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Thread: First James Joyce book

  1. #1
    Registered User cfgs's Avatar
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    First James Joyce book

    I have never read James Joyce, which novel or story or anything do you recommend I start with?

  2. #2
    Learning Not Learned Mopey Droney's Avatar
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    I would say read him chronologically.
    -Read Dubliners and The Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man in that order in the Penguin editions that have footnotes.
    -Then read Ulysses in the Modern Library or Vintage edition with Don Gifford's book of annotations or some other guide.
    -I did not finish Finnegan's Wake and do not recommend it.
    "To try to be informed and literate today is to feel stupid nearly all the time, and to need help." - DFW

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    Little Stranger Alexei's Avatar
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    I, on the other hand, will switch the places of "The Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man" and "Dubliners". Although the second one is a book of short stories it confused me more than the novel. "The Portrait..." being longer makes it easier to understand the characters and to catch the atmosphere. For me the short stories were rather confusing and I am afraid I didn't get most of it from one reading. But of course may be "The Portrait..." was the easier read exactly because I've read the stories first.
    Uh, I don't think this was much help
    Currently reading:
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

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    I grow, I prosper Jeremiah Jazzz's Avatar
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    yep, Dubliners is a go and definitely read Finnegans Wake when you have the chance. It's a very 'ponderous' book hehe
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  5. #5
    Registered User sixsmith's Avatar
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    Yep. Definitely Dubliners then Portrait, then Ulysses. I'll wager thats as far as you'll get. Finnegan's Wake... well good luck.

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    Home Remarkable's Avatar
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    It was the same for me,first "Dubliners" and then "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man",just try to read them with at least three months in between.At least it worked for me.
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    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    In my ignorance I have not yet read Dubliners. From what I've read of it, however, it is Joyce's least complex work - so it might be a good starting point.

    Personally I started with A Portrait of the Artist, which, on the first read, was good, but didn't blow my mind.

    By this time I had been reading various studies on Ulysses, and the descriptions I read of the book made it to enticing not to read.

    I second the notion to read Joyce in chronological order.

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    a good question

    I think that Joyce, more than most authors, is to be enjoyed at his best if approached in a logical order. I agree that Portrait, followed by Dubliners, then Ulysses is probably best for most.
    Don't make my mistake which was to start with Ulysses then proceed to the others. I ended up having to re-read Ulysses, although I may well have felt compelled to do that at some point anyway.
    I have also found biographies to have heightened my enjoyment and interest. Edna O'Brien has produced an accessible account. I am currently working through Richard Ellman's famous (hefty) volume.
    For obvious reasons I discount Finnegans Wake as a starting point

  9. #9
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    I started James Joyce with Antony Burgess' Rejoyce and Jackson and Costellos very good biography of the author's father, John Stanislaus Joyce. I have read Dubliners,Ulysses and half -way thru A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man . Excellent writing and well worth the extra reading to comprehend Joyce.

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