Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)

The most influential novel of all time Don Quixote was published in 1605.   Then we fast forward to 1922 when  the next influential novel Ulysses was published.So far there is not a third candidate in this list.  

I have been reading in Irish literature for about a two and half years now.   I read Ulysses twice several decades ago.  I have done Q and A sessions with about 75 Irish writers.   I read some secondary works on Irish literature, most notably the post colonial work of Declan Kiberd.  I have developed my own theories about Irish literature, half baked at best.   I began to kind of train myself to reread Ulysses.  I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and parts of Dubliners.  I read a brand new biography of Joyce.  Everything I learned screamed out that all of Irish literature was and still is in the shadow of Joyce and Yeats.  About six weeks ago I loaded Ulysses onto my IPAD and began reading it.  I decided I would not at all stress if I felt I was, as of course I knew I would be, missing a lot. My plan was to try to follow Bloom's walk through Dublin, relate to the Homeric structure, and sort of look for post-colonial aspects.  When I found myself lost, I just savored the exquisite language and went on.   I read Ulysses much slower than I normally read.   

I think my favorite section of Ulysses is the Night Town visit, which no doubt reveals more about me than the novel.  

Academics spend decades on Joyce. Besides Kiberd I read another book that really helped me, Joyce's Revenge:   History, Politics and Aesthetics in Ulysses by Andrew Gibson.  I loved reading Ulysses.  I hope to read it at least once more by Bloomsday 2014.    

To those nervous about Ulysses, just try it, maybe read a few articles. Just let Joyce work his magic and get what you can.  To those expert in Joyce, please offer us your guidance.  

 Mel u

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