Mis-Reading ‘Ulysses’

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I’ve never read James Joyce’s Ulysses. I’m not big on Serious Mainstream Literature. In fact, I’m downright microscopic on it. Every time I read something about it, the adjective “modernist” comes up. To me, that’s a synonym for “crappy.”

Besides, look how thick it is. Not being immortal, I doubt I want to invest that much time in a book that doesn’t spark my interest.

So today I was reading the last story in my Penguin edition of Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best by P.G. Wodehouse, and then went on to the blurbs for other Penguin books. And at the top of the list was Ulysses.

This is what the blurb actually says: “A modernist classic… an imperishable monument to the human condition.”

But this is how my eye read it: “an impenetrable monument.” Oops.

Well, a lot of readers, whose comments I have consulted, have found it to be exactly that: impenetrable. Having little hope of breaking in where they have failed, I’ve decided what I really need is another collection of Wodehouse’s Blandings stories featuring Lord Emsworth, whose mind can’t penetrate anything.

I wonder if he ever read Ulysses. Maybe that’s what happened to him.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations.

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6 responses to “Mis-Reading ‘Ulysses’

  • UnKnowable

    Whenever there’s a movie I just “have to see” or a book I just “have to read, I make a point of avoiding it.

  • Watchman

    Yea better wait for the abridged version.

  • thewhiterabbit2016

    Funny you should mention “Ulysses”. I am currently reading it (I’ve had to renew it once already), that is after I first read the chapter (but there are no chapters) notes on Cliff Notes for what it is about, otherwise I can’t figure it out. “Modernist” is definitely a buzz word for crap, which applies to “Ulysses” in my estimation.

  • Phoebe

    If you think “Ulysses” is impenetrable, just try Joyce’s later novel, “Finnegan’s Wake.” Compared with that, “Ulysses” is “Dick and Jane.” Frankly, I never made it through either one.

    • leeduigon

      One of my high school English teachers read us a brief passage from “Finnegan’s Wake,” then asked us what we thought of it. I’m afraid I made a rude noise.

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