In leaving the cafe I asked Joyce how long he had been working on Ulysses. "About five years, " he said. "But in a sense all my life." "Some of your contemporaries, " I said, "think two books a year an average output." "Yes, " said Joyce. "But how do they do it? They talk them into a typewriter. I feel quite capable of doing that if I wanted to do it. But what's the use? It isn't worth doing.
In a sense, Joyce was Beckett's Don Quixote, and Beckett was his Sancho Panza. Joyce aspired to the One; Beckett encapsulated the fragmented many. But as each author accomplished his task, it was in the service of the other. Ultimately, Beckett's landscapes would resound with articulate silence, and his empty spaces would collect within themselves the richness of multiple shadows-a physicist would say the negative particles-of all that exists in absence, as in the white patches of an Abstract Expressionist painting. Becket would evoke, on his canvasses of vast innuendo and through the interstices of conscious and unconscious thought, the richness that Joyce had made explicit in words and intricate structure.
Life direct...is what Flaubert and Joyce have convinced themselves the man may never get quite clear of but the artist has nothing to do with. What they can't admit is that t is overrated: which artists, faking and fumbling it together out of spit and toothpicks, should know best of all.
Wait." Walter went to the basket, taking what was a gray sleeve, drawing it out fro the middle of the heap. "Oh, " He said. He held the shapeless wool sweater to his chest. Joyce had knit for months the year Daniel died, and here was the result, her handiwork, the garment that would fit a giant. It was nothing more than twelve skeins of yarn and thousands of loops, but it had the power to bring back in a flash the green-tiled walls of the hospital, the sound of an ambulance trying to cut through city traffic in the distance, the breathing of the dying boy, his father staring at the ceiling, the full greasy bucket of fried chicken on he bed table. "I'll take this one, " Walter said, balling up the sweater as best he could, stuffing it into a shopping bag that was half full of the books he was taking home, that he was borrowing. "Oh, honey, " Joyce said. "You don't want that old scrap." "You made it. I remember your making it." Keep it light, he said to himself, that's a boy. "There's a use for it. Don't you think so, Aunt Jeannie? No offense, Mom, but I could invade the Huns with it or strap the sleeves to my car tires in a blizzard, for traction, or protect our nation with it out in space, a shield against nuclear attack." Jeannie tittered in her usual way in spite of herself. "You always did have that sense of humor, " she said as she went upstairs. When she was out of range, Joyce went to Walter's bag and retrieved the sweater. She laid it on the card table, the long arms hanging down, and she fingered the stitches. "Will you look at the mass of it, " she exclaimed. "I don't even recall making it." ""'Memory - that strange deceiver, '" Walter quoted.
In one particular chapter in Ulysses, James Joyce imitates every major writing style that's been used by English and American writers over the last 700 years - starting with Beowulf and Chaucer and working his way up through the Renaissance, the Victorian era and on into the 20th century.
One day I was in Starbucks going through one of my books on accounting, and this beautiful young woman came up to me and said, 'My accounting book is different from yours.' Her name was Joyce, she had a background in finance and administration and ran a surgery center. Within a short time, we were married.
The well-known inspiration for 'Ulysses' is made clear by the title itself: Joyce's novel is based on Homer's 'Odyssey', under the ever-fascinating premise that all of Odysseus' extraordinary adventures can be experienced by a modern man in a single day, provided that the writing consists of his mental activity.
No, I chose the name Jane Seymour because I was doing my first film, 'Ode to Lovely War,' and one of the top agents in England spotted me dancing in the chorus. I was a singer and dancer in that movie with Maggie Smith, um, and he told me he couldn't sell me as Joyce Penelope Willomena Frankenburger.
In 'Dublinesque', Spanish writer Enrique Vila-Matas inverts the terms of Joyce's 'Ulysses' and tells the story of a man who, after living a hyperkinetic life like those of Odysseus and Leopold Bloom, resolves to never leave his room again and to reduce his mental activity to a minimum.
