Michelle

Review of James Joyce's Ulysses Almost Made Me Choke to Death

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http://personal.dougshaw.com/ReviewsTop100/review01.html

I don't know if this will be so funny to a person who hasn't actually spent months struggling through this incoherent brick of a book. I was eating while reading this and literally almost choked to death. This is the first time I've laughed so hard I actually teared up.

This is partly a tribute to the reviewer - this guy is very funny - but mostly it is out of a sense of sheer sympathy. Reading Ulysses is an exercise in masochism.

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http://www.dougshaw.com/Reviews/review1.html

I don't know if this will be so funny to a person who hasn't actually spent months struggling through this incoherent brick of a book. I was eating while reading this and literally almost choked to death. This is the first time I've laughed so hard I actually teared up.

This is partly a tribute to the reviewer - this guy is very funny - but mostly it is out of a sense of sheer sympathy. Reading Ulysses is an exercise in masochism.

I had to read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in senior High School English.

For those who have not suffered this torture, the openning lines include "goo goo ga ga, when you wet the bed first it is warm then it is cold."

And this guy ranks among critics as the best author of the 20th century.

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http://www.dougshaw.com/Reviews/review1.html

I don't know if this will be so funny to a person who hasn't actually spent months struggling through this incoherent brick of a book. I was eating while reading this and literally almost choked to death. This is the first time I've laughed so hard I actually teared up.

This is partly a tribute to the reviewer - this guy is very funny - but mostly it is out of a sense of sheer sympathy. Reading Ulysses is an exercise in masochism.

I had to read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in senior High School English.

For those who have not suffered this torture, the openning lines include "goo goo ga ga, when you wet the bed first it is warm then it is cold."

And this guy ranks among critics as the best author of the 20th century.

:lol:

James Joyce got progressively less coherent as time went on. Dubliners, if boring, is perfectly comprehensible. Portrait of the Artist gets a bit muddy, but, with minimal effort, the narrative can be followed. Now, Ulysses was just an random mess of words with no seeming rhyme or reason to them. They describe events, supposedly, but the reader has to go to quite a bit of trouble to figure out what is going on. If Ulysses seemed impossible to cap, well...have you ever flipped through Finnegans Wake?...Joyce went from writing a barely comprehensible mess of a book in Ulysses to writing a book that is literally impossible to comprehend. You can start reading from any point in the novel and it won't make any less sense.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of how bad Finnegans Wake gets, I'll post an excerpt, randomly selected. I'll open to a random page and post the first paragraph my eyes come across.

"Bisships, bevel to rock's rite! Sarver bouy, extinguish! Nuotabene. The rare view from the three Benns under the bald heaven is on the other end, askan your blixom on dimmen and blastun, something to right hume about."

This is only a few line out of a paragraph that goes on for a page and a half. I only needed to post a few lines. Because the ENTIRE BOOK is written just like this. Actually, that's a lie. This passage is actually not as bad as most of the others. But I'll leave that to your imagination. Because no matter how bad you imagine it to be, it still won't be as bad as what is actually in this book.

I actually had to correct myself. I automatically corrected some of the spelling errors when I first transcribed it here, and had to go back and misspell the word because the misspelling is actually what is printed in the book.

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I don't know if this will be so funny to a person who hasn't actually spent months struggling through this incoherent brick of a book. I was eating while reading this and literally almost choked to death. This is the first time I've laughed so hard I actually teared up.

This is partly a tribute to the reviewer - this guy is very funny - but mostly it is out of a sense of sheer sympathy. Reading Ulysses is an exercise in masochism.

I had to read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in senior High School English.

For those who have not suffered this torture, the openning lines include "goo goo ga ga, when you wet the bed first it is warm then it is cold."

And this guy ranks among critics as the best author of the 20th century.

:lol:

James Joyce got progressively less coherent as time went on. Dubliners, if boring, is perfectly comprehensible. Portrait of the Artist gets a bit muddy, but, with minimal effort, the narrative can be followed. Now, Ulysses was just an random mess of words with no seeming rhyme or reason to them. They describe events, supposedly, but the reader has to go to quite a bit of trouble to figure out what is going on. If Ulysses seemed impossible to cap, well...have you ever flipped through Finnegans Wake?...Joyce went from writing a barely comprehensible mess of a book in Ulysses to writing a book that is literally impossible to comprehend. You can start reading from any point in the novel and it won't make any less sense.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of how bad Finnegans Wake gets, I'll post an excerpt, randomly selected. I'll open to a random page and post the first paragraph my eyes come across.

