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 Post subject: Dylan and James Joyce
PostPosted: Wed March 4th, 2009, 20:30 GMT 

Joined: Wed February 18th, 2009, 00:16 GMT
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Now we've all read the new lyric:

"I'm listening to Billy Joe Shaver/And I'm reading James Joyce/Some people tell me I got the blood of the land in my voice"

Has Dylan made any other references to Joyce or his works before?

Here's what he wrote about Joyce's "Ulysses" in "Chronicles, Vol. 1":

http://books.google.com/books?id=uNOf_w ... e+arrogant

Here's a story about Dylan visiting the James Joyce museum:

http://tangledupinlheurebleue.blogspot. ... joyce.html

Also, I would like to know if any of you have read "Ulysses" or "Finnegan's Wake."

http://www.istrianet.org/istria/illustr ... _weiss.jpg


Last edited by Grandpa Scarecrow on Wed March 4th, 2009, 20:35 GMT, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed March 4th, 2009, 20:32 GMT 

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Grandpa Scarecrow wrote:
Now we've all read the new lyric:

"I'm listening to Billy Joe Shaver/And I'm reading James Joyce/Some people tell me I got the blood of the land in my voice"

Has Dylan made any other references to this other or his books before. Here's what he wrote about him in "Chronicles, Vol. 1":

http://books.google.com/books?id=uNOf_w ... e+arrogant

Here's a story about Dylan visiting the James Joyce museum:

http://tangledupinlheurebleue.blogspot. ... joyce.html

Also, I would like to know if any of you have read "Ulysses" or "Finnegan's Wake."

http://www.istrianet.org/istria/illustr ... _weiss.jpg


My friend threw his copy of Finnegan's Wake at the wall, it fell apart from the sheer force of the impact.


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PostPosted: Wed March 4th, 2009, 20:40 GMT 
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I love Finnegans Wake!
(note: the absence of an apostrophe in 'Finnegans' is as significant as the hyphen in 'Street-Legal')

Here is Joyce himself reading a passage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtOQi7xspRc


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PostPosted: Wed March 4th, 2009, 21:20 GMT 
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It took me a solid year-and-a-half to wade through Ulysses. I'm still not certain if this was worth it, but there really are some remarkable sections in the book ... running into these is a lot of work, though.


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PostPosted: Wed March 4th, 2009, 21:30 GMT 
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I had to read Ulysses in school and liked it more than many of the Victorian novels I trudged through the semester before. The first section (the part from Stephen Dedalus' pov) is pretty hard going, but once Leopold Bloom enters the scene I thought it was hilariously funny.


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PostPosted: Wed March 4th, 2009, 21:34 GMT 
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Grandpa Scarecrow wrote:
Some people tell me I got the blood of the land in my voice"


Just a tad on the self-aggrandizing side. Maybe Dylan's been listening to rap recently.

I'm driving down the street in a solid gold Rolls-Royce
Some people tell me I got the blood of the land in my voice
You know it's all good in my wife's home town
All the bitches go crazy when they hear my sound.


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PostPosted: Thu March 5th, 2009, 01:28 GMT 

Joined: Wed January 28th, 2009, 17:55 GMT
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I've read Ulysses really closely. Storywise, it's not that compelling. The real accomplishment is the labyrinth Joyce created. It is actually pretty interesting if you have the classical background to understand the allusions or you're an English geek like me and are familiar with the obscure rhetorical tropes he packs into it. You don't need any special background to understand his wordplay, just a silly, dirty imagination.

BTW, if you're going to read it, set aside two months--and read, or least Google, Homer's Odyssey first.

On the other hand, if you just want a familiarity with Joyce, you'd probably be better off with Dubliners or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man -- both of which are more conventional but essentially Joycean. The former is the best short story collection ever written, in my opinion. The latter focuses on Stephen Dedalus, an important character in Ulysses.

Actually, I could see a young Dylan identifying with the young Stephen Dedalus.

As for Finnegans Wake--I can't in good conscience recommend it. I tried and tried and eventually took my copy of it off the bookshelf because I didn't want to represent myself as someone who'd read it. It is impenetrable as far as I'm concerned.


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PostPosted: Thu March 5th, 2009, 02:01 GMT 
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Location: La Parole était Dieu début: mom le cheval [Mishter Lusk]
Ghousses! Si, but the Mr. James Joyce hath preceded an understanding for his readers and admirer-ears..

"The only demand I make of my reader, is that he devote his whole life to reading my works."

"I have the right words already, what I'm seeking is the perfect order of the words in the sentences I have."


Is the beginning sentence not applicable to Bob Dylan? For he trances many abysmally! E-speedo Santo!
And if you search for familiarity..
He, James, was the hedonist for his paramore's fetid knickers! If thou was not aware..

