor Schmitz, se ghe ze qualchedun di Sua famiglia che viaggia per ste parti la mi faria un regalo portando quel fagotto che non ze pesante gnanca per songo parchè, la mi capisse, ze pien de carte che mi go scritto pulido cola pena e qualche volta anca col bleistiff quando no iera pena. Ma ocio a no sbregar el lastico parchè allora nasserà confusion fra le carte. El meio saria de cior na valigia che si pol serrar cola ciave che nissun pol verzer. Ne ghe ze tante di ste trappole da vender da Greiniz Neffen rente al Piccolo che paga mio fradel el professore della Berlitz Cui. Ogni modo la mi scriva un per di parole, dai, come la magnemo. Revoltella me gha scritto disendo che ze muli da saminar par zinque fliche ognedun e dopo i ze dotori de revoltella e che mi vegno la de lu per dar lori l'aufgabe par inglese a zingue fliche ma non go risposto parchè era una monada e po' la marca mi vegnaria costar cola carta tre fliche come che ze adesso coi bori e mi avanzaria do fliche per cior el treno e magnar e bever tre giomi, cossa la vol che sia.

Saluti cordiali e scusi se il mio cervelletto esaurito si diverte un pochino ogni tanto. Mi scriva presto, prego. James Joyce.[30]

The English version reads as follows (but it loses much of the colour of the original, much in the way many Triestines lose their linguistic vitality and verve when forced to abandon their dialect and speak "in lingua", that is, in Italian):

Now for the important matter: I cannot leave here (as I had hoped to) before May. As a matter of fact, for months and months I have not gone to bed before 2 or 3 in the morning, working without respite. I shall soon have used up the notes I brought with me here so as to write these two episodes. There is in Trieste in the quarter of my brother-in-law in the building bearing the political and registry number 2 of Via Sanità and located precisely on the third floor of the said building in the bedroom presently occupied by my brother, in the rear of the building in question, facing the brothels of public insecurity, an oilcloth briefcase fastened with a rubber band having the colour of a nun's belly and with the approximate dimensions of 95 cm. by 70 cm. In this briefcase I have lodged the written symbols of the languid sparks which flashed at times across my soul.

The gross weight without tare is estimated at 4.78 kilograms. Having urgent need of these notes for the last incident in my literary work entitled Ulysses or "His Whore of a Mother", I address this petition to you, most honourable colleague, begging you to let me know if any member of your family intends to come to Paris in the near future, in which case I should be most grateful if the above-mentioned person would have the kindness to bring me the briefcase specified on the back of this sheet.

So, dear Signor Schmitz, if there is someone in your family who is travelling this way, he would do me a great favor by bringing me this bundle, which is not at all heavy since, you understand, it is full of papers which I have written carefully with a pen and at times with a bleistiff when I had no pen. But be careful not to break the rubber band because then the papers will fall into disorder. The best thing would be to take a suitcase which can be locked with a key so nobody can open it. There are many such traps on sale at Greinitz Neffen, next to the Piccolo, for [one of ] which my brother the Professor at the Berlitz Cul will pay. At any rate write me a few words. How are you getting along? Revoltella has written me saying that there are boyos to be examined at five fliche each after which they will be Revoltella doctors and that I should come from here to give them English lessons at 5 fliche, but I haven't answered because the postage stamps and stationery, the way money is today, will cost me three fliche and I will be left with two fliche to take the train and eat and drink for three days, isn't that something to think about. Cordial greetings and excuse if my little worn-out brain amuses itself a little every so often. Write me soon, please.

James Joyce. [31]

The first thing to be noted about this letter and its use of Triestino is that Joyce is having fun, delving back into the linguistic idiosyncrasies of his second city. In the first two paragraphs, he adopts a tone that is almost legalistic in the precision of its descriptions but at the same time verges on the ridiculous in the minuteness of the details it describes in its highly formal, almost overwritten bureaucratic Italian. In his use of the phrase "di colore addome di suora di carita", Joyce is translating a Triestine idiom "color panza de moniga" (the colour of a nun's belly) into standard Italian with great comic effect. Towards the end of the first paragraph the style changes and begins to verge towards the lyrical. In phrases such as "riposai i segni simbolici dei languidi lampi che talvolta balenarono nell'alma mia", Joyce seems to be having fun at the expense of the highly embellished, gushing style of a Carducci (whom he described as a "word-monger" to Stanislaus [32] or a D'Annunzio (whom he admired) and using almost ridiculous sounding archaisms.

