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that joyce guy

Started by billy rubin, February 03, 2022, 12:29:19 AM

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billy rubin

have any of you ever managed to get all the way through ulysses?

if you have, whai is your opinion?

about every five years i pick it up again and re-read it. spectacular imagery and the characters are so alive.

and every time i get to the weird second half i am defeated by it. people lots smarter than me tell me that the book is magnificent, and ive carry images and scraps of dialog and narration in my head for years.

portrait of the artist is wonderful too and more accessible.

i have never even attempted finnegans wake


i expected nothing but im still disappointed

hermes2015

Yes, when I was in my late twenties, I got through Ulysses with the help of a chapter by chapter guide, written by Anthony Burgess, I think. I enjoyed it, because when the symbolism and puns are explained, it reads like a mini Odyssey, as it should. I never attempted Finnegan's Wake, because I don't have any qualifications in literature and didn't think it was worth the struggle.

Have you ever read Nabokov? He can also be very accessible (Lolita), as well as cryptic (Pale Fire), but always extremely amusing and clever with his three-language-tiered puns in English, French, and Russian. To get into Nabokov, I would recommend Ada, with a good guide, as a fun read.

Ulysses is 100 years old this year, I believe.
"Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se."
― Charles Eames

billy rubin

no, not nabokov, and not lolita.

that was an odd book in many ways.

but anthony burgess i know and love. not just the clockwork orange, but his deeply accurate triptych, the malayan trilogy, which i read for the first time as a teenager living in malaya. i experienced that culture first hand.

i had a roommate at university who was schooled in english literature, and he found finnegans wake to be very moving. but i always regarded much of ulysses and finnegans wake too as just literary masturbation by joyce. writing a piece of literature so intensely personal might be worthwhile, but a lifes journey accessible only to yourself never seemed as urgent to me as it did to him.

your comment about whether it would be "worth the struggle" is spot on.

having said that, im reading the illiad yet again. this  time a prose translation by someone i cant remember. when im done, ill do the odessey and then maybe revisit joyce. perhaps with a commentary ill be able to make sense of it.

but portrait of the artist and the first half of ulysses are so riveting, i keep coming back. its very clear that joyce was very, very good, and in the end his accessibility may be my a problem worth overcoming


i expected nothing but im still disappointed

hermes2015

I read once that Joyce admired Henrik Ibsen so much, that he set about learning Norwegian with the sole aim of telling Ibsen that in his own language. I also like Ibsen and read all his plays when I was a schoolboy. Another love was Aldous Huxley; I read any of his books I could lay my sensitive little hands on.

I share your love of the Burgess books, especially Earthly Powers, in which he depicted the gay psyche unbelievably accurately, while talking about good and evil.
"Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se."
― Charles Eames

billy rubin

kindle lists it for three bucks but wont let me buy it


i expected nothing but im still disappointed

hermes2015

Quote from: billy rubin on February 04, 2022, 03:46:49 PM
kindle lists it for three bucks but wont let me buy it

Are you talking about Earthly Powers?
"Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se."
― Charles Eames

billy rubin



i expected nothing but im still disappointed

hermes2015

A YouTube documentary on 100 Years of Ulysses.

100 Years of Ulysses

The poster has disallowed playing it here, but the link works for me.
"Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se."
― Charles Eames