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Showing posts from February 15, 2015

Edwin Muir on James Joyce

I agree with you about every work of art being too long, even those of Stendahl, which I adore. Lawrence’s are certainly all too long, except perhaps some of his short stories … Ulysses is certainly far too long, I think, even admitting that its bulk in itself has a sort of aesthetic value. Joyce, it seems to me – my opinion of him is always changing – is au fond a very meretricious artist, a getter of effects, and quite incapable of attaining the simplicity which is the condition of the most real and great art. (I don’t mean simplicity of mind, but of spirit, singleness, rareness.) I think I have made quite a valuable discovery regarding him – that he is primarily an artist in words, that he is more interested in language than in his subject matter, and that his interest in the one gets between us and the other – a very fundamental sin against art, it seems to me. I hope by the time I come to write at length about him I shall cease to be astonished by him, for at the other side o