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November 15, 2008 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Joyce explained. (via)
posted by kliuless (23 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Charles Dickens: Please, sir, I'd like a martini.
Bartender: Sure thing. Olive or twist?

James Joyce: I'll take a Guinness.
Bartender: So Charles Dickens was in here yesterday.
James Joyce: (drinks)
Bartender: And he asked for a martini and I said, "Olive or twist?"
James Joyce: (drinks)
Bartender: You see, it's funny because he wrote a book called "Oliver Twist."
James Joyce: What a crappy joke.

Ernest Hemingway: Gin.
Bartender: So Charles Dickens was in here two days ago.
Ernest Hemingway: Joyce already told me that story. Piss off.
posted by netbros at 5:53 AM on November 15, 2008 [22 favorites]


Sadly, I was hoping for an explanation of this.
posted by mazola at 6:25 AM on November 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Very beautiful and well-thought-out appreciation and analysis of Joyce, this is. I don't mind that it doesn't really make the case for Joyce as a political writer. About the strongest "political" sentiment Roobin can pin on Joyce is a desire "to deflate violent patriotism and heroics, emphasising decency and humanity". Well, hell, that's just about what every last sensible person born since the Great War has been trying to do, in one way or another. But that's okay. Roobin doesn't put it too hard. He loves Joyce, and shares his sentiment in a way that reminds us why we love Joyce, too. Here's a funny part, to me, at least. Where Joyce writes in a letter of gazing into his mother's coffin:

"When I looked on her face... – a face grey and wasted with cancer – I understood I was looking on the face of a victim and I cursed the system which had made her a victim."

What system might that be? The system that mandates that those of us who are born, also have to die? The system that causes the random gene mutation that leads to cancer? There's no political thinking involved here. Joyce, like the rest of us, was angry at death.
posted by Faze at 6:33 AM on November 15, 2008


mazola: what
posted by Sys Rq at 8:40 AM on November 15, 2008


Is this not a word for word double of a post you already made that was terminated?
posted by MythMaker at 8:46 AM on November 15, 2008


The last one was killed not for being bad but for having a weird browser-crashy problem in the main link. This one's fine.
posted by cortex at 8:52 AM on November 15, 2008


Sys Rq: I'd say "great minds think alike" but who's kidding who?
posted by mazola at 8:56 AM on November 15, 2008


"When I looked on her face... – a face grey and wasted with cancer – I understood I was looking on the face of a victim and I cursed the system which had made her a victim."

What system might that be? The system that mandates that those of us who are born, also have to die? The system that causes the random gene mutation that leads to cancer?


Perhaps the word victim does not refer (at least, not entirely) to cancer or death. One can die of cancer after having been victimized by any number of other things one's whole life.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:05 AM on November 15, 2008


Is this not a word for word double of a post you already made that was terminated?

I was having a really weird moment there where I thought I dreamt that I had seen this exact FPP on Metafilter a few days ago, because I could not find the prior post.
posted by jayder at 9:11 AM on November 15, 2008


About the strongest "political" sentiment Roobin can pin on Joyce is a desire "to deflate violent patriotism and heroics, emphasising decency and humanity".

Certainly, all the references to "West Britons" in "The Dead" suggest that Joyce wasn't totally comfortable with Irish nationalism as it was practiced in the early 20th century.

By the way, Anthony Burgess (the same one who wrote Clockwork Orange) also wrote a book about the interpretation of James Joyce called Re Joyce. The basic premise of the book is that James Joyce knew that lots of his readers and critics would overinterpret his work like a plate of beans, so he deliberately put lots of allusions, puns, and general weirdness in his book to both reward and fuck with the heads of his readers.
posted by jonp72 at 9:47 AM on November 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


If anyone is further interested in reading about Joyce and many other great writers of the 1920s and '30s, I highly recommend reading Shakespeare and Company, a book about the Parisian bookstore of the same name, by the owner of the store, Sylvia Beach, who was an American.

She opened this bookstore in Paris in the 1920s and subsequently most of the great writers of the day adopted it as a hang out spot, so there are descriptions (of varying lengths) of Joyce, Fitzgerald, Eliot, Pound, Hemingway, Stein, and others. If you're interested in hearing accounts of what great authors acted like as people, it's a fascinating book. Beach also was the first publisher of Ulysses, since no one else was willing to publish something so sexual, and Beach practically worshiped Joyce. He repeatedly drove her into near bankruptcy with totally unreasonable demands, but she still through the whole book describes and talks about him in the most glowing of terms.
posted by Caduceus at 9:48 AM on November 15, 2008


Dude man, the browser-crashy link (warning: apparently crashes browser if you're weak) from last time had lots of cool stuff in it!
posted by grobstein at 10:32 AM on November 15, 2008


Joyce is the only writer I know of whose book outlines were lengthier than the final product. Are there any others? Now I'm curious.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:47 AM on November 15, 2008


Very beautiful and well-thought-out appreciation and analysis of Joyce, this is. I don't mind that it doesn't really make the case for Joyce as a political writer.

I think it's easy to see that A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is political... in as far as Stephen is so disillusioned with and unimpressed by Parnell and Irish revival-type-Nationalism that he's moved to leave Ireland and make his own destiny and all that.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:51 AM on November 15, 2008


which is actually the same point you made, that it's not really a political move after all, so yeah.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:58 AM on November 15, 2008


Pitch and Putt with Beckett & Joyce. A particular favourite of mine which I link to on every given opportunity.
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 10:59 AM on November 15, 2008


I thought it was about this Joyce.
posted by Science! at 11:07 AM on November 15, 2008


The endnotes for Beckett's "Come and Go" longer than the actual performed text, but in that case the notes are still part of the final published product.
posted by HeroZero at 11:14 AM on November 15, 2008


Ah, thank you, HeroZero! I have been bouncing around this question in my head since college. I love Metafilter so hard.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:00 PM on November 15, 2008


The basic premise of the book is that James Joyce knew that lots of his readers and critics would overinterpret his work like a plate of beans, so he deliberately put lots of allusions, puns, and general weirdness in his book to both reward and fuck with the heads of his readers.

I'm taking a graduate class on James Joyce right now, and the prof. (a Joyce critic who shall remain nameless) let us in on the fact that one of the biggest controversies in Joyce criticism right now is whether a kite mentioned briefly in Ulysses is a real kite or just a metaphor for a kite.

Increasingly, as I've read more Joyce, I've come to feel that he's a mediocre-to-okay novelist, but a tremendous success of an asshole.

If nothing else, he secured immortality for himself.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:56 PM on November 15, 2008


I've come to feel that he's a mediocre-to-okay novelist

So, read any great mediocre-to-okay books lately?

Incidentally, I was reading today how Jung didn't manage to help Joyce's daughter.
posted by ersatz at 6:08 PM on November 15, 2008


My best friend is currently writing his master's on Joyce. The guy has always been obsessed with Joyce. I've spent many a drunken night listening to him monologue on and on about his theories of Joyce's politics. I've read most of the drafts of his thesis. I was in the audience in Rome last year when he gave a lecture to the International Joyce Convention on the politics of Joyce. It is amazing to me, for all of these reasons, to now hear someone say Joyce was not political. Isn't one of the huge themes of Ulysses the conflict between those Irish who embraced all things English to the point that they couldn't even see that they'd been colonized and those like Stephen D. who felt they had lost their identity by being colonized? Isn't that political?
posted by spicynuts at 8:07 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I came here expecting an entry in this competition..
posted by DreamerFi at 1:24 AM on November 16, 2008


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