Monday, December 15, 2003

I have been reading Ulysses, in the Gabler edition, of course--I mean, one of my best friends is a disciple of a disciple of Gabler. Paul might well be aghast if I were to read a different edition. (for those of you wondering what difference it all makes, this link begins to explain bits and pieces about the various editions, and does refer you to other sources.)
At any rate. It's also more of a rereading, to this point, since two Decembers ago I got through "Hades" (the 6th episode) before I got distracted. As of now, I'm only through the Telemachiad (the first three episodes: "Telemachus," "Nestor," and "Proteus," before the text shifts to describe more about what Bloom does that fateful day).
Each time I open something by Joyce, I'm reassured and pleasantly surprised by what I find. That is to say, it's always delightful. He plays with this language in a way that seems effortless to the reader, endlessly inventive, and delighting in the capacities that English affords him. The reader cannot but be pulled into this delight, in an almost perfect example of what Barthes would call the jouissance that the text offers. The rich, dense mass of allusions stuns the reader--asking, perhaps the reader to consult a companion book or two for help, from time to time--and yet the allusions are part of the play, part of the fun.
Someday I will try to finish Finnegans Wake. For now, I'm happy that I can believe that I live in Dublin, at least for a space.