Mike introscuses himself!

mikeportrait Hello. This is Mike Barsanti, yr humble interlocutor & sometime Joyce scholar, the Father Cowley of Joyce Scholars, defrocked and voluble. I come to this project dishonestly, having been, at the time it was introduced to me, the Associate Director and “resident Joycean” of theRosenbach Museum & Library. I am now no longer there, working for a Very Large Philanthropic Organization that will not be named. Yet.

I came to Joyce dishonestly too, not out of any dignified need to experience great art, but rather because I have a competitive streak and I heard it was the hardest book to read in the English language and that my father had started it and never finished. And it was written by an Irishman, and I was much more interested in my Irish heritage (Momma was an O’Rourke) than in my Italian or (Heaven Forfend!) my English heritage. I would later realize that the blend of Irish, Italian, and English was actually an excellent combination to bring to the Joycean altar… but save that for later.

My bona fides, such as they are: First read Ulysses with the great Ed Germain at Andover. Took a class with Don Gifford at Williams, then went to U. Miami (Go ‘Canes!) & got an M.A. with Zack Bowen & Pat McCarthy & an amazing rag-tag fleet of Joycan grad students. Very smart people. Took Bernie Benstock’s last Finnegans Wake seminar there. Joined the IJJF and went to the best literary academic conferences ever in Seville and Rome and London. Went to U. of Penn. & did my Ph.D. with Vicki Mahaffey (my dissertation adviser) and Jean-Michel Rabate, as well as a great crew of colleagues and friends. Worked at the Rosenbach Museum & Library for 11 years, first as an intern, then a consulting curator, then associate curator, then Director of Special Projects, the Associate Director. Curated the 2000 exhibition *Ulysses in Hand*, which opened at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. Curated a traveling exhibition about Joyce and his work for the Irish government that travelled all over the world in 2004. blah-de-blah.

So know, gentle reader, that you are in the hands of a true Joyce Trekkie. Haines says in “Wandering Rocks” that Shakespeare is “the happy hunting ground of minds that have lost their balance.” It’s not just Shakespeare any more. I’m glad you’re joining us for a very strange journey.

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