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review 2018-12-03 16:14
Hell-Fire: "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce


(Original Review, 1981-02-16)



"April 27. Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead."


How much I love/hate Joyce when I read about him...how could he have denied his mother on her deathbed? That act disturbed me - he did not even kneel when she died.I am not speaking of hypocrisy here just thinking of a young poseur who was thinking of himself above all - as you do at that age - especially if you are the ''favourite'. How much are the writings of Joyce autobiographical? Is the 'real 'Stephen Dedalus - AKA Joyce - a 'self-obsessed arsehole' - and did Joyce realise that about himself during his writing? 

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-19 11:08
Leopold Bloom, A Man For All Time: "Ulysses" by James Joyce
Ulysses - James Joyce


I started off thinking Ulysses was a pile of incoherent drivel, even though I'd never got past the first page. At 20 I would sit in the uni bar getting pissed and slagging off literary types and lecturers who mentioned it (some of them were pretentious posers; some of them weren't). At 30 I decided to put up or shut up by actually reading it so that I could explain why it was incoherent drivel. The result was that I was drawn into it and have read it five times cover-to-cover. Like a lot of challenging literature, it requires a bit of life experience to get into.


If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-18 16:50
Causabon's Key To All Mythologies with Guinness and Opera: “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce
Finnegans Wake - James Joyce


"We'll meet again, we'll part once more. The spot I'll seek if the hour you'll find. My chart shines high where the blue milk's upset."

In “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce


Joyce could really write. “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is exquisite, and “Ulysses” is a masterpiece. I see Joyce as a product of his 'modernist' era, certainly, but a sincere one. He was reaching for something, a kind of synthesis of prose and poetry that came close to the true language of the mind. It's remarkable how much of Finnegans Wake is comprehensible, in spite of the fact that Joyce's words don't actually exist; we know what he means, or we can guess at it, which would be impossible if it was just gibberish. 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-07-18 02:53
Ulysses
Ulysses - James Joyce,Cedric Watts

The life of the everyman in a single day in Dublin is the basic premise of James Joyce’s Ulysses, yet this is an oversimplification of the much deeper work that if you are not careful can quickly spiral down into a black hole of fruitless guesswork and analysis of what you are reading.

 

Joyce’s groundbreaking work is a parallel to Homer’s The Odyssey though in a modernist style that was defined by Joyce in this novel.  Though the primary character is Leonard Bloom, several other important secondary characters each take their turn in the spotlight but it is Bloom that the day revolves around.  However any echoes of Homer are many times hidden behind Joyce verbosity and stream-of-conscious writing that at times makes sense and at times completely baffles you.  Even with a little preparation the scale of what Joyce forces the reader to think about is overwhelming and frankly if you’re not careful, quickly derails your reading of the book until its better just to start skimming until the experience mercifully ends.

 

While my experience and opinion of this work might be lambasted by more literary intelligent reviewers, I would like to caution those casual readers like myself who think they might be ready to tackle this book.  Read other modernist authors like Conrad, Kafka, Woolf, Lawrence, and Faulkner whose works before and after the publication of Ulysses share the same literary movement but are not it’s definitive work.

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review 2018-04-05 19:03
Dubliners by James Joyce
Dubliners - James Joyce,Del Doughty

Although James Joyce began these stories of Dublin life in 1904, when he was 22, and had completed them by the end of 1907, they remained unpublished until 1914 — victims of Edwardian squeamishness. Their vivid, tightly focused observations of the life of Dublin's poorer classes, their unconventional themes, coarse language, and mention of actual people and places made publishers of the day reluctant to undertake sponsorship.
Today, however, the stories are admired for their intense and masterly dissection of "dear dirty Dublin," and for the economy and grace with which Joyce invested this youthful fiction. From "The Sisters," the first story, illuminating a young boy's initial encounter with death, through the final piece, "The Dead," considered a masterpiece of the form, these tales represent, as Joyce himself explained, a chapter in the moral history of Ireland that would give the Irish "one good look at themselves." But in the end the stories are not just about the Irish; they represent moments of revelation common to all people.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

As a woman of Irish heritage who majored in classic Briitsh Lit in college and now works in the book world, I'm just gonna come clean with this... this is my first foray in the works of James Joyce. I know! I know! You can pull up your jaw now, I can explain. He's just one of those writers that has always been on my "meaning to get to" list. And the horror stories of people that have tried Ulysses -- I at least have a copy of that one somewhere on my shelves -- can scare a girl off. So I thought I would start small with this little short story collection. 

 

I read the blurb on the back of the paperback copy I have that mentioned how Joyce started writing these 15 somewhat interconnected stories back in 1904 at the age of 22, and how he had them finished by 1907 but had to wait til 1914 to get them onto bookshelves thanks to the sensitive Victorian readership of the era. Joyce's publisher was concerned that the themes of the stories might be a bit too gritty for the prim general public. Also, as I understand it, Joyce makes some thinly veiled references to actual people of the time that I'm guessing would not have been received as a form of flattery so much... Well, naturally that made me curious as to what was in store for my modern reader eyes! 

 

As you might've guessed by now, for many of today's readers, this collection will read pretty tame. Yes, it does focus on the lower class citizens of Dublin, yes there are descriptions of squalor that sometimes include coarse language. But all in all, you've likely heard worse these days. A number of the stories focus on children or teens; the very first story being one of a boy processing news of the death of a beloved mentor, others describe two boys playing hooky from school who have an encounter with a creepy guy on a street, and one of a girl attempting to escape an abusive father. There are also stories with more adult themes, spotlighting the topics of promiscuous women, flat-out prostitution, women just generally worn down (physically and emotionally) by their husbands. There's also a story here and there that are less the underbelly of Dublin and more just a Upstairs / Downstairs style story (you know, the privileged & wealthy vs their estate staff). The very last story, "The Dead", was one of this style and ended up being my personal favorite. 

 

Oh, the husbands. Yes, many of them here are portrayed as alcoholics --- another shock, I know! LOL Also, we're talking about the Irish here, so it's somewhat inevitable that at least a little religion gets worked into the stories here and there. 

 

My impression of Joyce, in this instance anyway, is that while his stories approach risque themes, his writing style beats around the bush so much it was hard for me to feel much shock or offense. In fact, some of the stories featured quite sweet scenes of family bonding between parents and children or lively, jovial times between friends. It's not all grim and grit! But it did end up being largely blah for me. There, I said it. At the risk of offending my Irish ancestors, I'm putting it out there --- I found Joyce's writing here kind of dull! Meet y'all at the square in five for my stoning, hehe. 

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