The Laestrygonians (First Attempt Refused)

c_a046I refuse all help – and look where it gets me! This latest chapter is, I’m sure, no harder than the others but I think accumulation is the problem here. Part of me says “enough already” and I’m tempted to just look the bloody answers up online or in the notes at the back or in a separate book altogether. But another part of me says “what’s the point of reading a puzzle book if someone else has already filled in all the answers?” That is surely even less fun than ploughing on regardless!

Although it’s been tough and I’ve made a couple of missteps along the way it’s also been fun too. What I’m getting round to is the fact that that the book has defeated me for this week and I can’t make my way through it for my regular Friday slot.

I’m frustrated and a little annoyed with myself – though mostly that’s my own appalling time-management skills. Hope I don’t get fired or anything! Still, I imagine this is part of the process for a lot of readers – reaching their limit and getting bounced out of the book to land unceremoniously on their fine pointed scholarly bottoms!

I could make merry here and say I need to go away and read a proper book for a change. You know, a book with the words in the right order and making some sort of sense. I don’t know whether you’d appreciate my humour though. Nobody has got back to me on a point I made a while back on why anyone would think Joyce would think that this was a book for the masses or the ordinary reader. I can barely imagine exceptional people willingly reading this book – let alone ordinary ones. What was it about Joyce that gave him this impression – that his books were for everyone. Perhaps I’m labouring under a misapprehension. You tell me. Is that what he thought? Is it the greatest novel of the twentieth century, the hardest novel of the twentieth century or both? Or neither?

And while you try and figure out that I’ll try and read this bloody chapter again! Now where was I? U.P.!?


One thought on “The Laestrygonians (First Attempt Refused)

  1. Sometimes I need a break before submerging myself again. These days I’m playing with Finnegans Wake. I got to two reading groups and read a little and listen to readings and talk a little–but in the case of the Wake I can’t imagine proceeding in an orderly manner through the text. On my last Ulysses reading (which I do think has to be done in order the first time(s) I also had to take a break or two between chapters. I also though it absurd that Joyce might think these books for the masses. I sometimes have to remind myself about the pure pleasure of the text–hard to stick with this when one is worrying about references and meanings, but…

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