2 Mar 2014

Woolf on Joyce paha

"I finished Ulysses, & think it a mis-fire. Genius it has I think; but
of the inferior water. The book is diffuse. It is brackish. It is pretentious.
It is underbred, not only in the obvious sense, but in the
literary sense. A first rate writer, I mean, respects writing too much
to be tricky; startling; doing stunts. I’m reminded all the time of
some callow board school boy . . . full of wits & powers, but so
self- conscious & egotistical that he loses his head, becomes extravagant,
mannered, uproarious, ill at ease, makes kindly people feel
sorry for him, & stern ones merely annoyed; & one hopes he’ll
grow out of it; but as Joyce is 40 this scarcely seems likely."