"Bisships, bevel to rock's rite! Sarver bouy, extinguish! Nuotabene. The rare view from the three Benns under the bald heaven is on the other end, askan your blixom on dimmen and blastun, something to right hume about."

This is only a few line out of a paragraph that goes on for a page and a half. I only needed to post a few lines. Because the ENTIRE BOOK is written just like this. Actually, that's a lie. This passage is actually not as bad as most of the others. But I'll leave that to your imagination. Because no matter how bad you imagine it to be, it still won't be as bad as what is actually in this book.

I actually had to correct myself. I automatically corrected some of the spelling errors when I first transcribed it here, and had to go back and misspell the word because the misspelling is actually what is printed in the book.

Yes, I have paged thru Dubliners and Finnegans' Wake.

I see you have majored in English with a minor in Masochism.

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I don't know if this will be so funny to a person who hasn't actually spent months struggling through this incoherent brick of a book. I was eating while reading this and literally almost choked to death. This is the first time I've laughed so hard I actually teared up.

This is partly a tribute to the reviewer - this guy is very funny - but mostly it is out of a sense of sheer sympathy. Reading Ulysses is an exercise in masochism.

I had to read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in senior High School English.

For those who have not suffered this torture, the openning lines include "goo goo ga ga, when you wet the bed first it is warm then it is cold."

And this guy ranks among critics as the best author of the 20th century.

:lol:

James Joyce got progressively less coherent as time went on. Dubliners, if boring, is perfectly comprehensible. Portrait of the Artist gets a bit muddy, but, with minimal effort, the narrative can be followed. Now, Ulysses was just an random mess of words with no seeming rhyme or reason to them. They describe events, supposedly, but the reader has to go to quite a bit of trouble to figure out what is going on. If Ulysses seemed impossible to cap, well...have you ever flipped through Finnegans Wake?...Joyce went from writing a barely comprehensible mess of a book in Ulysses to writing a book that is literally impossible to comprehend. You can start reading from any point in the novel and it won't make any less sense.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of how bad Finnegans Wake gets, I'll post an excerpt, randomly selected. I'll open to a random page and post the first paragraph my eyes come across.

"Bisships, bevel to rock's rite! Sarver bouy, extinguish! Nuotabene. The rare view from the three Benns under the bald heaven is on the other end, askan your blixom on dimmen and blastun, something to right hume about."

This is only a few line out of a paragraph that goes on for a page and a half. I only needed to post a few lines. Because the ENTIRE BOOK is written just like this. Actually, that's a lie. This passage is actually not as bad as most of the others. But I'll leave that to your imagination. Because no matter how bad you imagine it to be, it still won't be as bad as what is actually in this book.

I actually had to correct myself. I automatically corrected some of the spelling errors when I first transcribed it here, and had to go back and misspell the word because the misspelling is actually what is printed in the book.

Yes, I have paged thru Dubliners and Finnegans' Wake.

I see you have majored in English with a minor in Masochism.

It comes with reading a lot, and tending to stay away from most genre fiction (although I have a peculiar weakness for science-fiction and JD Robb's 'In Death' series). As fiction writing is my business (or is going to be when I get published), I've read a LOT of fiction.

Edited by Michelle R

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Portait is better. And stream-of-consciousness writing was an important breakthrough.

But you have to bring a survival kit. I recommend that includes some recreational product of your choice.

I read everything that fucker wrote. I still have a scar. Experimental writer, and good imagist. I give him props, particularly in his era. I think he was hitting the opium pipe. Either that, or he should have been. I think he did better in some of his short stories. But still, in the era...and the sexual frustration is unbelievable...dude, go stroke one off or something., it calls.

You might find Henry Miller a degenerate, but at least he was more directly honest, and, frankly, his imagery was usually better. I rarely re-read, but if I had to pick between Portrait, and Tropic of Cancer, Joyce would lose.