And before the denial of Ulysses by..maybe DOS governments, ask him what he had managed to produce within the droned lapses of the Great War!

MoocowsCowsmoo-JesuitCatholiciscm-
Henim...


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PostPosted: Thu March 5th, 2009, 02:48 GMT 
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feet_of_a_harlot wrote:
My friend threw his copy of Finnegan's Wake at the wall, it fell apart from the sheer force of the impact.


I quite agree with your friend's opinion of the written text, having never managed to get further than p.5. myself.

HOWEVER, listen to it being read by someone who really knows what he's doing and it's an entirely different experience: wild, crazy musicality; the voice of dreams, of certain kinds of madness.


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PostPosted: Thu March 5th, 2009, 03:19 GMT 
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Grandpa Scarecrow wrote:
Here's a story about Dylan visiting the James Joyce museum:

http://tangledupinlheurebleue.blogspot. ... joyce.html


It would have been much more interesting had Bob taken a ride around Dublin on Brian O'Nolan (aka Flann O'Brien)'s bicycle, particularly in view of the latter's often-expounded theory of mollecular interchange between man and bicycle.

The throaty rasp of the NET is clearly attributable to ill-advised mollecular interchange between Dylan and his motorcycle, a shocking state of affairs compounded by the gravelly potholed dirt tracks along which he habitually barrels and which give such a bumpy ride.


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PostPosted: Sat June 16th, 2018, 10:37 GMT 
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Happy Bloomsday!

I love what Bob Dylan said of James Joyce. That he sounds like the most arrogant man who ever lived. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

(Yes Bob, you must have met plenty of arrogant Dubliners. They can be the MOST arrogant. It's second city syndrome. Happens in Cork and Manchester too. :lol: But I don't think that's what Bob meant.)


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PostPosted: Sat June 16th, 2018, 10:56 GMT 
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I love the story of the overwrought American admirer of Joyce who knelt in front of him and said, "May I kiss the hand that wrote Uylsses." Joyce responded along the lines of, "Well, it's done a lot of other stuff too." Maybe that's what prompted Bob's line in Things Have Changed - I like to think so, the song was featured on the soundtrack of a film about a writer afterall.


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PostPosted: Sat June 16th, 2018, 14:25 GMT 

Joined: Sat March 12th, 2016, 20:42 GMT
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I read Ulysses last year when I had some time on my hands - difficult going, but what Eddie says about Finnegan's Wake holds the same for Ulysses. I used an audiobook sample from the internet archive to read along for the first 30-50 pages or so, to get a sense for the rhythm of the language, then from there it was a little easier. Haven't mustered the courage to go into Finnegan's Wake though, that's a whole other beast and Ulysses was enough Joyce to last a few years for me.
It makes some sense that Dylan is into Joyce at least a little, or even just was at some point - I can see a kind of similarity in the use of language particularly in some of the 60's songs, a kind of whirling, building thing if that makes sense. Also some idiosyncratic/modernist uses of words, like nouns in place of adjectives & whatnot.
If I remember correctly, Stephen Dedalus is the central figure of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and returns in Ulysses; I could see Dylan reading Portrait during his early days. It's also a great introduction to Joyce.


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PostPosted: Sat June 16th, 2018, 16:01 GMT 

Joined: Sat January 6th, 2018, 19:04 GMT
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You’ve convinced me to read James Joyce again. Had to do Portrait of the Artist and Dubliners in sixth year, I was 17 and what I saw as a sneering lack of empathy, odious arrogance and tedious intellectual posturing made me utterly detest the writer himself, something I can’t say I have ever experienced with any other artist based on their works.

I might well feel the same way this time but I am going to try going into Ulysses with a lighthearted frame of mind, try to separate art from the artist and not give a flying x about every reference and footnote. It’s been gathering dust on my shelf for 12 years, if I can’t stick Joyce this time stately plump Buck Mulligan will be buggering off to Oxfam. :lol:

charlesdarwin wrote:
I love the story of the overwrought American admirer of Joyce who knelt in front of him and said, "May I kiss the hand that wrote Uylsses." Joyce responded along the lines of, "Well, it's done a lot of other stuff too." Maybe that's what prompted Bob's line in Things Have Changed - I like to think so, the song was featured on the soundtrack of a film about a writer afterall.


Hah, great anecdote.

On a slight off-note, in that 1986 BBC interview Dylan replies “things have changed” to the interviewer, with a long pause. I smiled knowing another thirteen years and he’ll use exactly the same phrase in one of his career defining songs. Funny how these phrases we utter that seem so inconsequential in everyday use may later strike inspiration.


