Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wearing the Ulysses Dunce Cap

I can't read it anymore!
I don't understand it and I don't like it.
I thought that I could slog through it, but I can't.
So of course I thought that I'd just fake it and do these posts about how difficult it is, but I am suffering from a severe case of blog integrity. I'm sorry. If you're reading Ulysses and blogging about it, please let me know and I'll visit and eat crow there.

Next on my reading list: Pat the Bunny.



Blogger Madge said...

i heart pat the bunny.

i couldn't even turn the first page of ulysses without having a seizure....

April 25, 2009 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

I'm with YOU. I'm sticking with usual excuse, though, "It was too slow. I couldn't get into it." Never, EVER admit that you don't understand it. :) I admire you for picking it up and even trying, though, to tell the truth.

In fact, I might give it another lash.... Ulysses might be just the antidote after reading all four of the Twilight books in a row. Spoon-fed books do have their place, but my brain could definitely use a jog after that extended period of atrophication (I may have just made up that word).

April 25, 2009 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger blognut said...

LOL! I SO didn't do it either!

However, I did find myself dusting woodwork in my house in order to avoid it, so I'd say this has been a good exercise, right?

Can I return to my Captain Underpants book series without shame?

April 25, 2009 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Comedy Goddess said...

I don't blame you! I was going to pretend that I was reading if for real because I found this helpful link:

Try it out! It's how I got through skooool.

April 25, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger K.Line said...

Oh honey, I almost lost it in university on that book. No way I would have signed up for your crazy - if honourable - undertaking. You know how, when you try on a piece of clothing and it looks horrible, you don't blame yourself - it's the fucking bad design and crap workmanship. Well why would you blame yourself for his obtuse writing?? It's the analog of the size 2 sample.

April 25, 2009 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger ♥ Braja said...

Damn, I love you Marinka. I told you days ago I was over it, didn't I?

That book is a load of bullshit and anyone who says otherwise is a pompous ass.

So there.

April 25, 2009 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger ♥ Braja said...

ps: any pompous asses who visit here and read that comment and get upset (cos you're pompous AND an ass), come and see me. Yeah. C'mon...i'll have ya....

Shit. Where's the RASPBERRIES icon??

April 25, 2009 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger ♥ Braja said...

Oh, and incidentally? Boy am I relieved that it's not just my recent traumatic car accident head injury that caused me to toss that book in 3 seconds flat...I mean, that means somethin'...y'know?

April 25, 2009 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger ♥ Braja said...

ps: Blognut, send me Captain Underpants.

As long as it's not Captain Dumbass doin' some kinda internet soft porn.


April 25, 2009 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger lizspin said...

What can I say?? I got to page 55 damnit!

I may pick it up one more time over the weekend. . . if Braja doesn't call me a pompous ass. . .

April 25, 2009 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

Wow... I kept that invitation email starred for days, saying I was going to go back and comment to join up.
Then I wondered wtf I was thinking? Maybe it makes me shallow, but I seriously don't get much out of the must read classics. Maybe that's cause I don't read them. They bore me, they frustrate me.
I like to read, so I choose to read things that make me happy, instead of suicidal.
Smart move giving it up. It would have made you miserable.

April 25, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger blognut said...

Braja - it's way more ridiculos than Capt Dumbass doing soft porn. I'll send it to you. It'll sharpen your mind, for sure.

April 25, 2009 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Ann's Rants said...


Thank fucking god.

Passionate love,

April 25, 2009 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger mo.stoneskin said...

I knew you wouldn't be able to do it.


Nah, well done for at least trying. I just couldn't be bothered so I'll give you a couple of points for effort.

[and we all know how valuable my points are]

April 25, 2009 at 12:52 PM  
Anonymous peajaye said...

i think a good antidote for this book is anything by edith wharton. to my mind, joyce clearly "borrows" all her themes - from authoritarian oppression to death as a game-changer. only she's not so self-indulgent.

i mean, just look at how the sickness and death of ethan frome's parents crush any hope of a better life for him. this also brought the manipulative zeena into his life, who appeared loving and caring at first, only to later turn into a soul-crushing bitch. (yet zeena is never belittled for being a woman; it is her character that draws wharton's disfavor.)

compare that to how little whiny stevey dedalus still mopes over his mother asking him to pray for her on her deathbed. how did that change his life? oh, it made him sad. big fuckin' deal. get over it.

right now i happen to be rereading 'ethan frome' and there's even a similar shaving episode; which i'm certain has all the implications of exposure, showing your face to the world, the useless but necessary habit that will only need to be done again and again, which underlines the ongoing dialogue, etc... but i think edith does it better and got there first.

but what really annoys me about ulysses is its misogyny. on the one hand, joyce presents the idiotic nationalists as misogynists, yet he is quick to make tit jokes about the milk maid and disparage her because her tits are old and shrivelled. and the other women all are deceitful or stupid in some shallow way. fuck you, joyce.

and i know joyce got everyone to buy that this is based on 'the odyssey' but i think it's more like alice's adventures in wonderland and through the looking glass - filled with inside, current humor, and stream of consciousness writing, and a mixture of verse and story and thought, etc., that predates the modernists. of course, because there is a no underlying hatred of women in 'alice', it is not as highly regarded.

and virginia was deconstructing language long before joyce ever even got near that party.

so while it's good to read this monster in order to be able to bitch-fight with those to whom it clearly means something, i think the way to do it is to download it from the guttenburg project and read bits at a time, like you would some kook's blog.

and btw, good for those who love it. i'm just saying there's more to it than 'oh, you just don't get it.' yeah, i get it. i just don't like it.