But, if you catch Joyce at the right moment, it is poetry in action. The visceral experience, Hell, he practically defined it as technique. I just wish he hadn't run around the tree so much getting it done, but you'll have that.

rde

Edited by Rich Engle

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Portait is better. And stream-of-consciousness writing was an important breakthrough.

But you have to bring a survival kit. I recommend that includes some recreational product of your choice.

I read everything that fucker wrote. I still have a scar. Experimental writer, and good imagist. I give him props, particularly in his era. I think he was hitting the opium pipe. Either that, or he should have been. I think he did better in some of his short stories. But still, in the era...and the sexual frustration is unbelievable...dude, go stroke one off or something., it calls.

You might find Henry Miller a degenerate, but at least he was more directly honest, and, frankly, his imagery was usually better. I rarely re-read, but if I had to pick between Portrait, and Tropic of Cancer, Joyce would lose.

But, if you catch Joyce at the right moment, it is poetry in action. The visceral experience, Hell, he practically defined it as technique. I just wish he hadn't run around the tree so much getting it done, but you'll have that.

rde

breakthrough for what - dumbing down lit? the purpose of writing is to communicate - which means selectiveness in what is said, from what rolls thru the mental lobes...

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Amusingly enough, a humongous amount of selectivity was involved in him famously 'putting the microphone' in his character's minds. One misconception about Joyce is that he was a obscurantist who was deliberately incoherent in order to cash in on social irrationality. This was not a man, however, who automatically wrote his novels. He labored over his novels - Ulysses and Finnegans Wake in particular - to a degree few other writers ever have. To call them works of love would be to degrade the phrase. His novels are examples of 'controlled chaos.' As has been noted before, it takes an incredibly deliberate effort (and more than a little skill) to believably recreate the spontaneity of consciousness. He was as exacting in his work as Rand was in hers.

If I admire his skill and dedication, however, I immensely dislike the task which he puts his skills to. Here you have a great writer who devotes his mind entirely to complete and total naturalism. His novels are entirely about the non-purposeful, the accidental, and the journalistic in life. He devoted himself to uncovering how the consciousness of various people operates. I feel a great sadness when I read his work and realize how he devoted his life to an awful subject.

The lesson to be learned here, children, is that subject and execution are equally important spheres of literature. If what you're writing about is unimportant, it doesn't really matter how skillfully you recreate it. And if your writing is abominable, it doesn't really matter how exalted your subject is -- you'll only end up insulting it by recreating it so poorly.

Edited by Michelle R

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I want to discuss this in more depth and I do not have the time to do the proper study right now. But there is something that might be missing in Rand's wholesale condemnation of this kind of literature as "Naturalistic" or anti-conceptual or anti-volitional.

I am not going to say one way or another in terms of my final conclusions right now, but I came across something highly interesting and I want to test parts of Ulysses with it to see if it clicks. I haven't read Molly Bloom's soliloquy for quite a while, but from what I remember of it, the parts I remember actually do fit.

There is a passage I came across in a book I am now studying called Story Proof by Kendall Haven. It left a strong, almost overpowering, impression on me, especially in thinking about selectivity of plot details. A hell of a lot fell into place in my head.

(The example he mentions is from Bransford, J., and A. Brown, eds. How People Learn. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.)

Here is another example of the power of goal on readers (Bransford and Stein 1993). Read this paragraph:

Sally let loose a team of gophers. The plan backfired when a dog chased them away. She then threw a party but the guests failed to bring their motorcycles. Furthermore, her stereo system was not loud enough. Sally spent the next day looking for a ‘‘Peeping Tom’’ but was unable to find one in the Yellow Pages. Obscene phone calls gave her some hope until the number was changed. It was the installation of a blinking neon light across the street that finally did the trick. Sally framed the ad from the classified section and now has it hanging on her wall.

Confusing, isn’t it? Note, however, that this is a plot, a series of actions or events. It is also frustrating and meaningless. Plot alone cannot convey meaning. However, if I add Sally’s goal and motive, you will easily make sense out of it.

Sally hates the woman who moved in next door (motive) and wants to drive her out (goal).