Insofar as I think about postmodernism at all, and it doesn't exactly keep me awake at nights, I think of it as something that happens to one, not a style one affects. We're postmoderns because we're not modernists. The modernist writers —Pound, Eliot, Joyce, Stevens, Yeats, Woolf, Williams —spoke with a kind of vatic authority: they were really the last of the Romantics, for whom authorship itself was like being a solitary prophet in the wasteland.
When I saw what painting had done in the last thirty years, what literature had done - people like Joyce and Virginia Woolf, Faulkner and Hemingway - in France we have Nathalie Sarraute - and paintings became so strongly contemporary while cinema was just following the path of theater. I have to do something which relates with my time, and in my time, we make things differently.
In company with people of your own trade you ordinarily speak of other writers' books. The better the writers the less they will speak about what they have written themselves. Joyce was a very great writer and he would only explain what he was doing to jerks. Other writers that he respected were supposed to be able to know what he was doing by reading it.
What other developed democracy has such a ridiculous and squalid history of intolerance? From the imprisonment and roasting of heretics, witches and poachers, to the censorship of literature, art and television: from St Alban through Wilde, Joyce and Lawrence I think we can point with pride to as grim a catalogue of intemperate, bigoted repression as any nation on earth...
It is generally understood that a modern-day book may honorably be based upon an older one, especially since, as Dr. Johnson observed, no man likes owing anything to his contemporaries. The repeated but irrelevant points of congruence between Joyce's Ulysses and Homer's Odyssey continue to attract (though I shall never understand why) the dazzled admiration of critics.
Jorge Luis Borges
A part of what makes myths live is their multiplicity, the way different voices retell them in every generation. Homer survives because his poetry was outstanding, yes, but also because he's been passed down by so many by luminaries like Vergil and Ovid, Shakespeare, James Joyce and Margaret Atwood, but also by countless others. I wanted to do my part for these tremendous stories.
Great books are readable anyway. Dickens is readable. Jane Austen is readable. John Updike's readable. Hawthorne's readable. It's a meaningless term. You have to go the very extremes of literature, like Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake," before you get a literary work that literally unreadable.
We had all these famous writers in Sweden and from all over the world home at dinner. I wanted to be a writer, and I wanted to be a highbrow writer as my father. He never, ever read anything like crime novels. He wrote biographies of Dante, James Joyce, August Strindberg and Joseph Conrad.
The sad fact is that I love Dickens and Donne and Keats and Eliot and Forster and Conrad and Fitzgerald and Kafka and Wilde and Orwell and Waugh and Marvell and Greene and Sterne and Shakespeare and Webster and Swift and Yeats and Joyce and Hardy, really, really love them. It's just that they don't love me back.
The same tantalizing guile and sublime skill....[The series is] reinforced in its claim to be one of the major literary works of this century....Only two other writers that this reviewer can think of have each created an entire, discrete and compelling world, a totally believable entity which one might wish to inhabit, and they are Joyce and Proust. It is not pretentious to place Patrick O'Brian in the first canon of literature....
What did Nabokov and Joyce have in common, apart from the poor teeth and the great prose? Exile, and decades of near pauperism. A compulsive tendency to overtip. An uxoriousness that their wives deservedly inspired. More than that, they both lived their lives 'beautifully'--not in any Jamesian sense (where, besides, ferocious solvency would have been a prerequisite), but in the droll fortitude of their perseverance. They got the work done, with style.
A lot of writers fall in love with their sentences or their construction of sentences, and sometimes that's great, but not everybody is Gabriel Garcia Marquez or James Joyce. A lot of people like to pretend that they are, and they wind up not giving people a good read or enlightening them.
Overall, I have formed three major organizations: the National Association of Business Women, the Young Women's Leaders Network, and the Joyce Banda Foundation. Under the foundation, we have a huge program that targets women to teach them about HIV and other diseases and to give them economic empowerment.
When I wrote 'Your Republic Is Calling You,' it was Franz Kafka's writing that I had most in mind, and James Joyce's 'Ulysses.' Entirely out of the blue, Kafka's characters receive an order to go somewhere, and when they try to comply, they never quite manage it. Ki-yong in 'Your Republic Is Calling You' is precisely that sort of character.
