Friday, March 27, 2015

Yes, I have. Yes. (A postmortem on Joyce's Ulysses)

So this is how it ends… What started as a dream, a dare, a joke even… Through Hamlet (again), Dubliners (again), Portrait and, of course, the Odyssey, and finally, finally onto the Show. In the end one is left with the following (in no apparent order): relief, revulsion, insight, questions, appreciation, awe, discouragement, enthusiasm, nostalgia, homesickness, inspiration, and the need to take a shower. Was it overrated? Yes. Is it worthy of every ounce of praise heaped upon it? Yes. Was it in need of an editor? Yes. Was it, perhaps, the one time that an author has ever properly reproduced that hush-inducing awe that is usually reserved for painted masterpieces? Yes. There were moments where the text wouldn’t speak to me (no matter how much I begged it to). Setting it down, I’m filled with the desire to both burn it and begin again at page one. In the end, Ulysses was……. It was. In that, Joyce succeeded. Did Joyce wish for the reader to experience A, B or C? Did he instead simply wish for the reader to experience something? It is, counter intuitively, only a fantastic book which makes a writer wish to sit down and write immediately upon its completion. Finishing a crappy book fills one with disdain for the entire profession, while many good books lead to a kind of self-evaluation… the kind which every author is predestined to fail. The truly great however, those books which should be even more daunting, even more intimidating, make a writer wish to write the way we all drive home from a concert just dying to sing along with something. Yes, I have written. Yes, I will write again. Yes, I have read before. Yes I will read again. Yes, I have finished Ulysses. Yes, I have. Yes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment