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Quotes / Ulysses

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"Finally, I venture a prophecy: not ten men or women out of a hundred can read Ulysses through, and of the ten who succeed in doing so, five of them will do it as a tour de force. I am probably the only person, aside from the author, that has ever read it twice from beginning to end."
Joseph Collins, from the original 1922 NY Times review

I have read several fragments of Ulysses in its serial form. It is a revolting record of a disgusting phase of civilisation; but it is a truthful one; and I should like to put a cordon round Dublin; round up every male person in it between the ages of 15 and 30; force them to read it; and ask them whether on reflection they could see anything amusing in all that fouled mouthed, foul minded derision and obscenity. To you, possibly, it may appeal as art [...] but to me it is all hideously real: I have walked those streets and know those shops and have heard and taken part in those conversations. I escaped them to England at the age of twenty; and forty years later have learnt from the books of Mr Joyce that Dublin is still what it was, and young men are still drivelling in slackjawed blackguardism just as they were in 1870. It is, however, some consolation to find that at last somebody has felt deeply enough about it to face the horror of writing it all down and using his literary genius to force people to face it [...]
George Bernard Shaw, from a letter to Joyce's publisher.


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