George William Russell, Irish legend in a crowded field, once published something under the pseudonym Æon but the printer cut off the last two letters and Æ liked the result. He did and was a lot of things, mainly between 1890 and 1930: painter, composer, agriculturalist, cyclist, pacifist, vegetarian, mystic, mentor, publisher. He published a weekly newspaper called The Irish Homestead intended mainly to support the rise of co-op farming but it wove in plenty of the Irish literary revival. How could he help it? Who could blame him.
Æ gave James Joyce his start, asked him to write something simple. Joyce’s first published story “The Sisters” appeared in The Irish Homestead under the pseudonym Stephen Dedalus. It’s from a child’s point of view, so it seemed simple, of the wake and remembrance of a priest whose life was, you might say, crossed. That’s how Eliza puts it in the story. It’s what she doesn’t … More