James Joyce’s Ulysses took place on June 16, 1904. Joyce honored the day of the first date he had with Nora Barnacle, his future wife.
For years I felt intimidated over reading Ulysses, but finally did so several months ago. I enjoyed it for the for the first three-hundred pages. I got lost off and on for the rest of the novel. Even with a Reader’s Guide to Ulysses, I still had trouble understanding why Joyce had included some events.
Several editions of Ulysses were published and each time Joyce made changes and added passages. He could not stop tinkering with his novel. Perhaps this is why I felt that Ulysses was too long. Joyce could have left many things out without affecting this wandering story.
I can hear Doctor Archibald H. Brainard, a member of the literati, say, “What an ignorant thing to say! Obviously you lack the intelligence to appreciate the greatness of Ulysses.” Perhaps Dr. Brainard is right.
I would ask Dr. Brainard, if he existed, whether he laughed and enjoyed the passages on farting, shitting and pissing in Ulysses. Oops! Pardon me, Dr. Brainard, I should use the phrase passing wind, and the words defecating and urinating.
How surprising to find passages about passing wind, defecating and urinating in Ulysses. I have never associated these activities with great literature. This explains why I am not a member of the literati.
James Joyce had a sense of humor. I suspect he was putting us on at times knowing how people like Dr. Brainard love to read into things. Dr. Brainard would never admit that the emperor had no clothes.
I would love to have known Joyce’s answer when his wife Nora asked him, “Why don’t you write books people can read?”