About Me

My photo
Massachusetts, United States
I am a painter in search of an audience! Here are words to catch search engine hits: painting artist RISD New England Longmeadow Amherst Boston...more as I think of them. Check out my portfolio on a seperate website. The link is on the top of the righthand column

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Joyce and Me

I was looking over one of my bookshelves today when I noticed my long neglected James Joyce section. There I spied the daunting Finnegans Wake; even Ulysses was cringing a little pushed up against this enigmatic sphinx. I opened her randomly to read a bit.

Now here I wish to stop to ask who has read this beautiful monster? No...wait! Who owns the book? Hands up! OK. Now everyone who has not read the book put your hands down. I see. Now all the liars put your hands down. Only two left. Yes I see you back there Professor Ellman and Mr. Joseph Campbell. Congratulations!

Don't get me wrong; I love Finnegans Wake. Have I read it? No. I have read Dubliners and big chunks of Ulysses. I have heard the entire Ulysses read out loud on CD in the appropriate accent. What I have done is to have read several books about our beloved leviathan. I read about the arcane spellings and meanings, the ancient regional languages and the old old place names; all the very long combined hybrid words were dissected into there many components. It was completely and wonderfully explained to me by experts.

This may seem like sarcasm but I assure you it is not. I love that the book exists. I love that I own it but cannot read it. I have an entire book that examines, in detail, all the equally difficult literature referenced in her. The extremes are important and Joyce has obviously had a huge impact on modern literature. Don't make me discuss Pynchon or Gertrude Stein; but we can talk of Faulkner or Woolf or Cormac McCarthy. For the rest of the day I walked around with the book and left it in front of the couch so someone might think I am reading it!

No comments:

Post a Comment