Saturday, August 06, 2005

ULYSSES and PARADISE LOST and squeezing a gallstone

In high school I was called on to read aloud from HAMLET to the class. After I finished, the teacher asked me what I thought of what I’d just read. “I’m sorry,” I said earnestly, “I wasn’t listening.”

So it is with Stephen Dedalus’s interior monologue that closes section 1. This is where my daily quota becomes a necessary grind to get through the novel. I have vowed to read every word of this novel in sequence, and to do so in this section I’ve been forced to reading the text out loud, but I really wasn’t listening most of the time. Matter of fact, I have read this section at least twice, trying to milk as much understanding out of it as possible. (I believe a squeezed gallstone would have produced more insight.)

I will have more to say later, but for now, let me turn to Milton’s PARADISE LOST, which I am currently reading for research. This was required reading in college, but being a science major I scoffed at things literary, especially old literary things, so I resorted to Cliff Notes.

But man, it’s damn good! And I got to thinking, why am I enjoying this so much and not ULYSSES? The answer in part is that Joyce seems ultimately to be writing for himself and Milton is writing for his readers. Not to mention that Satan makes a hell of a more interesting character than wimpy Dedalus.


Post a Comment

<< Home