It is Cork

Frank O’Connor once visited James Joyce in Paris and asked him about a picture that was hanging in the hallway.

Joyce said it was Cork.

O’Connor replied that he recognised his home city, and that it was the frame he was wondering about.

Joyce said it was cork.

8 Responses to It is Cork

  1. Michael Rundell says:

    This reminds me of a scene in one of those daft Leslie Neilsen movies, where a woman walks into her apartment to find him there. “Who are you, and how did you get in here?” “I’m a locksmith, and I’m a locksmith”.

  2. Mats says:

    I wonder if there’s an equilvalent joke in French with Liège, which coindicentally also means cork.

  3. Just as well Frank O’Connor was from Cork. Just a few miles out and things would have been diffferent… Unless Cobh is a good framing material too

  4. Stan says:

    Michael: Heh. Coincidentally, I saw a clip of that very line only a few days ago. It’s from a scene in Police Squad, I think, but it might have been recycled for one of the films.

    Mats: There could be. It’s a good question.

    Jams: Now you have me imagining a pillow with a map of Down on it, and salad dressing from Mayo…

  5. Joseph Center says:

    There’s a somewhat similar, albeit apocryphal, anecdote about the small city of Lavan Utah, which, purportedly, was so named because it is near the center, or naval, of the state.

  6. wisewebwoman says:

    Trivia Department:
    My father worked briefly with Michael O’Donovan until he got famous. And changed his name.
    He worried about the influence James Joyce and other ungodlies would have on him.
    XO
    WWW

  7. Stan says:

    Joseph: That’s interesting, and new to me. (You mean Levan and navel, I think.) The truth about the name’s origin seems to depend on who is asked. There are similar examples here, though some, like Levan, are probably unverifiable.

    WWW: As trivia goes, that’s pretty impressive! In a Paris Review interview, if I remember correctly, O’Connor called Joyce “a surgeon”, and said he was not a writer. But I think some contemporary writers avoid (or try to avoid) Joyce’s influence by not reading him at all.

  8. Fran says:

    Oh, very good, very good.

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