A portrait of James Joyce

Writing a blog post about James Joyce is quite a lot about writing a blog post about Marmite. Some people are going to love it, whereas others are going to hate it.

Incidentally, this also refers to the reception of Joyce’s writing itself.

There is a huge crowd of readers and scholars who queue up at every possible opportunity to say how much they love Joyce’s writing and how he was a hero who redefined the very meaning of literature. At the same time, there is an equally huge crowd who can’t wait to tell you that Joyce’s work is complete drivel that, in his efforts partly to deconstruct the idea of literature as having meaning, robbed the English-speaking language of a great aspect of literature. Indeed, some scholars think that he alternated between pure genius and pure madness (and anyone who appreciates the works of people like Picasso recognises that frequently a piece of art contains elements of both).

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