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Author Topic: Joyce's Ulysses  (Read 1272 times)
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Killian
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« on: January 26, 2017, 02:56:44 PM »

Did anyone read Ulysses? I thought it was quite boring, but I recognize the debt that modern literature owes to its First Man. It was lol omg so edgy for its time, but its most shocking moments are utterly desensitized these days. What should I be looking for in it? How does it resonate with you?

With a cursory glance, I'm almost certain that of semi active players, Dave and Gridflay have read it. Definitely more.
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Killian
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2017, 07:36:43 PM »

Dani
Muad
Neil
(in no particular order)


Did any of you read it?

Did you find the wordplay impressive? I thought some of it was brilliant but a lot of it is weighted on Joyce's narrow Dublin slang.

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Neil Tathers
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 01:08:50 AM »

Never read it.  Sorry.
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theycallhimthebandit
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2017, 02:06:41 AM »

Have you read Stuntman!, by Hal Needham? It had a "Catcher in the Rye" quality I found quite engaging.

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Killian
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2017, 11:50:02 AM »

Roman Totale and Foo also probably read it. They haven't been around for a while afaik.

I don't have special love for Joyce. I do think he has poseur hanger ons, but I don't think he's overrated.
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gridflay
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2017, 02:47:57 PM »

Ulysses was very long, is mostly what I remember of it; this was approximately a million years ago. I've been to a couple Bloomsday lunches over the years though. Those are more fun. Portrait of the Artist I thought better of, and I love The Dead (the short story).

In terms of Capital L Literature, I don't get a lot out of many of the big classics. Didn't like Proust. Didn't love Tolstoy. When I finally got around to Infinite Jest last year, I didn't love that, either. It's possible I just have poor taste.
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Killian
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2017, 04:40:14 PM »

Yeah me neither. I don't get much from modern literature, as they tend to take cue from Kafka and revel in the futility of things. These characters aren't people I admire or want to imitate.

I do like Tolstoy's characterizations, which almost doesn't need to be mentioned because he is the peerless best at epitomizing behavior at the novel stratum. In particular, Andrei Bolkonsky, his alter ego/hamletizing of himself, even if Andrei isn't the main character of his resident story. I'd like to see more of sharp skeptical types, though with less futile fates.

Bloom was right about IJ. No remorse necessary for that.
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Dani
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2017, 07:32:54 PM »

I read it in high school, which turned out to be a bad idea. I was one of those 'poseur hangons', and in grade 12 I turned up my nose at reading the Great Gatsby like everyone else [I read it a few years later and rather liked it]. I was getting A+ in English and wanted something challenging, and as it turned out my senior English teacher had done her thesis on Joyce. She tried to divert me to Portrait as an easier read, but I was the kind of guy who'd go to coffee shops and read Byron aloud with my hipster friends. So I read it. For about six hours a day, every day, for four months [my school let you get away with that as 'self-directed learning'].

It was a beast. The biggest problem was that a lot of the key details happened in the same stream of consciousness babble as the unimportant descriptions of scenery, cheese sandwiches and turn of the century Irish politics. Eventually I knew I'd have to write an essay about it so I'd need to have some kind of grasp of the plot, so I cheated and used a cliffnotes [and youtube videos] to figure things out. I don't have the essay anymore, but I'm sure it was garbage, and I'm equally sure the only reason I got an A was because the examiner was just impressed that I had read the damn thing at all [so, mission accomplished?].

I haven't read it since. I did read Portrait a bit later, and liked it, and Dubliners, and Chamber Music [and liked them a great deal less], and a few years ago I bought a copy of Burgess' abridged Finnegan's Wake, but never got far into it [turns out apart from Clockwork Orange he was pretty boring]. As to what I thought of it...I liked the fried kidneys description at the beginning, and it made me want to try them, and I liked the description of Mulligan, and I liked the chapter Naucissa, where Bloom sees some girls skinbathing and literally creams himself, and they fancifully imagine him as a chivalrous knight, and figuratively cream themselves.  

It might be one of the best books ever written, but it's not my favorite, and it's not even my favorite for that year. I got into Sandman around the same time and liked Dream Country a helluva lot more.

