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Thread: Allusions and Technicalities in Literature

  1. #16
    biting writer
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    If I think I am missing something I make a note of it, use search engines, or ask, as has been noted, but it also depends on the text, and what I want to do with it. For instance, I recently burned through the oh-so tiresome legal thriller with its diabolical villains and persecuted heroes. I forced myself to finish it, but the author still offered me a few facts that a writer like myself might find useful, so I noted it, but I will never read this novel again.

    But Ulysses deters me precisely because Joyce makes the text a game more important than the narrative itself, and as I am not Irish, and for years remained a sort of befuddled voyeur, as it were, on "the Irish question", I am deterred from working that hard on literature's ultimate swan song. One day my professor had lunch with me, and while I sat in then dumb-founded awe of him, he was threatening to have a stroke over the complexity of the journey Joyce's use of the word "grasshopper" was forcing him to take.

    I am simply not that dedicated, though I have decided to give the novel a full preliminary reading, thanks to Amazon kindle.

    It all depends on what you want. I read for emotional outlets, and or a new range of emotional perspectives; I read as a writer to consider what other writers have done and what I can learn, and I read for my internal scholar--never fully realized, and like JBI, I value the internal dialogue with a decent editor.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozanny View Post

    ... Ulysses deters me precisely because Joyce makes the text a game more important than the narrative itself, and as I am not Irish, and for years remained a sort of befuddled voyeur, as it were, on "the Irish question", I am deterred from working that hard on literature's ultimate swan song. One day my professor had lunch with me, and while I sat in then dumb-founded awe of him, he was threatening to have a stroke over the complexity of the journey Joyce's use of the word "grasshopper" was forcing him to take.

    I am simply not that dedicated, though I have decided to give the novel a full preliminary reading, thanks to Amazon kindle...
    Your "preliminary reading" might well be close to my "reading"

    I gave up on Ulysses. It's my new year resolution to read it. In preparation I've recently read Ellmann's biography, "Ulysses and you", "Dubliners", and "Portrait". I know that is still not enough, and am looking for a version with notes. I've identified three possibilities so far:

    Penguin student edition
    The Oxford World Classics edition
    The almost hot off the press Wordsworth Classics edition (not published until January).

    I was very impressed with the notes in the Wordsworth Classics "Portrait", so I'm holding off until I see their Ulysses (and it's only 1.99!)

    I found the notes in "Portrait" gave me just enough understanding of the Irish question to read "Portrait" without feeling too befuddled.

    Anyone know of any other annotated editions of Ulysses? Is there an annotated edition of Finnegan's Wake? I haven't found one, perhaps no one is brave enough...

  3. #18
    Registered User sixsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozanny View Post
    If I think I am missing something I make a note of it, use search engines, or ask, as has been noted, but it also depends on the text, and what I want to do with it. For instance, I recently burned through the oh-so tiresome legal thriller with its diabolical villains and persecuted heroes. I forced myself to finish it, but the author still offered me a few facts that a writer like myself might find useful, so I noted it, but I will never read this novel again.

    But Ulysses deters me precisely because Joyce makes the text a game more important than the narrative itself, and as I am not Irish, and for years remained a sort of befuddled voyeur, as it were, on "the Irish question", I am deterred from working that hard on literature's ultimate swan song. One day my professor had lunch with me, and while I sat in then dumb-founded awe of him, he was threatening to have a stroke over the complexity of the journey Joyce's use of the word "grasshopper" was forcing him to take.

    I am simply not that dedicated, though I have decided to give the novel a full preliminary reading, thanks to Amazon kindle.

    It all depends on what you want. I read for emotional outlets, and or a new range of emotional perspectives; I read as a writer to consider what other writers have done and what I can learn, and I read for my internal scholar--never fully realized, and like JBI, I value the internal dialogue with a decent editor.
    I'm on a similar page Joz. I've had a number of cracks at 'Ulysses', taken a couple of course in Irish literature (including a few classes with Declan Kiberd as an undergrad) and I just don't care enough. Ultimately, and perhaps wrongly, I want a dialogue with an author and it's hard to have a dialogue with someone who has no interest in you. Joyce, to my mind, is severely indifferent to the reader in 'Ulysses' and downright hostile in 'Finnegans Wake.' I've read 'Portrait' and 'Dubliners' and there are enough slithers of truly remarkable prose in 'Ulysses' for me to appreciate the man's talent, but I've made peace with not conquering Joyce. Quite frankly, he is not so talented for me to have to plough through 700 pages of puns (the very lowest form of wit).

    More generally, I don't going running off to check references, allusions, meanings etc very often. I figure I'm savvy enough to recognise when something is important enough to research. Mind you i'm a bit of a word whore so, like JBI, I'm partial to some quality time with the OED.

  4. #19
    Registered User Red-Headed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    Is there an annotated edition of Finnegan's Wake? I haven't found one, perhaps no one is brave enough...
    Have you looked at Joseph Campbell?

    Then there is this & this.

    Good luck!
    docendo discimus

  5. #20
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    Thanks. I had dug up two of those already. But I really wanted a respected, published, paper version of the text with not-too-detailed footnotes. I'm fussy, lazy and miserly

  6. #21
    Registered User Red-Headed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    Thanks. I had dug up two of those already. But I really wanted a respected, published, paper version of the text with not-too-detailed footnotes. I'm fussy, lazy and miserly
    You may be asking for the impossible.
    docendo discimus

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