It was with great sadness that we heard of the passing of our friend and colleague, Anne Taylor on her recent trip to Dublin. Anne died suddenly, shortly after returning to her hotel following a meeting at the James Joyce Centre there.
Anne organised and led frequent tours in the footsteps of Joyce and his characters. Her enthusiasm for the author was plain to see when she gave an erudite and delightful talk to the Cercle in 2016, entitled, James Joyce is alive and well and living in Paris. We had encouraged members to contribute to the atmosphere of the talk by coming dressed in period style. Anne outshone us all with her elegant attire and feathered headdress. It was a treat.
She would later reprise the talk at the James Joyce Centre, Dublin and at an event in Lurgan, this time bringing along a period chair to add a supportive touch of gravitas. Although an acknowledged expert on Joyce, Anne was also passionate about literature and books. She read widely and among other writers had a special interest in Simone de Beauvoir. It was thanks to that interest that she agreed to give our upcoming March talk on Feminism in France: Before and after de Beauvoir. She had planned, using examples from the literary and political spheres, to take a light-hearted look at the position of women in France, from the sans-culottes to the present day. She had shared her ideas with our présidente, Allison, who reports that Anne had travelled to France last summer to gather pictures and anecdotes about de Beauvoir. Philip, who worked closely with Anne on her multimedia presentations, additionally noted that Anne was going to mention Room 10a in the Hôtel la Louisiane, where Simone de Beauvoir (along with many other French writers) stayed. It was also the hotel in which Anne stayed on her visits to Paris. “What a pity,” commented Allison,”we’ll never get to hear that talk in all its glory!”
The committee plans to proceed with the meeting scheduled for 13 March as a testimonial to Anne. It will take place in the recently opened Orpheus, close to the Dark Horse Café. Plans for that special evening are still unfolding but the intention is to pay tribute, through anecdotes, literary readings and song to the energy and wit of such an exceptional person.
Elle n’est plus avec nous et elle nous manquera beaucoup.