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James Joyce

Discussion in 'Author Discussion' started by warm_enema, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. ions

    ions New Member

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    Just wanted to add to this for anyone looking to read Ulysses. I've discovered that if you listen to the audio book, even just a bit, it reveals the style which is one of the things that can be tedious about this book.
     
  2. Irene Wilde

    Irene Wilde New Member

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    Finnegans Wake

    Stuck on the pane two flies buzzed, stuck.

    Glowing wine on his palate lingered swallowed. Crushing in the winepress grapes of Burgundy. Sun's heat it is. Seems to a secret touch telling me memory. Touched his sense moistened remembered. Hidden under wild ferns on Howth. Below us bay sleeping sky. No sound. The sky. The bay purple by the Lion's head. Green by Drumleck. Yellowgreen towards Sutton. Fields of undersea, the lines faint brown in grass, buried cities. Pillowed on my coat she had her hair, earwigs In the heather scrub my hand under her nape, you'll toss me all. O wonder! Coolsoft with ointments her hand touched me, caressed: her eyes upon me did not turn away. Ravished over her I lay, full lips full open, kissed her mouth. Yum. Softly she gave me in my mouth the seedcake warm and chewed. Mawkish pulp her mouth had mumbled sweet and sour with spittle. Joy: I ate it: joy. Young life, her lips that gave me pouting. Soft, warm, sticky grumjelly lips. Flowers her eyes were, take me, willing eyes. Pebbles fell. She lay still. A goat. No-one. High on Ben Howth rhododendrons a nannygoat walking surefooted, dropping currants. Screened under ferns she laughed warmfolded. Wildly I lay on her, kissed her; eyes, her lips, her stretched neck, beating, woman s breasts full in her blouse of nun's veiling, fat nipples upright. Hot I tongued her. She kissed me. I was kissed. All yielding she tossed my hair. Kissed, she kissed me.

    Me. And me now.

    Stuck, the flies buzzed


    Happy Bloomsday.
     
  3. a lost weekend

    a lost weekend kickbox

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    What? No no no - the style IS the book. The morality of the book is in the style. The style is the best thing about the book.
     
  4. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    Ever since Joyce's work has gone out of copyright there seems to have been a little race going on as to who can publish previously unknown material first. In February, The Cats of Copenhagen was the first to be published. Now a Mr. Danis Rose (pseudonym of Denis O'Hanlan), owner of Ithys Publishing house, has taken in upon himself to publish all of Joyce's manuscripts, selling them for a mere £75 up to £800 a copy, depending on how much of the manuscripts you want.
    Unfortunately for Mr. Rose - and much despite his claims to be the sole owner of the manuscripts' copyright, thus reserving the right to charge scholars extortionate amounts of money for using any of the material in academic work - however, the Irish National Library has now made all manuscripts available online for free. (The manuscripts can be found here).

    I wonder if Mr. Rose is going to turn into Stephen Joyce II as James Joyce's grandson was also in the habit of prohibiting publication of any and all excerpts of Joyce's work in academic work.
     
  5. nwee

    nwee Member

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    I haven't read Joyce ( & hence Dubliners nor Ulysis ) yet. Given the difficulty that people appear to have had with Joyce, am wondring whether a first attempt through an audio book (of either Portrait or Ulysis) could be a better way to approach the book, saving myself a second or a third read with the huge volume gathering dust for the last two years or so, later.
     
  6. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man shouldn't give you any difficulty. They are written in natural English and have interesting stories. Ulysses is not impossible but takes some dedication to finally enjoy it. Finnegans Wake has its own reputation for difficulty, although some people I know online have read it several times and love it. So start with the easy ones and work up, but I would definitely recommend getting through Portrait at least.
     
  7. jestoppel

    jestoppel New Member

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    perhaps my mistake was trying to begin with ulysses. it put me off james joyce quite altogether. strangely enough, i had precisely the same trouble with as byatt's possession. didn't get very far with either. or perhaps i'm just impatient and shallow.
     
  8. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    No! Not necessarily shallow at all.
    But maybe somewhat impatient.
    Some books are just simply "slow" books to read.
     