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PostPosted: Sat June 16th, 2018, 17:04 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 6th, 2015, 15:03 GMT
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GirlsWon'tLeaveMeAlone wrote:
It's second city syndrome. Happens in Cork and Manchester too.


Manchester? MANCHESTER??

England's second city is BIRMINGHAM, and don't you forget it.

Bloody Mancs.


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PostPosted: Sat June 16th, 2018, 19:36 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 5th, 2007, 23:38 GMT
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Location: Ireland
foxy wrote:
You’ve convinced me to read James Joyce again. Had to do Portrait of the Artist and Dubliners in sixth year, I was 17 and what I saw as a sneering lack of empathy, odious arrogance and tedious intellectual posturing made me utterly detest the writer himself, something I can’t say I have ever experienced with any other artist based on their works.

I might well feel the same way this time but I am going to try going into Ulysses with a lighthearted frame of mind, try to separate art from the artist and not give a flying x about every reference and footnote. It’s been gathering dust on my shelf for 12 years, if I can’t stick Joyce this time stately plump Buck Mulligan will be buggering off to Oxfam. :lol:

charlesdarwin wrote:
I love the story of the overwrought American admirer of Joyce who knelt in front of him and said, "May I kiss the hand that wrote Uylsses." Joyce responded along the lines of, "Well, it's done a lot of other stuff too." Maybe that's what prompted Bob's line in Things Have Changed - I like to think so, the song was featured on the soundtrack of a film about a writer afterall.


Hah, great anecdote.

On a slight off-note, in that 1986 BBC interview Dylan replies “things have changed” to the interviewer, with a long pause. I smiled knowing another thirteen years and he’ll use exactly the same phrase in one of his career defining songs. Funny how these phrases we utter that seem so inconsequential in everyday use may later strike inspiration.


The advice of this Irishman is to read Dante and Dostoevsky, at least, before using up any of your precious life reading Joyce. If you've already read these, then you're in a better position.


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PostPosted: Sat June 16th, 2018, 20:08 GMT 

Joined: Mon January 9th, 2006, 09:01 GMT
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I read Ulysses alongside a book by Anthony Burgess on Joyce. I wouldn't have finished it without the guide. If anyone plans to read Ulysses I would suggest a guide - and I think that says a lot about how good it i as a book.

There are glorious sections, but also parts that are monumentally dull. Ulysses is probably the famous novel I've enjoyed least. I never made any attempt at Finnegans Wake as that seems even more pretentious to me.


And Manchester is obviously England's 2nd city now...


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PostPosted: Sat June 16th, 2018, 23:17 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 5th, 2007, 23:38 GMT
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RichardW wrote:
I read Ulysses alongside a book by Anthony Burgess on Joyce. I wouldn't have finished it without the guide. If anyone plans to read Ulysses I would suggest a guide - and I think that says a lot about how good it i as a book.

There are glorious sections, but also parts that are monumentally dull. Ulysses is probably the famous novel I've enjoyed least. I never made any attempt at Finnegans Wake as that seems even more pretentious to me.


And Manchester is obviously England's 2nd city now...


As you say, having to use a guide for a modern Western novel is not commendable. Writing is supposed to be about communication. Failure to communicate due to incoherent ideas and the abandonment of the time-honoured conventions of punctuation and syntax defeat the proper purpose of novel-writing.

I could be talking about 'Tarantula', couldn't I?

I'll keep out of the latter-day War of the Roses.


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PostPosted: Sun June 17th, 2018, 01:07 GMT 
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RichardW wrote:
And Manchester is obviously England's 2nd city now...



I hereby apologise to everybody from Expecting Rain from either Birmingham or Manchester who feels that I insulted them by my careless use of the phrase 'Second city'. PLEASE forgive me. :oops:

I have tried four times to read Ulysses by James Joyce. My deepest dive into Ulysses was to 150 pages. I enjoyed much of that but them I lost interest. My favorite film adaptation is this.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_(1967_film)

But I also like this even though the critics savaged it;

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom_(film)

I can see a direct line from Leopold Bloom's toilet seat stream of conscience ramblings to Larry David's various Los Angeles public toilet trials and tribulations. :D


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PostPosted: Sun June 17th, 2018, 14:53 GMT 

Joined: Mon January 9th, 2006, 09:01 GMT
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Mickvet wrote:
As you say, having to use a guide for a modern Western novel is not commendable. Writing is supposed to be about communication. Failure to communicate due to incoherent ideas and the abandonment of the time-honoured conventions of punctuation and syntax defeat the proper purpose of novel-writing.

I could be talking about 'Tarantula', couldn't I?

I'll keep out of the latter-day War of the Roses.

