Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ulysses - First Impressions

Okay, so I've done it. I actually started reading James Joyce's Ulysses. I've got my Ulysses Annotated, and my bookmark to Sparknotes, and I'm nearly a hundred pages in. First let me say that I agree with this quote by Joyce in Ulysses Annotated:

I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality.

That sounds about right. It does seem to me like Joyce was showing off. But I cannot worry about every little thing in the text that I don't know. I would never finish if I took the time to look them all up. I'm looking at it like all those extras add a little color but are more or less extraneous. So, I'll ignore most of that and see if I miss anything.

Besides the allusions and other nonsense, Joyce spends so much time in the minds of these characters, every disjointed sentence, every meaningless thought, that there is little space for story. I wouldn't mind a little coherence, nor quotation marks to help separate what someone is saying from the nonsense they are thinking.

If this wasn't supposed to be the best English language book ever, I really wouldn't be too interested in reading farther. Though, I am waiting for the novel to redeem itself.

1 comment:

  1. Just remember, sometimes "the classics" aren't classic at all. Like brussel sprouts, they are to be consumed because they're "good for you".