Sunday, 19 August 2018

Danis Rose & James Joyce & Michael Wood

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Philip Harvey 

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 13:53:49 +1100
Subject: Fined Again Wacked
To: Max Richards

Dear Max and Alan,

thank you for the review of the new Danis Rose FW. I have just read it over lunch.

The reviewer, Michael Wood, has given some excellent descriptions of the process of reading the book and of the types who get into Joyce's type. I recognise myself and others in a number of his portraits. The review helps to update us on the general history of reception.

I also like the tempting theory that Joyce was not really interested in the cyclic Vico view of history, even though it is unquestionably one of the identifiable bases of the creative performance. 

Personally, I think Joyce believes in repetition and that every time something repeats itself in time, it's different. Did Stephen Dedalus ever wake from the nightmare of history? When I read FW it seems he is still hard at work waking up, all in a state of Tossmania. The more I readFW the more I notice what Joyce describes in a loving way, e.g. the Book of Kells, and it is these passages that guide my sense of his values.

Joyce valued the inventiveness of the language artist, which is not
something we can say about Danis Rose. Rose's Ulysses is a disgrace, if you ask me, and not because I stand by Joyce's grandson. Simply put, Rose is not a literary person, has no feel for what Joyce is really doing, displays a literalmindedness about the dictionary meaning of words that Joyce would have found conservative, and gives himself permission to change the original text  of the book as though he is on a higher, superior wavelength to the rest of us. The most original thing in Rose's Ulysses of 1997 is the copyright statement, which effectively claims that the text of his edition belongs to him, Danis Rose, and not Joyce. Apparently love of money is the root of all evil and Rose no doubt would get the gist of this saying, even if he couldn't turn it into a series of outrageous puns like Joyce. In fact, it wouldnt occur to him to do such a thing. Michael Wood is too nice about Danis Rose. It would be interesting to know why he is being so nice.

The grandson succeeded in the British High Court in having Rose's
Ulysses pulped.



Scottish Country Dancing with Michael Argyle

In December 2010 I wrote to my New Zealand colleague and friend Helen Greenwood, mentioning in passing her encounters on the dance floor with Michael Argyle, the social psychologist. Helen replied, asking, “What's the link with Michael Argyle? I know him as a particularly reckless but enthusiastic Scottish country dancer.” This email followed:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, 13 December 2010 10:59 p.m.
To: Helen Greenwood
Subject: Michael Argyle

I have always wondered why you seem fairly indifferent when I mention
Michael Argyle. I have several times over the years. To me, the very concept
of actually DANCING with Michael Argyle is stupendous.

We had several of his books at Joint Theological Library [Note: today the Dalton McCaughey Library in Parkville, Victoria, Australia]. He was a fascinating thinker of the old school and no school. He took the need for happiness seriously and made it
his life's work. His conclusions, scientifically-based but no doubt too in
part intuitive, are a mixture of the literary-reflective and the
empirical-experimental. He is the sort of person that possibly only England
in the 20th-century could have produced. Instead of just saying that a happy
life involves being involved in several activities of which you are
passionate, he proves it by surveys and tests. This I find both amusing and
admirable, that Argyle did this, I mean.

Scottish Country Dancing shows up all the time as one of his passions, so it
is always funny to hear you say that he was "reckless" and other things
you've said over the years. My impression from what you say is that his
ability was not always a match for his enthusiasm. This only makes him more
admirable and lovable, in my view and quite a distance from the dance floor.

I relate at a meaningful level with his project of human possibilities, with
what we desire and what we cannot always achieve, any of us. It's marvellous
to think that someone would devote themselves to such a scheme.


Helen Greenwood replied:

That's because you never had to dodge him. He was terribly enthusiastic and
obviously loved it, but not that skilful. I've seen a number of his articles
on happiness, but we were always pleased that he chose Scottish country
dancing to be joyful about.