Joyce Anecdotes.

I have had a text file of various James Joyce anecdotes saved on my computer for a long time. The source is no longer on the public Internet, but I have found my original source, James Joyce Trivia, on the Internet Archive.

Around 1937, Joyce had two parakeets named Pierre and Pipi.
The simplicity of his tastes surprised friends who had not known him long, Frau Giedion brought him together with the architect Le Corbusier, who had spoken of Ulysses as ’ une grande decourverte de la vie.’ To her dismay the conversation turned entirely on two parakeets, Pierre and Pipi, which Joyce had recently acquired. After the meeting Le Corbusier said that Joyce was wonderful. ‘But you talked about nothing at all,’ said Frau Giedion. 'C'est admirable comme il parle d'oiseaux,’ said Le Corbusier, still dazzled. (Ellmann, 700)

Joyce took no part in politics and but rarely, and unwillingly, in political discussion. He was quite likely to yawn through a discussion, say, Karl Marx’s theories and only prick up his ears if Marx’s birthday was mentioned, the reason being that his mythology had room for birthdays and no room for theories. (Budgen, 345) 

At first Francini was greatly amused by Joyce’s brand of Italian, which might use,for example, the old word for sister, sirocchia, instead of the modern sorella. When Francini corrected him, Joyce replied with spirit, 'I learned my Italian from Dante and Dino [Compagni].’ He spoke, in fact, as Francini said, 'a dead language that had come alive to join the babel of living tongues’ that were spoken in this hole-in-the-corner of Pola. Joyce soon understood that Francini had an exceptional command of the best Italian, the Tuscan, both in its formal aspects and in its character of a local dialect with special words and meanings. He offered to exchange lessons in Dublin English for lessons in Tuscan Italian. Francini agreed, and kept his part of the bargain so well that Joyce became almost faultless; when, however, it was Joyce’s turn to teach Francini, he was apt to find some excuse. (Ellmann, 187)