Joycean Summer

My decision to tackle Ulysses this summer is due to Steven Riddle’s enthusiasm at A Momentary Taste of Being, aided by the gleeful encouragement of The Sheila Variations. A handsome new edition of Finnegans Wake is on its way.

Joyce said, “With me, the thought is always simple.” The structure is complex, but the thought behind it is simple. “Once you get that… the whole thing is not only quite easy, but a ton of fun. To treat it like a big serious tome is to completely miss the point of the book—which is rather silly, most of the time … and has to do with what people eat, and how they chew, and what it’s like in a brothel, and the people you meet on any given day: windbags, sirens, patriotic nimrods, pious righteous folks, old tired teachers … whatever.

“It’s a cornucopia of personality. And I think Joyce was onto something when he said there’s not a serious line in it. ..It’s an important book—yes. Its place in literary history and the history of the 20th century is pre-eminent. Nobody tops him. But the book itself is a rollicking jaunt through one day—June 16, 1904—Joyce wrote it as a tribute to his wife Nora.

This quotation taken from On Matters That Matter.

[2 Jan 2015: Unaccountably this bland little post is getting some traffic some five years later. These older posts date from my days with Blogger, so many of the internal links are broken. As these old posts get traffic I revisit them to scrub old Blogger code away and check links. That Joycean summer of 2010 saw me revisit Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners and complete a first reading of Ulysses. That handsome edition of the Wake still awaits my attention, and I’m in no great hurry.]

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