Now reread the paragraph and see if your mind doesn’t conjure images and sequences that make sense to you. Goal and motive provide structure, purpose, and organization to a narrative. Intent lies at the core of human narrative understanding.

Haven breaks intent down into motive and goal. Goal is what a person is trying to get and motive is why what he wants is important to him.

Now going back to Ulysses, I wonder if intent can be put on passages of it that would tie the thoughts together like this above. If so, I might still get a headache from reading Ulysses for extended periods, but at least things would make some kind of sense.

Frankly, I believe something along these lines are more Joyce's intent than simply to be a non-selective narrative phonograph of mental flow according to time-sequence. But before I commit to that idea, I really need to study it.

Michael

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Michelle,

I just read the review by Doug Shaw you linked to. Good God that was funny! :)

Here's where I almost lost it:

I started Ulysses on a nice October day, on my walk to work. I had to wade through a huge preface, talking about how this scholarly edition fixed all these punctuation marks, and had added an occasional sentence of traditionally deleted text.

Oh my god. I'm finally writing this. Oh my god. It hurts to relive. Wait a minute... I have to pull myself together. The pain is starting again.

Okay.. I can go on now. I'm sorry.

I stopped walking to work as a result of this book. I stopped enjoying the act of reading. I stopped enjoying the very fact of my existence, knowing that the same God who created me also created James Joyce and this pile of pages.

I'm glad no liquid was in my mouth because the belly-laugh was unstoppable. Then, before I could recover, he soon after popped out with this:

Laurel, our friends Jeff and Kristie, and some of their friends were out at a bar, and Jeff asked how the book was going. Without pausing, I said, "It is like having a rib ripped out of my body, being beaten with it, raped with it, and then being forced to eat it." The table went silent. My reaction had been unexpected by all, including me. I paused and said, "I'm sorry I said that, but I stand by the statement."

Oh, the pain... the pain...

(I'm still laughing...)

:)

Michael

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Yes the review was brilliant. Especially his almost psychotic immersions in to the "rhythm" of Joyce.

Good grief, I hated reading him. Almost as much as Stienbeck's The Red Pony.

The Cliff's Notes spin was hilarious.

Thanks Michelle what a great trade off for Ms. Germany of SS Nag Squad.

Adam

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Good grief, I hated reading him. Almost as much as Stienbeck's The Red Pony.

Thanks Michelle what a great trade off for Ms. Germany of SS Nag Squad.

Adam

I'm no fan of Steinbeck. Never read that book, though.

:lol: Thanks.

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Yes the review was brilliant. Especially his almost psychotic immersions in to the "rhythm" of Joyce.

Good grief, I hated reading him. Almost as much as Stienbeck's The Red Pony.

The Cliff's Notes spin was hilarious.

Thanks Michelle what a great trade off for Ms. Germany of SS Nag Squad.

Adam

Ah, Jack London, Charles Dickens, and of course John Steinbeck, thank God for Cliff's Notes!

I did read Grapes of Wrath in 10th grade, although it turns out I could have skipped it because in lieu of the final our teacher showed us the film on video. (She was a wonderful teacher, BTW.)

As for Dickens, only book I had to read by him was David Copperfield. Read the Cliffs Notes and four pages of the text instead, describing someone's death scene. Got an A on the exam.

Finally, had to read another of Steinbeck's books for college honors English. Don't remember the title - one of the male character's initials were J.C. I didn't read the book, didn't read the Cliff's Notes, didn't attend lecture. The exam asked, "did character X live or die at the end?" I answered, "it didn't really matter if he lived or died, the author's point was to make the reader undergo his struggle."

Got an A.

As for Jack London - I'd rather freeze to death than read him.

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You crack me up Ted. The scary part is that I agree with you!

Yes. Although, I seem to remember one Jack London story that was good ? The Last Match maybe?

Depressing bastard!

And yes the Fonda movie was excellent and much better than the book which I did not read lol.

Did they not make an American movie out of Ulysses?

http://www.ulysses.ie/home/default.asp <<<< good grief - and this gets done before Atlas!

And just for you Michelle, Rich, Ted and all Joyce lovers :sick:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dcgyu61pzzs

Adam

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Ah, Jack London, Charles Dickens, and of course John Steinbeck, thank God for Cliff's Notes!

