The glacial weight of scholasticism is over the room and over all the would-be intellectual life of Dublin. Nobody in this great library is doing any disinterested reading, nobody is poring over any book for the sake of the beauty of its words, for the glory of its thought, but all are reading that they may pass an examination … [Quoted in: A twinge of recollection: the National Library in 1904 and thereabouts. Gerard Long. (The National Library of Ireland Joyce Studies 2004)
A twinge of recollection is a very nice essay looking at the interplay between the distinguished staff of the National Library in 1904 (the year in which Ulysses was set) and its distinguished readers, including Yeats and Joyce.
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