The third paragraph reveals a total change in tone from the falsely formal to the familiar. Perhaps Joyce realises that he is asking of Schmitz yet another favour (he regularly and not always successfully attempted to borrow money from him) and so here decides to make light of what will be yet another errand done for him by his old friend. The paragraph contains many topical references to things important to Joyce in Trieste, such as his brother "mio fradel" (from the Italian "fratello" Stanislaus, who served for so long as a teacher in the Berlitz school (here given as Berlitz Cul" - "cul" meaning "arse"), and who would soon take up the place Joyce so disdains in this letter at the "Revoltella" - the once Scuola and now Istituto di Commercio "Revoltella" which was on its way to becoming the University of Trieste. Once again, this paragraph of the letter reveals all of Joyce's fascination with the dialect of Triestino, his keen ear not only for the dialect as it should have been spoken by the "Triestini doc" (those born and bred there) - that is "Triestin patoco" but for the dialect as it was used and misused in the mouths of often ignorant immigrants from near and far. What emerges from these lines is the vibrancy of a spoken dialect rather than the circumscribed closure and limits of a written language. The Joyce who complained about not being able to express himself "in English without enclosing myself in a tradition" [33] is very much in keeping with the Joyce we find here revelling in the almost impromptu flexibility he can allow himself with Triestino and in a sense his use of this dialect reads in retrospect like a step on the road to that "language which is above all languages", which he would devise for Finnegans Wake.

A further fragment from another letter composed in a mixture of English, French, Italian and Triestino, demonstrates again Joyce's ability with the dialect and his impatience with remaining within the confines of one tradition. Given the comment that Ulysses "is still growing older" with its conscious echo of the English title given by Joyce to Svevo's novel Senilità, it can confidently be said to be addressed to the Triestine novelist.

Dear mr Zavata: H have yesterday met your gentle... with our... The old clapa was again complete but for you. Some fine bottles were opened; one glass however remained always full in honour of your splendid Odyssaea, Ulysses, you cannot have forgotten him, is still growing older [...] sua mare grega. Quel m...atto di suo padre is meanwhile starving albeit here la cave soit bonne. Dai, dai, esimio sior Papuzza, non la staghi fare il mo.. .ralista. Bim, bum, bum! Many wishes for Xmas and New Year. Yours sincerely Giacometo [34]

Once again here Joyce demonstrates his expert knowledge of Triestino. The name "zavata" is popular Triestine for "ciabatta" meaning slipper but it also denotes "una persona malandata" as seen in following verse from a song common at the turn of the twentieth century in Trieste: Tra la scafa e la pignata/casca tute le ilusion/e diventa 'na zavata / la piu bela del liston (Between the sink and the pot/falls every illusion/ and the most beautiful girl out walking/becomes a slipper). Mr Zavata later becomes "sior Papuzza", again Triestino meaning Mr slipper. Both "zavata" and "papuza" originate in the Turkish words "cabat" and "papusc", which were brought to North Eastern Italy in general and Trieste in particular by Turkish merchants and street sellers of these products. "Clapa" is a Triestinism which made it into the dialect from nearby Friuli and means "a group" or someone who enjoys a good time. The reference to "sua mare grega", is a coarse Triestine expression which translates loosely as "his whore of a mother" but finds a more apt equivalent in the English phrase "son of a bitch". Joyce uses it to refer to Ulysses, which he was still writing at the time of this letter, and it suggests all the frustration that the writing of that book was causing him and the effort it was demanding of him. The following phrase "non la staghi fare il mo...ralista", again Triestino, means "don't be a moraliser" or "don't start moralising" but what is more significant is what Joyce does not write. His distaste for using strong curses of which Schmitz was a witness is suggested in the "mo.." which probably stands for the most used Triestine curse of all "mona" (referring to the female sexual organ but meaning a stupid person). Finally, as Stelio Crise has shown the "Bim, bum, bom!" would naturally be followed by the line of the popular Triestine {no, the song is Milanese] song which goes "a rombo del canon!"(to the rumble of the canon).