I did read Grapes of Wrath in 10th grade, although it turns out I could have skipped it because in lieu of the final our teacher showed us the film on video. (She was a wonderful teacher, BTW.)

As for Dickens, only book I had to read by him was David Copperfield. Read the Cliffs Notes and four pages of the text instead, describing someone's death scene. Got an A on the exam.

Finally, had to read another of Steinbeck's books for college honors English. Don't remember the title - one of the male character's initials were J.C. I didn't read the book, didn't read the Cliff's Notes, didn't attend lecture. The exam asked, "did character X live or die at the end?" I answered, "it didn't really matter if he lived or died, the author's point was to make the reader undergo his struggle."

Got an A.

As for Jack London - I'd rather freeze to death than read him.

You crack me up Ted. The scary part is that I agree with you!

Yes. Although, I seem to remember one Jack London story that was good ? The Last Match maybe?

Depressing bastard!

And yes the Fonda movie was excellent and much better than the book which I did not read lol.

Did they not make an American movie out of Ulysses?

http://www.ulysses.ie/home/default.asp <<<< good grief - and this gets done before Atlas!

And just for you Michelle, Rich, Ted and all Joyce lovers :sick:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dcgyu61pzzs

Adam

I forgot to mention that a fellow student and later close friend of mine who was in the same honors English class with me threw a knife at the professor one day in lecture. The knife went THWONK and stuck in the wall 12 inches from the prof's left ear. The student J.R. didn't get in trouble. A funny story why he did it.

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Which you are taking to your grave?

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Amusingly enough, a humongous amount of selectivity was involved in him famously 'putting the microphone' in his character's minds. One misconception about Joyce is that he was a obscurantist who was deliberately incoherent in order to cash in on social irrationality. This was not a man, however, who automatically wrote his novels. He labored over his novels - Ulysses and Finnegans Wake in particular - to a degree few other writers ever have. To call them works of love would be to degrade the phrase. His novels are examples of 'controlled chaos.' As has been noted before, it takes an incredibly deliberate effort (and more than a little skill) to believably recreate the spontaneity of consciousness. He was as exacting in his work as Rand was in hers.

If I admire his skill and dedication, however, I immensely dislike the task which he puts his skills to. Here you have a great writer who devotes his mind entirely to complete and total naturalism. His novels are entirely about the non-purposeful, the accidental, and the journalistic in life. He devoted himself to uncovering how the consciousness of various people operates. I feel a great sadness when I read his work and realize how he devoted his life to an awful subject.

The lesson to be learned here, children, is that subject and execution are equally important spheres of literature. If what you're writing about is unimportant, it doesn't really matter how skillfully you recreate it. And if your writing is abominable, it doesn't really matter how exalted your subject is -- you'll only end up insulting it by recreating it so poorly.

You have strong introspective power, Michelle. That is a skill very much desired in fiction writing. In writing stories, the writer has to hold a tremendous amount of integrations in full focus in order to invent actions and inner dialogs among his created characters. Your discerning nuances in Joyces's skills versus his tasks, and your admiration for one but not the other, presuppose your having the standing premise in your subconscious to integrate constantly what you learn to maintain unit economy. Keep it up. I look forward to your future novels.

By the way, the Doug Shaw review was a surprise snigger. It started with "644" and wallowed into reversestar.gif! OMG! :frantics:

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Amusingly enough, a humongous amount of selectivity was involved in him famously 'putting the microphone' in his character's minds. One misconception about Joyce is that he was a obscurantist who was deliberately incoherent in order to cash in on social irrationality. This was not a man, however, who automatically wrote his novels. He labored over his novels - Ulysses and Finnegans Wake in particular - to a degree few other writers ever have. To call them works of love would be to degrade the phrase. His novels are examples of 'controlled chaos.' As has been noted before, it takes an incredibly deliberate effort (and more than a little skill) to believably recreate the spontaneity of consciousness. He was as exacting in his work as Rand was in hers.

