Jan Gordon: "I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls" and the connection with James Joyce

Sometimes it's fun to just follow connections and see where they lead.

Jan and Cora Gordon wrote in The London Roundabout (1933):
"You try whistling Tosti's Good-bye or I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls, and see what happens. You'll get thrown out on the pavement."

The "unlucky" song (to the superstitious) they mention is from the Gipsy Girl's Dream in an 1843 opera, "Bohemian Girl," composed by Michael William Balfe with libretto by Alfred Bunn.

I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls,
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls,
That I was the hope and the pride.

I had riches too great to count, could boast
Of a high ancestral name;
But I also dreamt, which pleased me most,
That you lov'd me still the same...

That you lov'd me, you lov'd me still the same,
That you lov'd me, you lov'd me still the same.


This verse is the same one performed by the character of Maria in James Joyce's short story "Clay," published in his 1914 collection "Dubliners."



Joyce and the Gordons were contemporaries in Paris over a period of about 12 years, from 1920. They had a number of shared friends and acquaintances, including Myron Nutting and Fritz Vanderpyl (also known as "Ratapouf").

Jan and Cora Gordon had added their names to a public letter in 1927 protesting the "piracy" of James Joyce's "Ulysses" in the USA.

This often happens. A thread of connections leads from the Gordons to one or more of the celebrated Paris-based creative artists of the first third of the 20th century.

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