Monday, February 4, 2013

Greatest English Language Novel

In a quest to find the greatest works of English language novelists, Random House, in 1998, used its editorial board to come up with the 100 best novels of the 20th century. And the winner was – Irish writer James Joyce for his novel Ulysses, interestingly he also came in third for, A Portrait of the Artist.

So what was Ulysses? A wandering story of more than a quarter of a million words that takes place in a single day, June - sixteenth - 1904. The novel establishes parallel lives between Homers, Odyssey and Ulysses of Joyce’s work.

It is tough reading in places as Joyce, a stream of consciousness writer, uses a large number of puns, twists and turns to tell his story. The novel was attached for obscenity and criticized by some scholars for too many mistakes, but it continues to show up at the top of nearly all lists of great novels.

The book was originally serialized into eighteen parts, of which as a college student I was forced or honored to read two of them, we could have read another for extra credit, but I passed.

Think I will kick back and relax with a good western.

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