Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ulysses and Intimidation

I would tell friends I was reading Ulysses, and they'd look at me and ask "Why?"

Sort of like climbing Everest, the answer seems (to me) self-evident.

But as I finished Molly's famous chapter over the weekend, I was struck by how misplaced the book's reputation is. The book is profoundly difficult reading; I especially struggled to force myself to slow down and really read the long section presented as dialogue and stage directions. I suppose everyone must have at least one section that makes them want to give up.

But somehow, book lovers tend to conflate "I understood it" with "I enjoyed it." But I feel that not understanding was part of the joy- it's like wonder over the ending to Inception or imagining how a cancelled series like Firefly would have turned out if given the time to develop.

I read it. I loved it. I think I got it, but I might be wrong (more on that tomorrow).

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