ACIS Logo “With a faith like mine‚”: the Exile & Independence of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett & Mary Manning Howe

By Dr. Jonathan C. Creasy

In 1902, Joyce wrote to Lady Gregory: ‚”I am going alone and friendless […] into another country […] even if I fail to make my way, such failure proves very little. […] I shall try myself against the powers of the world. […] All things are inconstant except the faith in the soul […] and […] I have found not many yet with a faith like mine.‚” This paper looks at three closely related writers and their individual experiences of exile, independence, emigration, and return (whether actual or imagined). Laying the foundation with Joyce‚’ self-imposed exile in 1904, and his articulation of his personal, political, and artistic motivations in Portrait, I will relate the very different paths of childhood friends Manning and Beckett, both raised in Dublin just after Joyce‚’ departure. Beckett followed Joyce and other expats to Paris, while Manning, leaving behind a promising theater career in Dublin, married a Harvard law professor, moved to Cambridge, Mass., and founded The Poets’ Theatre, where she adapted and staged performances of works by Joyce, Beckett, and others. This talk will analyze works by all three artists and interrogate the connections and distinctions between their experiences of exile and independence, particularly in regards to time, place, gender, and literary form.

Published on: March 29, 2020