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Nevertheless, as in all things Joyce, this commentary provides more than substantial food for thought and opens interesting areas for contemplation of this magnificent and eternal work.
In the opening episode of Ulysses we find Stephen paraphrasing Mr. Wilde by calling Irish art the cracked looking glass stolen from a slavey. And thus each commentator views the depths of their own soul within the novel, and presents their perspectives as solidly based within the novel, when it is only after all a personal impression, like seeing a woman's hand in a passing small cloud. French's other forte is women's issues.
Very much like a whale.
And so my perceptions from the novel after repeated readings of Ulysses (Gabler Edition) and hearings of the Ulysses recording by Donal Donnelly, may differ quite strongly from those so forcefully stated by French, and I may provide chapter and verse to disprove some of her statements, or provide skepticism regarding others' absolutism.
Nevertheless, I find her insight and expressions bracing cold water cast upon the nodding, napping complacency of my own solipsistic impressions and provide a parallax most useful in coming to see what is really going on here in the Dublin of June 16, 1904, and what is going on here within each reader's soul who must construct meaning from this myriad great novel, including my own.
Thus I recommend this learned if for me slightly flawed commentary to any reader of James Joyce, a lifetime avocation, as one supplement to the already Talmudic body of commentary which has gathered, and which must ever be read, as tea leaves in a cup, as clouds above, as smoke arising from a turf fire.
Read this book, and do read The Book, Ulysses, and every single other commentary you can find, of which several may be found quite favorably here upon the amazon.The Book as World: James Joyce's Ulysses Overview
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