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Fran O’Rourke’s first ‘artistic’ connection with James Joyce, almost fifty years ago, was on a children’s TV programme (hosted by a ventriloquist’s dummy) when he sang a folk song with a line about ‘old mother Flipperflapper’; a variation of the line occurs in Finnegans Wake. The first copy of Ulysses which he held in his hand was a first edition—in Zürich, where he developed the habit of daily visits to Fluntern cemetery.

O’Rourke is Associate Professor of Philosophy at University College Dublin. A graduate of University College Galway he studied in Vienna, Köln, Louvain, and Leuven, where he received his PhD. He has held Fulbright and Onassis fellowships and in 2003 was Visiting Research Professor at Marquette University. He is primarily interested in the tradition of classical metaphysics and has published widely on Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Heidegger. His book Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas was reissued by University of Notre Dame Press (2005). Allwisest Stagyrite: Joyce’s Quotations from Aristotle was published by the National Library of Ireland in 2005. He is preparing for publication a collection of essays entitled Aristotelian Interpretations, and he is completing a book on James Joyce, Aristotle, and Aquinas. He has lectured widely both on philosophical influences in James Joyce and on Joyce’s use of song; he has performed recitals of Irish songs with a Joyce connection in the National Concert Hall, Dublin (2004), and the Conservatorio, Trieste (2008). In 2012 he arranged and sponsored the restoration of James Joyce’s guitar preserved since 1966 in the Tower at Sandycove.