Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Wandering Rocks/240

Annotations edit

Coactus volui     (Latin) Having been forced, I was willing.[1] The phrase occurs in the Digest, the compendium of Roman law compiled by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. In Digest 4:2:21:5 a judgment of the Roman jurisconsult Paulus is cited:

Digest 4:2:21:5[2]

Si metu coactus adii hereditatem,
puto me heredem effici,
quia quamvis si liberum esset noluissem,
tamen coactus volui

If I have been forced by fear to accept a legacy,
I judge that I am made a legatee,
because, though I would not have been willing had it been freely offered,
nevertheless, having been forced, I was willing.

From the context it is clear that the meaning of the phrase is: Although I was forced, this does not alter the fact that I was willing. According to Oliver St John Gogarty, Joyce's principal model for Buck Mulligan, Farrell was Classically trained and fond of abstruse Latin quotations;[3] but why he makes this remark while frowning at the distant pleasance of duke's lawn is still a mystery. For further discussion, see R. J. Schork, Joyce and Justinian: U 250 and 520 in the James Joyce Quarterly, University of Tulsa, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Fall, 1985), pp. 77–80.[4]

References edit

  1. Gifford (1988) 282.
  2. Digest 4:2:21:5
    Iustiniani Digesta
  3. St John Gogarty, Oliver (1980). As I Was Going Down Sackville Street. London: Sphere Books Limited. pp. 5–22, 269.
  4. Joyce and Justinian: U 250 and 520.
Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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