A New Approach to Joyce: The Portrait of the Artist as a Guidebook

A New Approach to Joyce: The Portrait of the Artist as a Guidebook

A New Approach to Joyce: The Portrait of the Artist as a Guidebook

A New Approach to Joyce: The Portrait of the Artist as a Guidebook

Excerpt

This book IS intended for the educated reader who is not a Joyce specialist--in other words, for that reader who has been so long and curiously neglected by some Joyce scholars.

There is no doubt that Joyce's writings are complex. As a reader increases his understanding of them--and this is a process requiring diligence and ingenuity-- he is tempted to yield to iellectual hubris and parade that ingenuity. This, unfortunately, seems to be what much of a certain kind of Joyce scholarship in America amounts to. It consists of web spinning and the manipulation of minute marginalia, written by specialists for specialists, and the nonspecialist who is simply trying to understand Joyce is left out in the cold. Occasionally, the complexity of the criticism seems to surpass that of Joyce. Further, each specialist seems to feel that he and he alone has a corner on Joyce, and is compelled to demolish, or attempt to demolish, all his predecessors. This is a regrettable waste of time and energy.

On the other hand, there are those who, in a laudable attempt to communicate with the reading public have, unfortunately, so oversimplified Joyce as to render him indistinguishable from a dozen or so other modern writers. Very obviously, the trouble with this "common reader" approach is that Joyce is not a common writer.

In this book I shall try to tread, however waveringly . . .

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