April 25, 2009 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger The Devil's Daughter-In-Law said...

At least you tried! Hell, I couldn't even get through peajaye's comment!

April 25, 2009 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I'm soooo glad I was too lazy to try it.

Laziness usually pays off.


April 25, 2009 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger SweetPeaSurry said...

Honey, I read Ulysses in college and even witht he professors prompting couldn't fathom what the hell it was all about. No crow needed, read the Illiad instead, much more interesting and much tastier than crow!

April 25, 2009 at 8:20 PM  
Anonymous cog said...

If you want to read some Joyce, for, you know, lit-cred, try this one:

It's, I think, pretty much his best.

The movie version is very good as well, but extra points for reading it before seeing the movie.

oh, and "Goodnight, Moon" is a good challenge. Who is that old lady whispering hush?

April 25, 2009 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

Well, I was TOTALLY planning to buy it and read it. But then I had to grade papers. And I remembered what happened the last time I read Joyce (it wasn't pretty). And I got lazy. So I have to thank you for taking the pressure off because I was thinking that I would have to be mortified to admit that I didn't do ANY of the assignment. At least now I'm in good company.

April 25, 2009 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...


But I liked the idea. Maybe we could pick a book equally large, but with a female author who uses quotation marks and does not write in streams of urine. I mean consciousness.

April 25, 2009 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

Pat the Bunny. Now that's a book I've actually read.

April 25, 2009 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger Daffodil Campbell said...

Thank God. Life is too short to spend what seemed like an eternity trying to read that book. Braja can totally back me up on that statement.

Let's start a reading series of children's books - after "Pat the Bunny" can we read "What's Wrong Little Pookie?" by Boynton? Because it's my current favorite. Then we can work our way through the Captain Underpants series....Baby Steps.

April 25, 2009 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger musingwoman said...

I've avoided Ulysses for decades. I applaud you for even attempting to read it!

April 25, 2009 at 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

Marinka, you are human!
I am so relieved!

Just as I was moving from my "British Journalist pretending to be funny Jewish American" theory to a new "Advanced Experiment in Artificial Intelligence pretending to be funny human" theory (We robots have learned humor! Now we can take over the world!)...

I am finally willing to admit you could be ... you :-)

April 26, 2009 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Suzannah said...

Thank fucking God! :)

April 26, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Ummm, can I tell you how THANKFUL I am right this moment???

April 26, 2009 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I didn't even enjoy the Sparknotes version. Of Ulysses. Not Pat the Bunny.

April 27, 2009 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger TeacherMommy said...

I wondered how long you would last. I was ASSIGNED the stupid thing for a college course. I made it through two chapters, and I LOVE books. Whoever says it's the best book ever written is either on crack or VERY pretentious. Or both.

I ended up dropping the class. That's how bad it was.

April 27, 2009 at 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I got through half of the first page.

It was exhausting.

April 27, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

oh thank you thank you!! I thought I was totally retarded when I couldn't understand a fuck of what was going on!!!!

April 27, 2009 at 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't even bring myself to TRY and read Ulysses.

Pat the Bunny is where it's at. I'm also a fan of Seuss.

So nice to meet you the other day!

April 28, 2009 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger CSY said...

Thank GAWD I didn't sign up to read this! I would've TOTALLY read the whole damn thing, wether I understood it or not.

April 29, 2009 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger melanie said...

i am so relieved. my husband just showed me the post-it note i had written to myself ("read ulysses") and asked, "am i supposed to read ulysses too?" and i told him i hadn't even gotten it from the library yet and now i was light-years behind and how would i ever catch up?

don't you think it has to be like the emperor's new clothes? people say it is so wonderful so they don't have to admit they don't understand it? how can it be a "classic" if no one gets it?

May 4, 2009 at 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Hannah said...

NONO don't GIVE UP!!!

you can't really read ulysses. you have to kind of... consume it. slowly. with notes (oxford edition has fantastic notes in the back). you should also youtube an irish dublin accent, just to get the right kind of sardonic delivery/tragedy. then it becomes the funniest, most moving book you have ever consumed. ever. finally, after consuming it about three times, you can then read it. or even better, cite it. but most of all, enjoy it.

June 29, 2009 at 7:29 AM  

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