  9. jestoppel

    jestoppel New Member

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    They are. And vastly different kinds of slow books. I can't read Michael Crichton, or Robin Cook or Ken Follet or even Fredrick Forsyth (without meaning to generalize). I especially can't read spy fiction or terrorist fiction. Paradoxically enough, they're slow too. Thankfully, I plodded my way through Ayn Rand much earlier, or I wouldn't have been able to get through that either.
     
  10. A2R.

    A2R. Member

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    Joyce! Where to begin? Where to end is the better question.

    His works are beautiful but he becomes too political. He loves his Irish heritage too much for us to enjoy his writings. Ulysses was his line and Finnegan's Wake crossed it. But the Portrait of the Artist was his best piece.
     
  11. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    Using the royal "we"? ;)

    Personally I don't mind Joyce writing about Ireland any more than I mind any other writer writing about the country they live in; surely anyone writing about current events must write about, well, current events? That said, Finnegans Wake is still beyond me, but I just bought the new translation of Ulysses and can't wait to get stuck in it.
     
  12. A2R.

    A2R. Member

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    Writing about Ireland wasn't the problem. I enjoy tales in foreign countries. It was his attempts to resurrect his dying language that disappointed me.
     
  13. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    A2R, you may want to bear in mind that although Joyce was Irish, he didn't live in Ireland while writing either Ulysses or Finnegans Wake. It is perhaps because of that that you can find an abundance of references to contemporary international politics and politicians as well as allusions to his (former) friends, often in jest.

    A question for you: if you can't enjoy literature that includes (in your opinion) references to politics/history of another country than your own or the work was originally written in a different language than your own (re: Flaubert), aren't you unnecessarily limiting your own choice? Wouldn't you be missing out?
     
  14. A2R.

    A2R. Member

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    Gentlemen! It's not of what he writes. It's the language he wrote it in.

    By politics, I mean his feelings for his country's future. He felt his language dying and so wrote in the tongue.
     
  15. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    He wrote it in several languages, if you mean Finnegans Wake. Besides, I don't agree with you that his (?) language was dying, he was merely utilising it in a different manner than had been done before.

    (PS. I'm not a gentleman).
     
  16. A2R.

    A2R. Member

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    Well, is Irish spoken as much in Ireland as it was?
    Utilise it as you want, it took away from my enjoyment of his writing. Especially coming from A Portrait of the Artist.
     
  17. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    Each to their own. Full disclosure: I've been studying Joyce for several years now and intend to do a Ph.D on Ulysses and Finnegans Wake in the near future. ;)
     
  18. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    More Joyceness! Well, in Glasgow anyway.

    The Tron Theatre is currently staging a theatrical version of Ulysses, went to see it with the other half last night. I was curious how they would tackle the book in all its enormity and whether they could condense it to a play which would A) not last for about a week, and B) stay true to the book itself and include its seemingly unhinged narrative structure.

    The ensemble of eight actors performed rather well, taking on a total of eighty (!) characters. They didn't quite stick to all of the episode as by the book. The entire performance was interspersed with parts of the "Penelope" soliloquy; and the morning rituals of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus were sort of thrown together. To an extent, it worked, however, I thought Stephen's character was not used nearly as much as I think it ought have been and the play's focus was on the relationship of Leopold and Molly Bloom. Thus, Stephen's inner turmoils about his mother only featured briefly and I think this may have come across as confusing to anyone not particularly familiar with Ulysses.

    Nevertheless, cramming all of Ulysses in a play which lasted a little over two hours, is quite an achievement. :star4:


    A review can be found here.

    My former University lecturer, Dr. John Coyle, kindly provided an easily accessible summary on the theatre's website.
     
  19. eclair

    eclair Member

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    China approves of Finnegans Wake. BBC News - Chinese translation of James Joyce becomes best-seller

    Translation took eight years. I think that's pretty speedy all things considered.

    The last paragraph in the article reads:
    Having spent this month grappling with it myself, I think he may have a point.
     
  20. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    Happy Bloomsday, all. :)


    Decided it is the right time for me to have another go at Finnegans Wake.
     

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