...my nicely polished looking-glass.
June 14, 2014 1:23 AM   Subscribe

Anthony Burgess' previously unpublished introduction to Dubliners. Joyce's stories have their centenary this year.

Colm Tóibín and Eimear McBride.

Bit of a warm-up for Bloomsday.
posted by Segundus (9 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Review of Dubliners 100; new stories inspired by the original.
posted by Segundus at 3:20 AM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can admire the voice and architecture of Ulysses and FW, but because it lingers brilliantly and vividly at the brink of realism and symbolism in the last story, with a genuinely poignant finale, Dubliners is Joyce's greatest achievement IMHO.
posted by Hugobaron at 7:34 AM on June 14, 2014

Here comes everyposterthathasavalidorinvalidideaboutthatbookthatknowwonreeds at the edge of the river that we all run past on bloomsday.
posted by sammyo at 7:42 AM on June 14, 2014

Brilliant. Thanks.
posted by temporicide at 7:42 AM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've never gotten through (or is it just all the way around?) Finnegans Wake, but it's plenty of fun to dip in and out of for a bit here and there.

Dubliners is certainly the most grounded and accessible of his works, lacking the romantic flights of Portrait -- which I think has aged not entirely gracefully -- but also the conscious totalism and optimistic striving of Ulysses, which I admire and enjoy rather more. Dubliners is poignant, tragic, and comic, but its ultimate point is that the only honest response to that Ireland is to cast it off as much as possible, to turn it into a mere object of reflection. Portrait is about how much oneself as an Irish person must be jettisoned or flintily critiqued to accomplish that, and Stephen never quite succeeds. But Ulysses aims at transformation and reworking, and I like it better for that. (The Wake, from my mere dabblings, is the process without a stable object; transformation without end or beginning. Maybe if I'd read Vico....)
posted by kewb at 8:03 AM on June 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Bit of a warm-up for Bloomsday.

Superfluous perhaps, considering the heat renewed and quite well substantiated claims that Joyce suffered from severe tertiary syphilis are likely to generate.

I've thought the vast compost pile of Western culture which is Finnegans Wake looked more like a symptom of a great mind in dissolution than any kind of synthesis, but didn't know the solvent.
posted by jamjam at 10:20 AM on June 14, 2014

I see Joyce's canon as gradually reaching out towards the cosmic and universal. To me that's why it's the most brilliant body of work in the English language. Dubliners is relatively grounded and specific, and approaches something heavenword by the end. Portrait tentatively takes off for the sky (with Icarus imagery and all.) Ulysses contains huge stretches where we're floating in space, feeling dense and weightless all at once, and then Finnegans Wake explodes it all and is the clearest expression of the cosmic contextful contextless universal in a single piece of work that I've ever encountered. I want to cry with joy thinking about it all.
posted by naju at 4:52 PM on June 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Burgess is just amazing. He was my guide through Ulysses, via his book "Rejoyce". He had a deep affinity for Joycean language. He could do stuff like effortlessly coin English nonsense that phonetically matched words and phrases in any language. He was also a composer.
posted by thelonius at 6:55 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Great find! Thanks, Segundus.
posted by homunculus at 8:33 PM on June 14, 2014

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