Joyce: Heroic, Comic

It is hard not to suspect that Joyce is now more revered than read. The dirty, slippery, uproarious, demented, and hysterically funny Joyce of the books is one thing. The artistic martyr of the life, the hero who gives up everything for art, is quite another. Joyce the writer spent his life subverting inherited narratives of every sort. Joyce the man, on the other hand, fits perfectly into a preexisting narrative, contained within a few words of Isaiah 53:3: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

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Joyce, A Martyr? December 6, 2012