Ulysses - James Joyce

April 15, 2012 at 5:28 PM


Ulysses by James Joyce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Phweeeeeeeee. Success. This has been the only book to date that I have viewed with trepidation. Blood and guts I can deal with. Dryness I will tolerate and breeze on through if need be. This though. This was intimidating. It was sophomore year? Yes, sophomore year of high school, when I heard tales of this vicious beast of a mindtwisting hazard to health. All in literary form. Amazing. But the book. Perhaps in ten or twenty years or so I’ll settle down and drag out the definitions and footnotes and explanations to every single little bit Joyce throws out. This time round I just read and understood what I could. And I have to say, this man was a genius. He could take any literary from known to man at that time and extend it beyond all possible reason, while keeping true to the inherent character at all times. Amazing. You have to have that kind of mentality I think, to get through it, if you lack the cultural knowledge and appreciation. The fact that he knew so much and saw so much of it as ridiculous, and spent the time and immense effort (going blind while writing something does not sound pleasant at all) of conveying exactly what he felt about all of it is just. Well. Read the book. And for all those who read it and hated it and refused to attempt some grasping of meaning, your loss. If that was your viewpoint on the matter, you were either taking the book or yourself way too seriously. The only reason why you’d read the book was if you knew what you were getting in to. Joyce distilled all this as experimentation and parody, and in a few brilliant cases some serious reflection on life and its meaning. So. I liked it. Barely understood one word in twenty, probably, if not fifty. But it wasn’t all like the last chapter, and frankly I didn’t mind the pure stream of conscious so much as the multitudes of references that I didn’t get. Besides that. I have triumphed, and plan for a more through triumph in the future. But for now. A rest.

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