Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ulysses Made Undaunting

I never made it through James Joyce's "Ulysses" but Mike Potemra says a new book should help me get through it if I should want to tackle it:
I am delighted by Declan Kiberd’s new book Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce's Masterpiece, because it puts into words better than I could why I’ve always loved Ulysses: It’s a poetic celebration of ordinary life as it is lived. Writes Kiberd: “For all their radical newness, Joyce’s methods were a return to the aims of the romantic poets in the aftermath of the French revolution: as Coleridge said of Wordsworth, the hope was to awaken the mind from the lethargy of custom to deal with persons from common walks of life and ‘to give the charm of novelty to the things of every day.’” Ulysses, he says, is “an epic of the bourgeoisie. . . . One of the most attractive features of [the book’s protagonist Leopold] Bloom is his blend of imagination and practicality. . . . He sees no contradiction whatever between bohemian and bourgeois. . . . [The book] may be unique in the history of modernism because it suggests concord rather than eternal enmity between poet and citizen.”

I like that last part - concord between the poet and citizen. Isn't that what I've been talking about?

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