St. John Chrysostom and Paris (Freeman’s Journal, 1904)

1.26, 342. The Freeman’s Journal, (Dublin), Tuesday, 14 June, 1904, 2.

A reference to St. John Chrysostom in The Freeman’s Journal.

On the 14th of June, 1904, The Freeman’s Journal’s weekly column, ‘Paris Notes’, reported on the “very sad case of young Alastair Evans” and his death in “deplorable circumstances.” Having alluded to problems with the burial “owing to the mysterious circumstances of the death,” the anonymous correspondent offered the conclusions given in this passage, which demonstrates that St. John Chrysostom was not necessarily a wholly arcane point of reference in contemporary Dublin. It also reminds us of the closeness of the saint’s name to that of Oliver St. John Gogarty; is relevant to the Mulligan-Stephen relationship, not least Mulligan’s impatience with Stephen’s Paris fads at 1.342; and tells us about one kind of contemporary Irish view of the moral dangers of Parisian life:

This young man of much promise is another of those who have fallen victim to the insidious temptations and to the hollow pleasures which Paris holds out to the unwary, who are not acute or experienced enough to see the miserable mockery lurking behind all the garish glitter and tinsel of feasts and enjoyments as fleeting as those to which St. John Chrysostom alludes in his magnificent exordium on the downfall of Eutropius. That picture of the fetes and illuminations of Byzantium is applicable to the Paris of to-day. Vanity of vanities!