Greeks Bring Good Luck

Joyce was superstitious about Greece, believing that its citizens (“from noblemen down to onionsellers”) brought him good fortune—so much so, that it would affect Ulysses' book design. Count Francesco Sordina, a Greek aristocrat living in Trieste, enrolled in one of Joyce’s first English classes, elevating his instructor’s standing at the school by recommending the course to other wealthy Triestines. Their friendship endured. After World War One began, Sordina and another nobleman helped Joyce and his family emigrate to Zurich. The author memorialized the day they entered Switzerland by inscribing this book to Sordina: “in gratitude and friendship and in remembrance of 21 June 1915.”

Inscription from James Joyce to Count Francesco Sordina
In, James Joyce (1882–1941), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (London: Egoist Ltd., 1917 [i.e., 1918]
The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Sean and Mary Kelly, 2018; PML 197782
© The Estate of James Joyce.