James Joyce -- Incredible writer of the 20th century or just plain BORING?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Ariana Lang, Aug 24, 2002.

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  1. Ariana Lang Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 5
    I, personally, HATE James Joyce. I've had to read both "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and "Ulysses" and I just abhored them. I do not see the appeal of the author. BUT I know that he's got to be famous for some reason, so I'm interested in hearing some other opinions. Has anyone actually read a James Joyce novel and LIKED it? Why did you like it? Why is he considered such an incredible author? The reasons elude me. Please -- enlighten me. Maybe then next time I have to read something of his I'll actually be able to enjoy it.
  2. Darth Zane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    Nope. I've bought Portrait of an Artist, Finnigan's Wake, and Ulysses, and I havn't finished any of them.

    I'll probably try again eventually, but where I am now, they're not appealing to me.

  3. Radiohead Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2002
    star 4
    No, he's not boring, but he is very difficult to understand. He introduced certain concepts that tried to break away from the traditional methods of writing, yet he also attempted to retain classical formulas that would remain accessible to readers.

    In his masterpiece, Ulysses, for instance, heavily used a new concept called "internal monologue" or "stream of consciousness." But, Joyce also uses the tale of Homer's Oddyseus to structure the story of Ulysses. So, in essence, the story is an epic set in Dublin.

    In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he uses the Modernist (a literary movement that he was a part of) concepts of representing reality. Modernists wanted to break away from tradition and present reality as it streamed through people's minds. So, again, readers notice the "stream of consciousness" technique in heavy use.

    One last thing: Joyce's works may seem "boring" because they are almost always depressing. Joyce didn't write a single work of optimism. With that said, people have to understand where he came from: he grew up as an impoverished child in Dublin, Ireland during the tail end of the Industrial Revolution. That harsh life scarred him permanently and he tries to reflect that in his writings.
  4. ParanoidAni-droid Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2001
    star 4

    I've been looking to get into Joyce for a long time now... I'm talking YEARS! But the time never seemed right. I'm almost positive that I'm going to adore his works so I want to give myself fully to them rather than knock 'em off in a couple of days. I expect to finally get around to him in about six months or so (my reading schedule should be more spacious by then ;) ).

    So, in essence, the story is an epic set in Dublin.

    Brilliant! Somehow I knew that dealing with the ancient in a modern way was a trait of Joyce's writing. I really can't say how I knew that either, no one told me... maybe it was through ozmossis? Anyway, I'm totally hyped on this guy, after all, it's not every day that you get to read an author who healped to futher a medium the way he supposedly did.

    ~PAd


  5. Ariana Lang Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 5
  6. B'omarr Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2000
    star 6
    Joyce is a bit of an acquired taste. It really takes some adjusting to his style of writing. If you don't read many of the classic, turn of the 19th Century type books, it will be hard to read. But the same can be said of Shakespeare.

    That said, I've read Ulysses and Dubliners both and find them to be some of the most picturesque and very imaginative books I've read. His stories always seem to be more about moods and feelings than by the actual driver of the story itself. I find that most books I really like are the same way.

    But, there are certain types of books that aren't for certain people. Or maybe this isn't the right time in your life to read a book like Ulysses. I just read War & Peace this past year, and there's no way I would have liked a book like that a few years ago, but now I have an appreciation for it.
  7. Darth Zane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    Also, when dealing with Ulysses, you have to remember that Joyce was going for the total realistic experience. Therefore, when the character is bored, you're supposed to feel bored.

    I read that somewhere.
  8. Ariana Lang Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 5
  9. Darth Zane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    Yeah, he did it so well, that the boredom transferred through the entire book. Of course, like B'omaar said, it could just be the wrong time for us.
  10. JediWarriorYoda Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    I read "Portrait" last year in AP Lit. I understood what Joyce was trying to get at and thought his writing style was intriguing, however, it took me a while to get into the book. The teacher assigned it for reading over Spring Break. I was in Haiti working on a mission trip so it took a bit for the book to peak my interest. Finally finished it on the plane write home and found myself proud that I read a work by Joyce and survived (I had heard from friends that he was a terror).
    Though I didn't read it as comprehensively as I should of, giving the circumstances that I was in Haiti, I got the highest grade on the finally test.
    So, I'd say that Joyce is an incredible author, but like others have said he's an aquired taste.

  11. Lord Bane Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 26, 1999
    star 5
    I think this merits a bump.
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