Monday, August 23

James Joyce in the news; William Blake and... Hemingway?

"Deal with him Hemingway, deal with him." lol
The only reason that makes me doubt that something like that could appear on the news today is that writers are not celebrities and their lives are not a good source of gossip. I found it funny and I also want to take Joyce away from this difficult and unattainable place he is .
Yes, he has a difficult and different way of writing but shouldn't be left only for scholars and few people who like it.
There are many books published about "how to read Ulysses" and I found this site here that is very simple, is very easy to understand and helps those who are not familiar with Joyce's universe.
As far as the scholars are concerned I found this study Elaine Mingus did about James Joyce and William Blake. What I liked about it is that she raises the complexity of both writers without closing the door using theories and insights that makes it more difficult to read their work:
By Elaine Mingus
Critics and scholars often do not agree on the writings of either Joyce or William Blake. This is because of their complexity, also inconsistencies especially in Blake, and it humbles us to try and understand their writings. Nor is there agreement about how and how much Joyce used the writings of Blake. I have tried to steer a middle course between two extremes. There are sources common to both, such as The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Some things were merely corroborated for Joyce in Blake. Whatever Joyce did take from anyone was reshaped, expanded, and fused into his own vision.
William Blake was an engraver by trade and had his own technique of illuminated printing. He embellished all of his writing beautifully in color and also with drawing, and was better known for his painting than for his writing.
Blake lived in London from 1757 to 1823, a very different time than Joyce’s time. It was an age that was very unsympathetic to any “open vision” or what seemed eccentric or heretical. But Blake was from a dissenting family with the belief that God might speak to one directly. He was self-taught and did not accept anything wholly but was inspired by Jacob Boehme, Swedenborg and others. He greatly benefited by his marriage to Catherine Boucher and she supported his efforts always.
“Imagination leads to wisdom and insight” said Blake, and “The harlot’s cry from street to street shall weave Old England’s winding sheet”. He had his own style and copied no one.
Blake believed in the divinity of man and in identification of body with soul. He was not seen as a mystic but a visionary artist and poet. He was once considered a madman, now revered as a major poet of English Literature, though still considered by many to be a genius who was half-mad. Blake once said, “The prophets Isaiah and Ezekial dined with me”, and he claimed that supernatural powers dictated to him. In his “Milton”, Milton reincarnates and enters the body of Blake.
William Blake was greatly influenced by the American and the French Revolutions which he and others thought heralded the Apocalypse, expected at any time. A social rebel with very radical beliefs, Blake was mainly ignored by the general public. He rebelled against prevailing Victorian morals. “Thou Shalt Nots”, and followed natural instincts rather than adhere to standards of society, and the same can be said of Joyce. Blake was a symbolist who invented his own symbols, like spectres and emanations.
“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s”, he said.
The British government was cracking down on radicals, and some of Blake’s friends were being jailed, which is partially the reason for some of the obscurity in his writing. As with Joyce, he had financial difficulties all his life in part because of the lack of getting published. (Keep reading)
Ulysses is one of the most important works of the last century and I will publish more about it.

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