To conclude this personal note, I, William Joyce, will merely say that I left England because I would not fight for Jewry against the Fe¼hrer and National Socialism, and because I believe most ardently, as I do today, that victory and a perpetuation of the old system would be an incomparably greater evil for [England] than defeat coupled with a possibility of building something new, something really national, something truly socialist.
Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce)
I don't ask writers about their work habits. I really don't care. Joyce Carol Oates says somewhere that when writers ask each other what time they start working and when they finish and how much time they take for lunch, they're actually trying to find out, "Is he as crazy as I am?" I don't need that question answered.
The writers I care about most and never grow tired of are: Shakespeare, Swift, Fielding, Dickens, Charles Reade, Flaubert and, among modern writers, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. But I believe the modern writer who has influenced me most is Somerset Maugham, whom I admire immensely for his power of telling a story straightforwardly and without frills.
The extent of his influence across jazz, across American music, and around the world has such continuing stature that he is one of the few who can easily be mentioned with Stravinsky, Picasso and Joyce. His life was the embodiment of one who moves from rags to riches, from anonymity to internationally imitated innovator. Louis Daniel Armstrong supplied revolutionary language that took on such pervasiveness that it became commonplace, like the light bulb, the airplane, the telephone.
Overt intelligent performances are not clues to the workings of minds; they are those workings. Boswell described Johnson's mind when he described how he wrote, talked, ate, fidgeted and fumed. His description was, of course, incomplete, since there were notoriously some thoughts which Johnson kept carefully to himself and there must have been many dreams, daydreams and silent babblings which only Johnson could have recorded and only a James Joyce would wish him to have recorded.
James Joyce's English was based on the rhythm of the Irish language. He wrote things that shocked English language speakers but he was thinking in Gaelic. I've sung songs that if they were in English, would have been banned too. The psyche of the Irish language is completely different to the English-speaking world.
Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh
Some years ago I wrote a book called The House on Eccles Street. To write this book I had to think my way into the existence of Marion Bloom...Marion Bloom was a figment of James Joyce's imagination. If I can think my way into the existence of a being who has never existed, then I can think my way into the existence of a bat or a chimpanzee or an oyster, any being with whom I share the substrate of life.
J. M. Coetzee
Like Richard Ellmann on James Joyce, Arnold Rampersad on Ralph Ellison is in a class of its own. His masterful and magisterial book is the most powerful and profound treatment of Ellison's undeniable artistic genius, deep personal flaws, and controversial political evolution. And he reveals an Ellison unbeknownst to all of us. From now on, all serious scholarship on Ellison must begin with Rampersad's instant and inimitable classic in literary biography.
Write about winter in the summer. Describe Norway as Ibsen did, from a desk in Italy; describe Dublin as James Joyce did, from a desk in Paris. Willa Cather wrote her prairie novels in New York City; Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn in Hartford, Connecticut. Recently, scholars learned that Walt Whitman rarely left his room.
I think I succeeded as a writer because I did not come out of an English department. I used to write in the chemistry department. And I wrote some good stuff. If I had been in the English department, the prof would have looked at my short stories, congratulated me on my talent, and then showed me how Joyce or Hemingway handled the same elements of the short story. The prof would have placed me in competition with the greatest writers of all time, and that would have ended my writing career.
In 1922 everything changed again. The Eskimo pie was invented; James Joyce's Ulysses was printed in Paris; snow fell on Mauna Loa, Hawaii; Babe Ruth signed a three-year contract with the New York Yankees; Eugene O'Neill was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Frederick Douglass's home was dedicated as a national shrine; former heavyweight champion of the world Jack Johnson invented the wrench...
Bernice L. McFadden
Most of the makers of the twentieth-century mind, figures such as Freud, Heisenberg, Picasso, Joyce, and Eliot, have in common an about-face on the subject-object question and the mindmatter question; they all reject the dualism that arbitrarily and irreversibly splits the world into pieces. This rejection of dualism and the corresponding reach for monism are of the essence in understanding the revolutionary nature of twentieth-century science and art.
