July 4th marks an occasion of a decidedly less independent vein, when James Joyce stopped being a bachelor in an official sense and finally married Nora Barnacle, whom he had been with for 27 years. We were, um, incapacitated yesterday, so we didn’t get around to offering these salutations.This year is their 80th wedding anniversary. (Insert your own Ulysses joke here about the word “Yes.”)
The couple had two grown children by the time they were wed at the Kensington Register Office. That day, they were hounded by reporters, who later printed photographs of the “happy couple,” even though when asked why he had finally married the mother of his children, Joyce responded by saying, “testamentary reasons.” Check out this great article in the Times Literary Supplement about Joyce’s Britishness by Brenda Maddox, author of an excellent biography of Nora.