Saturday, June 23, 2012

Richard Ford disses James Joyce's Ulysses

The author Richard Ford is interviewed in the New York Times Book Review and gets this question:

"What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?"

His answer begins this way:
"Overrated . . . Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Hands down. A professor’s book. Though I guess if you’re Irish it all makes sense."

I tend to agree.

I am reading - actually listening - to Ulysses in English after having read it in Swedish many years ago, and after having listened to 24 spirited lectures by professor James Heffernan, who recently retired from  of Dartmouth, and I must say that James Joyce's cathedral of words feels essentially empty. He is just showing off words and language, like an acrobat is showing off his marvelous skills. I enjoy listening to it, but then I find myself wondering what I am listening to, and why I am doing it. What is it all about? The Odysseys is at least exciting!

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