Limits of space here do not permit an more in depth study of Joyce's use of Triestino. What is important to reiterate however is the extent to which the dialect was appreciated and assimilated by Joyce, who recognised in its often bare and direct expressive capacities, in its ability to absorb words that were not only Italian but came also from the German, Slav, French and other languages, qualities which were present in the city of Trieste itself and in its inhabitants. Joyce's coming to this Adriatic town may have been accidental but it was also providential for the Irish writer who, long after settling in Paris, continued to refer to himself as a Tergestime Exul [35] (an exile from Trieste) and to remember with warmth his crucial creative years there.

John McCourt
Trieste, 6 June 2000.


Footnotes:

  1. Letter of 22 December 1909 to Nora Barnacle quoted in James Joyce, Selected Letters of James Joyce. Edited by Richard Ellmann. London: Faber and Faber, 1975, p 193. The subject of Joyce in Trieste has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years with the publication of Renzo S Crivelli's James Joyce: ltinerari Triestini/Triestine ltineraries, translated by John McCourt. Trieste: MGS Press Editrice, 1996, Peter Hartshom's James Joyce and Trieste. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997, and my own The Years of Bloom: Joyce in Trieste 1904-1920. Dublin: Lilliput Press, May 2000 and Madison: the University of Wisconsin Press, Autumn 2000. These book-length studies have been flanked by a flurry of insightful articles on the subject by European and American scholars and by several exhibitions in Trieste connected with Joyce, most recently "Le Donne di Giacomo: il Mondo femminile nella Trieste di James Joyce" organised by La Bottega Joyce in conjunction with the University of Trieste and the Comune di Trieste and "Caro Signor Schmitz...' Un'Amicizia tra le Righe" organised by the Biblioteca Civica "A. Hortis" di Trieste. This July the Trieste Joyce School organised by the Dipartimento di Letterature e civiltà Anglo-Germaniche of the University of Trieste will hold its fourth annual session attracting again some 60 Joyce enthusiasts from as many as 20 different countries while plans are already afoot for Trieste to host the 2002 International James Joyce Symposium.
  2. Herbert Gonnan, James Joyce: A Definitive Biography. London: The Bodley Head, 1941, p. 143.
  3. Bosinelli Bollettieri, Rosa Maria, "The Importance of Trieste in Joyce's Work, With Reference to His Knowledge of Psycho-Analysis" in James Joyce Quarterly, Spring 1970, Vol. 7. no.3, 177-179.
  4. Stanislaus Joyce, Triestine Book of Days, 8 September 1908. A entire photocopy of this document is kept in the Richard Ellmann Collection at the McFarlin Library ofUniversity of Tulsa.
  5. Francini Bruni made these remarks in a partially unpublished interview with Joyce's greatest biographer, Richard Ellmann, in July 1954. Ellmann's notes are to be found in the Richard Ellmann Collection at the McFarlin Library of University of Tulsa.
  6. Italo Svevo, James Joyce, translated by Stanislaus Joyce. New York: City Lights Books, 1972. No pages given.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce. London: Oxford University Press, 1982 (revised edition), p. 374.
  9. Joyce's letters to Nora were increasingly sprinkled with phrases in Italian in this period.
  10. Letter of 7 September 1909 to Nora Barnacle Joyce in Letters II, p. 249.
  11. Letter of 16 December 1909 to Nora in Selected Letters of James Joyce, p. 191. Joyce's Italian and Triestine phrases can be translated as: ". ..a nice meal, an espresso (un caffè nero is Triestine for this), a Brasil (a type of cigar) and Nora "
  12. Soupault, Philippe,"James Joyce" in Portraits of the Artis't in Exile - Recollections of Joyce by Europeans, ed Wi1lard Potts. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1979, p.110.
  13. For a detailed discussion of Joyce's use of Italian see Serenella Zanotti, "Per un ritratto dell'artista 'italianato' note sull'italiallo di James Joyce con edizione di un testo" in Studi Linguistici Italiani, Volume XXV , Fascicolo 1, Salerno Editrice, Roma, MCMXCIX, pp.16-63.
  14. Letter of 17 October 1935 to Lucia Joyce, in Letters III, 377-378. The translation of the Triestine word "Siora" as "Miss" is wrong. It is word deriving from the Triestine lower-classes denoting "Signora" (Missus/Mrs).
  15. Francini Bruni, Alessandro. Joyce intimo spogliato in piazza. Trieste: La editoriale Libraria, 1922, p.11.
  16. Alessandro Francini Bruni, "Joyce Stripped Naked in the Piazza" in "in Portraits of the Artist in Exile - Recollections of Joyce by Europeans, ed Willard Potts. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1979, p. 12.
  17. Silvio Benco, "James Joyce in Trieste", in Willard Potts, ed. Portraits of the Artist in Exile, 52.
  18. The original document is kept in the Comell Joyce Collection and a facsirnile version is available in M. Groden et al, eds., The James Joyce Archive (NewYork and London: Garland Publishing, 1979), vol. II, 1-105.
  19. Letter of 8 September 1920 to Alessandro Francini Bruni in Selected Letters of James Joyce, 268-269.

