Monday, May 16, 2005

A letter to the TLS about an obscure and experimental novel

From this week's TLS letters page.

Sir, – Apropos Justin Beplate’s essay on James Joyce (April 29): looking for a book to keep me busy over a weekend in my first year at the University of Cape Town in 1958, I found a fat green book among the novels of the Jagger Library, by someone I hadn’t then heard of. I read it through, not quite in one sitting, but in twenty-four hours. On Monday, I sought out Professor Guy Howarth to tell him I had found this marvellous novel, Ulysses, by an Irish writer called Joyce. Did he know it? Howarth was as always very kind: yes, he had heard of it – and he was glad I had enjoyed it. Thank goodness no one had told me it was difficult; and ever since then I have tried to persuade pupils to read Ulysses just like that, as fast as they can, sliding over anything they can’t at first understand, without worrying about any critical expositions; my hope is that some of them will have reacted as I did all those years ago: with delighted hilarity.

Apple Yard Cottage, Mill Lane, Northiam, East Sussex.


  1. Terrific! Thank you!

  2. This is almost prophetic! I've been planning to read Ulysses for long and just now ordered a copy from




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