If I admire his skill and dedication, however, I immensely dislike the task which he puts his skills to. Here you have a great writer who devotes his mind entirely to complete and total naturalism. His novels are entirely about the non-purposeful, the accidental, and the journalistic in life. He devoted himself to uncovering how the consciousness of various people operates. I feel a great sadness when I read his work and realize how he devoted his life to an awful subject.

The lesson to be learned here, children, is that subject and execution are equally important spheres of literature. If what you're writing about is unimportant, it doesn't really matter how skillfully you recreate it. And if your writing is abominable, it doesn't really matter how exalted your subject is -- you'll only end up insulting it by recreating it so poorly.

You have strong introspective power, Michelle. That is a skill very much desired in fiction writing. In writing stories, the writer has to hold a tremendous amount of integrations in full focus in order to invent actions and inner dialogs among his created characters. Your discerning nuances in Joyces's skills versus his tasks, and your admiration for one but not the other, presuppose your having the standing premise in your subconscious to integrate constantly what you learn to maintain unit economy. Keep it up. I look forward to your future novels.

By the way, the Doug Shaw review was a surprise snigger. It started with "644" and wallowed into reversestar.gif! OMG! :frantics:

Thanks. It's really about honesty. Not liking something or disliking what something is about should not impact one's dispassionate analysis of a writer's skills. Stream-of-Consciousness is a technique that is so hard to do well that only a few people have mastered it. Most people, Rand included, when they deal with the 'inner life' of a character, use, not Stream-of-Consciousness, but a simplified Stream-of-Thought. Joyce was dedicated to capturing the entirety of his character's mental lives, but 95% of what really goes on in a person's head at any given moment has no bearing upon actual stories. Still, though, regardless of what you think about the nature of his work (like I said, I think it's a tremendous squandering of one's cognitive capacities), the man mastered the world's hardest literary technique. And the people who put this difficult, disciplined work on the same level as something like Andy Warhol's Empire (a 24 hour "film" of the Empire State Building from one stationary perspective. Literally all he had to do was put the camera somewhere and make sure nobody kicked it.), as many Objectivists are prone to do, really need to learn to distinguish between personal taste and disinterested analysis.

And if anyone doubts what I wrote about true Stream-of-Consciousness (as opposed to Stream-of-Thought), try writing some. You'll undoubtedly fail miserably.

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I forgot to mention that a fellow student and later close friend of mine who was in the same honors English class with me threw a knife at the professor one day in lecture. The knife went THWONK and stuck in the wall 12 inches from the prof's left ear. The student J.R. didn't get in trouble. A funny story why he did it.

Which you are taking to your grave?

Oh, no. I've told this story many times.

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I forgot to mention that a fellow student and later close friend of mine who was in the same honors English class with me threw a knife at the professor one day in lecture. The knife went THWONK and stuck in the wall 12 inches from the prof's left ear. The student J.R. didn't get in trouble. A funny story why he did it.

Which you are taking to your grave?

Oh, no. I've told this story many times.

Ok let me get my dental tools ...can you tell it again?

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I always tell people who don't like Joyce to read the short stories in Dubliners. They are terrific. I've read about a quarter of Finnegan's Wake partly because I like most things Irish and because as someone with an amateur interest in particle physics, I always wanted to know where the word quark came from :) .

Jim

Edited by James Heaps-Nelson

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I always tell people who don't like Joyce to read the short stories in Dubliners. They are terrific. I've read about a quarter of Finnegan's Wake partly because I like most things Irish and because as someone with an amateur interest in particle physics, I always wanted to know where the word quark came from :) .

Jim

The thing about Dubliners is that it is easy to misread. One doesn't approach this as one approaches other story collections. More specifically, one has to learn to read the stories as gradually manifesting epiphanies. The epiphany is the thing in Dubliners, and each story is a build-up to that sudden "spiritual manifestation," in Joyce's words.

Moreover, the work itself must be seen as multiple mini-epiphanies which build up to one massive epiphany about the state of Dublin.

Read it any other way, and the stories are just boring and confusing.

Edited by Michelle R

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I always tell people who don't like Joyce to read the short stories in Dubliners. They are terrific. I've read about a quarter of Finnegan's Wake partly because I like most things Irish and because as someone with an amateur interest in particle physics, I always wanted to know where the word quark came from :) .