  20. Letter of 20 February 1924 to Italo Svevo in Letters!, 211-212. 31
  21. Letter of 7 April 1935 to Lucia Joyce in Letters III, 352-353.were highly fashion conscious. They were emancipated young ladies who, unlike their Irish counterparts, showed little or no interest in religion and were well aware of the sexual and intellectual attraction they could exercise over a young man such as Joyce.
  22. Neil Davison, James Joyce, Ulysses, and the construction of Jewish identity, 52.

  23. Joyce, James, Giacomo Joyce. With an Introduction and Notes by Richard Ellmann. London: Faber and Faber, 1984,8.
  24. Ibid, 6.
  25. Ibid, 8.
  26. Ibid 8.
  27. Ibid, 10.
  28. Ibid, 5.
  29. Trieste also had several caffe chantant, ice-cream parlours, Hungarian style bakeries and Viennese coffee shops.

  30. Selected Letters of James Joyce, edited by Richard Elimann, 275-276.
  31. Ibid, 277.
  32. Stanislaus Joyce, Entry of 29 April 1907 in the Triestine Book of Days.

  33. Quoted in Ellmann, Richard, James Joyce, p. 397.
  34. Reproduced from Stelio Crise's "Joyce e Trieste" in Scritti, a cura di Elvio Guagnini, Trieste: Edizioni Parnaso, 1995, 44-45. The annotations which follow are heavily indebted to Crise's work and to Mario Doria's Grande Dizionario del dialetto Triestino Storico, Etimologico, Frasenlogico. Trieste: Finanziaria Editoriale Triestina, 1991. Proof of Joyce's mastery of Triestino is to be found in the fact thaE Professor Doria regularly cites Joyce as a source for Triestine words in his dictionary.
  35. Letter of 29 August 1920 to Stanislaus Joyce in Selected Letters, p. 268.

