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"I can't follow your banner any more than you can follow mine."

In 1928, H.G. Wells wrote to James Joyce after reading early extracts from what would eventually become Finnegans Wake. In short, Wells was thoroughly unimpressed, though he was polite about it.
Who the hell is this Joyce who demands so many waking hours of the few thousand I have still to live for a proper appreciation of his quirks and fancies and flashes of rendering?

All this from my point of view. Perhaps you are right and I am all wrong. Your work is an extraordinary experiment and I would go out of my way to save it from destructive or restrictive interruption. It has its believers and its following. Let them rejoice in it. To me it is a dead end.
I loved Dubliners, barely got through Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and have no interest in Ulysses and especially not Finnegans Wake. There. I said it. Call me philistine if you must.

November 2, 2012 in Books | Permalink


My experience with Joyce is exactly the same as yours. I was not yet part of my current reading group when they tackled Ulysses, but even now, years later, they make references to it that leave me feeling like an outsider.

Moby Dick, on the other hand . . .

Posted by: Paul Lamb at Nov 2, 2012 6:02:46 PM