Jim

The thing about Dubliners is that it is easy to misread. One doesn't approach this as one approaches other story collections. More specifically, one has to learn to read the stories as gradually manifesting epiphanies. The epiphany is the thing in Dubliners, and each story is a build-up to that sudden "spiritual manifestation," in Joyce's words.

Moreover, the work itself must be seen as multiple mini-epiphanies which build up to one massive epiphany about the state of Dublin.

Read it any other way, and the stories are just boring and confusing.

Laughs :). I probably date myself with this, but even going to Ireland now you probably wouldn't get the feel that Joyce was trying (or trying not to) to communicate in Dubliners. In order to get published at all, he had to publish some conventional stories and his publishers knew enough about Ireland for his stories to resonate. His writing talent shines through the rest of the BS.

Jim

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On 5/28/2009 at 1:06 AM, Michelle said:

:lol:

James Joyce got progressively less coherent as time went on. Dubliners, if boring, is perfectly comprehensible. Portrait of the Artist gets a bit muddy, but, with minimal effort, the narrative can be followed. Now, Ulysses was just an random mess of words with no seeming rhyme or reason to them. They describe events, supposedly, but the reader has to go to quite a bit of trouble to figure out what is going on. If Ulysses seemed impossible to cap, well...have you ever flipped through Finnegans Wake?...Joyce went from writing a barely comprehensible mess of a book in Ulysses to writing a book that is literally impossible to comprehend. You can start reading from any point in the novel and it won't make any less sense.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of how bad Finnegans Wake gets, I'll post an excerpt, randomly selected. I'll open to a random page and post the first paragraph my eyes come across.

"Bisships, bevel to rock's rite! Sarver bouy, extinguish! Nuotabene. The rare view from the three Benns under the bald heaven is on the other end, askan your blixom on dimmen and blastun, something to right hume about."

This is only a few line out of a paragraph that goes on for a page and a half. I only needed to post a few lines. Because the ENTIRE BOOK is written just like this. Actually, that's a lie. This passage is actually not as bad as most of the others. But I'll leave that to your imagination. Because no matter how bad you imagine it to be, it still won't be as bad as what is actually in this book.

Michael - Lively discussion. Here is some of what Michelle had to say. Words, evidently, can be used by authors to sound poetic and self-important above such plebeian considerations as "meaning" (in comparison to abstract art; well, I'd prefer the art) -- be published -- and be taken seriously by critics/intellectuals. Pretentious poseurs. (One definition of "second-handers". ;))

(oops, wrong thread. Never mind, worth the revisit, anyhow)

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On 5/27/2009 at 7:06 PM, Michelle said:

:lol:

James Joyce got progressively less coherent as time went on. Dubliners, if boring, is perfectly comprehensible. Portrait of the Artist gets a bit muddy, but, with minimal effort, the narrative can be followed. Now, Ulysses was just an random mess of words with no seeming rhyme or reason to them. They describe events, supposedly, but the reader has to go to quite a bit of trouble to figure out what is going on. If Ulysses seemed impossible to cap, well...have you ever flipped through Finnegans Wake?...Joyce went from writing a barely comprehensible mess of a book in Ulysses to writing a book that is literally impossible to comprehend. You can start reading from any point in the novel and it won't make any less sense.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of how bad Finnegans Wake gets, I'll post an excerpt, randomly selected. I'll open to a random page and post the first paragraph my eyes come across.

"Bisships, bevel to rock's rite! Sarver bouy, extinguish! Nuotabene. The rare view from the three Benns under the bald heaven is on the other end, askan your blixom on dimmen and blastun, something to right hume about."

This is only a few line out of a paragraph that goes on for a page and a half. I only needed to post a few lines. Because the ENTIRE BOOK is written just like this. Actually, that's a lie. This passage is actually not as bad as most of the others. But I'll leave that to your imagination. Because no matter how bad you imagine it to be, it still won't be as bad as what is actually in this book.

I actually had to correct myself. I automatically corrected some of the spelling errors when I first transcribed it here, and had to go back and misspell the word because the misspelling is actually what is printed in the book.

Good review.  I now know I have not missed out on anything important  by NOT  reading James Joyce. 

 

BTW your quote from Dawkins is first rate. 

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