Works Cited:

  • Benco, Silvio. "James Joyce in Trieste", in Willard Potts, ed. Portraits of the Artist in Exile, 49-58.
  • Bosinelli Bollettieri, Rosa Maria. "The Importance of Trieste in Joyce's Work, With Reference to His Knowledge of Psycho-Analysis" in James Joyce Quarterly, Spring 1970, Vol. 7. no.3, 177-179.
  • Crise, Stelio. Scritti, a curadi Elvio Guagnini, Trieste: Edizioni Parnaso, 1995.
  • Crivelli, Rcnzo S. James Joyce: Itinerari Triestini/Triestine Itineraries, translated by John McCourt. Trieste: MGS Press Editrice, 1996.
  • Davison, Neil, R. James Joyce, Ulysses, and the construction of Jewish Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  • Doria, Mario con la collaborazione di Noliani, Claudio. Grande Dizionario del dialetto Triestino Storico, Etimologico, Fraseologico. Trieste: Finanziaria Editoriale Triestina, 1991.
  • Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce. London: Oxford University Press, 1982 (revised edition).
  • Francini Bruni, Alessandro. Joyce intimo spogliato in piazza. Trieste: La editoriale Libraria, 1922.
  • Francini Bruni, Alessandro. "Joyce Stripped Naked in the Piazza" in" in Portraits of the Artist in Exile - Recollections of Joyce by Europeans, ed Willard Potts. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1979, 7-38.
  • Gorman, Herbert. James Joyce: A Definitive Biography. London: The Bodley Head, 1941.
  • Groden, Michael, et al, eds., The James Joyce Archive (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1979), vol. II.
  • Hartshorn, Peter. James Joyce and Trieste. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997.
  • James Joyce. Dublimrs. With and Introduction and notes by Terence Brown. London: Penguin Books, 1992.
  • _______. Finnegans Wake. London: Fabcr and Faber, 1989.
  • _______. Giacomo Jovce. With an Introduction and Notes by Richard Ellmann. London: Faber and Fabcr, 1984.
  • _______. Letters of James Joyce. Three volumes. Vol. I edited by Sturart Gilbert (1957); vols. II and III edited by Richard Ellmann. New York: Viking Press, 1966.
  • _______. Poems and Exiles. Edited by J.C.C. Mays. London: Faber and Faber, 1992.
  • _______. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Corrected by Chester Anderson and edited by Richard Ellmann. London: Paladin, 1987.
  • _______. Selected Letters of James Joyce. Edited by Richard Ellmann. London: Faber and Faber, 1975.
  • _______. Ulysses. The Corrected Text, edited by Hans Walter Gabler et al. New York: Random House, 1984.
  • Stanislaus Joyce, Triestine Book of Days. A entire photocopy of this document is kept in the Richard Ellmann Collection at the McFarlin Library of University of Tulsa.
  • McCourt, John. The Years of Bloom: James Joyce in Trieste 1904-1920. Dublin: Lilliput Press, May 2000.
  • Potts, Willard. Portraits of the Artist in Exile: Recollections of James Joyce by Europeans. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1979.
  • Soupault, Philippe. "James Joyce" in Portraits of the Artist in Exile - Recollections of Joyce by Europeans, ed Willard Potts. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1979, 108-118.
  • Svevo, Italo. James Joyce, translated by Stanislaus Joyce. New York: City Lights Books, 1972. No pages given.
  • Zanotti, Serenella. "Per un ritratto dell'artista 'italianato' note sull'italiano di James Joyce con edizione di un testo" in Studi Linguistici Italiani, Volume XXV, Fascicolo 1, Salerno Editrice, Roma, MCMXCIX, 16-63.

The pre-1917 Milanese / Triestine song mentioned above:

La Moglie di Cecco Beppe

La moglie di Cecco Beppe
L’andava in biciclètta
Ghe s’è stortaa el manuber
L’ha faa ona pirolètta:

Bim bom bòm
al rombo del cannon.

La moglie di Cecco Beppe
L’è andada a la Bovina
A gh’è s’cioppaa ona bomba
Sott ’a la camisa

Bim bom bòm
Al rombo del cannon.

La moglie di Cecco Beppe
Faceva la tranviera
L’hoo vista l’altra sera
In sul tram con la libera

Bim bom bòm
Al rombo del cannon.

Sources:

  • Essay - http://www.laboratorioeuropeo.it/pdf/giacomooftrieste.pdf
  • Curriculum (J. McCourt) - http://www.univ.trieste.it/~nirdange/Anglistica/john.html
  • Song - http://www.scienafregia.it/canzoni/?ID=34

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