Flynnlandia, or the rise (and fall) of the House of Usher
D 15.13-16 (‘The Dead’): It was always a great affair, the Misses Morkan’s annual dance. Everybody who knew them came to it, members of the family, old friends of the family, the members of Julia’s choir, any of Kate’s pupils that were grown up enough and even some of Mary Jane’s pupils too.
Later evidence suggests that Ellmann may have been incorrect in identifying the Misses Morkan with these two Flynn sisters.
More recently a considerable amount of new information on the Flynn family has become available through historical databases of Irish newspapers and other nineteenth-century sources. The purpose of this article is to examine what these sources can tell us about the real-life Flynn family, and to determine how much of this information Joyce uses in his delineation of the Flynns in his work. This review calls into question, amongst other things, the simple one-to-one correspondence between Kate Morkan and Mrs Ellen Callanan (née Flynn) and between Julia Morkan and Mrs Julia Lyons (née Flynn) proposed by Ellmann, but also draws what may be a more accurate (though necessarily incomplete) picture of the Flynn family throughout the nineteenth century in Dublin.
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1 Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982) (revised edition).
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