EDIT: As far as classics go, I like reading Dostoevesky, and I like reading Thomas Hardy. Those are the only two classics authors I've found I actually enjoyed reading, rather than simply appreciated for their artistic value. That said, I'll pick Butcher, Banks, Stross and Scalzi every time over one of the 'greats'.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 07:44:38 PM by Dani » Logged

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Killian
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2017, 08:39:34 PM »

Dani we've rammed heads before. Your post is moving. I've wronged you in the past, and I was wrong for that. I now feel all of that is behind us, if you allow it.

I'm still not sure I'm at the level of being able to offer due judgment, so anyone reading this should forgive me if I sound condescending. Dani, I consider your level of self awareness higher than Anthor or Cyadora, both of whom should have had more experience than you, having at least a decade ahead. But they reached the wrong conclusions many times over, even after the consequences of their mistakes. I remember a certain Cy moment that was truly pathetic. Cy alluded to moksha/self release with about as much grace as a self help book. It was pure hypocrisy. Maybe I'm still bitter about things. As far as I know, she hasn't demonstrated enough self control regarding useless internet power. Neither Cy nor Anthor, as far as I know, have properly owned up to their mistakes.
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FirstAmongstDaves
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2017, 09:05:34 AM »

Yep, I read "Ulysses" in 1987. It was a drag and took me four efforts to finish it, and even then only because I was being examined on it at university. Thank goodness those friends of Joyce published the road map to understanding it otherwise it would languish in utter obscurity.

Cheese sandwiches indeed. And nose picking. And wanking.

I like George Bernard Shaw, Wilde and those old fin de siecle writers. I liked Ford Maddox Ford's "The Good Soldier" very much. Obviously I like Hemingway even though I have only ever read "Death in the Afternoon". I'll try Kipling one day. Going back further, I loved Moby Dick (although the thing is damned hard to read and you need to skip the middle of the book which carries on about whaling) and Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" is awesome. I studied Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" and thought it was excellent, but without the Middle English and annotations its very difficult to access. (L'Morte d'Arthur is blah blah.)

Probably my favourite book, and the cleverest thing I have read, was the English translation of De Laclos' "Dangerous Liaisons" (while I was taught to read Middle English, which is sort of pigeon French, I can't speak or read modern French). The entire thing is a series of letters and eminently readable.

Probably the next set of books I'll tackle is Ian Fleming's Bond books, which is sort of like saying I want to start reading tabloid magazines.

II got into Sandman around the same time and liked Dream Country a helluva lot more.


Hey-hey! Now you're talking.
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gridflay
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2017, 04:35:18 PM »

Ooo, yes, I do love Melville! So there's that. Moby Dick of course, but Bartleby the Scrivener is one of my favorites. Billy Budd is good too. Yay, I have some taste!
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FirstAmongstDaves
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2017, 01:28:38 AM »

Alas, only "Moby Dick" at my end. A university unit in American literature, 1988.


Hey-hey! Now you're talking.

I'd actually really like a Sandman retrospective for the WCBR site (see the subtle advertisement in my signature). If anyone is interested in co-authoring something - and there can be any number of writers , given the length and depth of the series - give me a holler. Or just post on this thread.
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Akbar
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2017, 04:00:02 AM »

I love Sandman. I think I originally picked it up with the serial killer's convention issue in Doll's House and bought every issue from there on out.

I've got all six issues of Sandman: Overture but I haven't gotten around to reading them. Need to get on that.
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Dani
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2017, 06:01:14 AM »

I love Sandman. I think I originally picked it up with the serial killer's convention issue in Doll's House and bought every issue from there on out.

I've got all six issues of Sandman: Overture but I haven't gotten around to reading them. Need to get on that.

I'd forgotten about overture until you mentioned it. Yeah, I'd like to read that too. 
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Neil Tathers
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2017, 02:30:01 AM »

I rather enjoy Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman stories.  I prefer my digestion of reading in easy to swallow forms, that are quick reads, but can hide a complex story underneath.  I find Pratchett to be my most preferred author.  I hope that one day I will have a daughter and can read her the Tiffany Aching saga.

Pratchett and Gaiman intersected in a book called Good Omens, one of the best things I've ever read.
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