Sunday, February 6, 2011

What To Read This Winter: Ulysses.

After giving Homer his well deserved due, Joyce's Ulysses inspires more fear.  Homer is available in many very readable translations, but Joyce's text defies even printers.  They just found many more errors and printed an updated version, which is supposedly much clearer.  Certain passages are now much more readable, according to Joyce experts.  Could've fooled me. 

This time I started Joyce from the back.  The last chapter is stream of consciousness (no punctuation), but rewards the reader with some very vulgar things.  We've also got chapters as plays, a legal brief, and a range of other literary forms.  I really enjoyed it, because I allowed myself to skim it and didn't care that much about whether or not I "got" the plot line.  Not much really seems to happen, which is fine.  I was reminded of Tristan Shandy, who wrote a very vulgar, very wandering piece and was declared insane.  Joyce is declared a genius for doing the same thing.  Anyway, it passed a very long, snowed in afternoon this past month.  Recommendation:  skim, and see if it really is all that intimidating. 


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