Jewel Spears Brooker
If you've ever read one of those articles that asks notable people to list their favorite books, you may have been impressed or daunted to see them pick Proust or Thomas Mann or James Joyce. You might even feel sheepish about the fact that you reread Pride and Prejudice or The Lord of the Rings, or The Catcher in the Rye or Gone With the Wind every couple of years with some much pleasure. Perhaps, like me, you're even a little suspicious of their claims, because we all know that the books we've loved best are seldom the ones we esteem the most highly - or the ones we'd most like other people to think we read over and over again.
Beowulf stands out as a poem which makes extensive use of this kind of figurative language. There are over one thousand compounds in the poem, totalling one-third of all the words in the text. Many of these compounds are kennings. The word 'to ken' is still used in many Scottish and Northern English dialects, meaning 'to know'. Such language is a way of knowing and of expressing meanings in striking and memorable ways; it has continuities with the kinds of poetic compounding found in nearly all later poetry but especially in the Modernist texts of Gerard Manley Hopkins and James Joyce.
It is already the fashion to diminish Eliot by calling him derivative, the mouthpiece of Pound, and so forth; and yet if one wanted to understand the apocalypse of early modernism in its true complexity it would be Eliot, I fancy, who would demand one's closest attention. He was ready to rewrite the history of all that interested him in order to have past and present conform; he was a poet of apocalypse, of the last days and the renovation, the destruction of the earthly city as a chastisement of human presumption, but also of empire. Tradition, a word we especially associate with this modernist, is for him the continuity of imperial deposits; hence the importance in his thought of Virgil and Dante. He saw his age as a long transition through which the elect must live, redeeming the time. He had his demonic host, too; the word 'Jew' remained in lower case through all the editions of the poems until the last of his lifetime, the seventy-fifth birthday edition of 1963. He had a persistent nostalgia for closed, immobile hierarchical societies. If tradition is, as he said in After Strange Gods-though the work was suppressed-'the habitual actions, habits and customs' which represent the kinship 'of the same people living in the same place' it is clear that Jews do not have it, but also that practically nobody now does. It is a fiction, a fiction cousin to a myth which had its effect in more practical politics. In extenuation it might be said that these writers felt, as Sartre felt later, that in a choice between Terror and Slavery one chooses Terror, 'not for its own sake, but because, in this era of flux, it upholds the exigencies proper to the aesthetics of Art.' The fictions of modernist literature were revolutionary, new, though affirming a relation of complementarity with the past. These fictions were, I think it is clear, related to others, which helped to shape the disastrous history of our time. Fictions, notably the fiction of apocalypse, turn easily into myths; people will live by that which was designed only to know by. Lawrence would be the writer to discuss here, if there were time; apocalypse works in Woman in Love, and perhaps even in Lady Chatterley's Lover, but not n Apocalypse, which is failed myth. It is hard to restore the fictive status of what has become mythical; that, I take it, is what Mr. Saul Bellow is talking about in his assaults on wastelandism, the cant of alienation. In speaking of the great men of early modernism we have to make very subtle distinctions between the work itself, in which the fictions are properly employed, and obiter dicta in which they are not, being either myths or dangerous pragmatic assertions. When the fictions are thus transformed there is not only danger but a leak, as it were, of reality; and what we feel about. all these men at times is perhaps that they retreated inso some paradigm, into a timeless and unreal vacuum from which all reality had been pumped. Joyce, who was a realist, was admired by Eliot because he modernized myth, and attacked by Lewis because he concerned himself with mess, the disorders of common perception. But Ulysses , alone of these great works studies and develops the tension between paradigm and reality, asserts the resistance of fact to fiction, human freedom and unpredictability against plot. Joyce chooses a Day; it is a crisis ironically treated. The day is full of randomness. There are coincidences, meetings that have point, and coincidences which do not. We might ask whether one of the merits of the book is not its lack of mythologizing; compare Joyce on coincidence with the Jungians and their solemn concordmyth, the Principle of Synchronicity. From Joyce you cannot even extract a myth of Negative Concord; he shows us fiction fitting where it touches. And Joyce, who probably knew more about it than any of the others, was not at tracted by the intellectual opportunities or the formal elegance of fascism.