Ulysses is clearly a hugely inspirational novel for novelists since Joyce, and that makes it important. In some ways the inspiration is good - freeing up the use of language - in other ways bad - it makes writing the subject of the novel. If you compare great novels from before Ulysses with after, there is a huge shift. I can't easily think of many great 19th century novels where the main character is a writer. In some cases - Dostoyevsky springs to mind - if there is a writer that character is likely to be mocked.

Since Ulysses many writers write about writers and writing. I'm not saying Ulysses is uniquely to blame, but it is so knowing about technique, and focuses on showing off how clever Joyce is, and it is so influential. It makes novel writing more important than the world - and I don't think that is necessarily a good thing.


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PostPosted: Sun June 17th, 2018, 16:16 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 5th, 2007, 23:38 GMT
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RichardW wrote:
Mickvet wrote:
As you say, having to use a guide for a modern Western novel is not commendable. Writing is supposed to be about communication. Failure to communicate due to incoherent ideas and the abandonment of the time-honoured conventions of punctuation and syntax defeat the proper purpose of novel-writing.

I could be talking about 'Tarantula', couldn't I?

I'll keep out of the latter-day War of the Roses.

Ulysses is clearly a hugely inspirational novel for novelists since Joyce, and that makes it important. In some ways the inspiration is good - freeing up the use of language - in other ways bad - it makes writing the subject of the novel. If you compare great novels from before Ulysses with after, there is a huge shift. I can't easily think of many great 19th century novels where the main character is a writer. In some cases - Dostoyevsky springs to mind - if there is a writer that character is likely to be mocked.

Since Ulysses many writers write about writers and writing. I'm not saying Ulysses is uniquely to blame, but it is so knowing about technique, and focuses on showing off how clever Joyce is, and it is so influential. It makes novel writing more important than the world - and I don't think that is necessarily a good thing.


For myself, a good novel is an objective telling of a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end (in both senses) and preferably with characters well enough drawn that one can believe in them. Nowadays, this kind of novel is rare in that section of the genre considered by 'those in the know' as of artistic merit. As far as I'm concerned, they don't know and are mistakenly giving precedence to technique over meaning and even entertainment value.


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PostPosted: Mon June 18th, 2018, 21:19 GMT 

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[quote="foxy"]You’ve convinced me to read James Joyce again. Had to do Portrait of the Artist and Dubliners in sixth year, I was 17 and what I saw as a sneering lack of empathy, odious arrogance and tedious intellectual posturing made me utterly detest the writer himself, something I can’t say I have ever experienced with any other artist based on their works.

I might well feel the same way this time but I am going to try going into Ulysses with a lighthearted frame of mind, try to separate art from the artist and not give a flying x about every reference and footnote. It’s been gathering dust on my shelf for 12 years, if I can’t stick Joyce this time stately plump Buck Mulligan will be buggering off to Oxfam. :lol:

If you like, here's the audiobook I used to get a feel for Ulysses: https://archive.org/details/Ulysses-Audiobook
There are different narrators throughout, and the dialogue is spoken by different actors. This aspect of this particular
recording helped me get a sense for when Joyce is and isn't writing dialogue, which I found hard to discern initially.
A guide would probably help identify the myriad of references in the book (I think I remember reading that Joyce described it as an 'encyclopedia'), but I feel like that's more of a method of studying the book rather than just reading it. All I went in with was a basic knowledge of The Odyssey and that was enough the first time around; if I ever read it again then I'll probably use a guide, as suggested above.


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PostPosted: Mon June 18th, 2018, 21:39 GMT 

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Also, while on the topic, there are many ways to read a novel. One can read it in an academic sense (in many different fields/concentrations) or one can read it for plot, character development, or enjoyment among other things. Some novels lend themselves more easily to one or the other. Passing time and changing conventions have made some books more difficult to read just because the culture and language have shifted, so those books become more of a place-marker in the history and progression of literature, and they end up being more 'academic' reads. Modernism gave way to postmodernism, so on and so forth - there are eras where some writers felt limited by convention, so they stretched or broke it because they felt like that was how they could get their ideas across. It's still happening today, with flash fiction, new veins of prose poetry, hybrid genres. Trends in academia and popular culture sometimes overlap and sometimes don't - the canon shifts, and at the end of the day, what you read all comes down to what you're interested in.
Just my take on it.


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PostPosted: Thu June 21st, 2018, 22:09 GMT 

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I saw this pic a while ago and the cript stated that bob was riding joyces bicicle. It looked to me that he was riding it on the streets somewhere. Dunno’ did bob buy Joyce’s bike? Never seen bob ride a bicicle in a pic before but by memory he dident look as comfortable as he normally does when he is riding a motorcycle. I tried googling the pic but no luck on Finding it so could post it.


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PostPosted: Fri June 22nd, 2018, 18:39 GMT 
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I have often thought that Ulysses was in some part inspired and influenced by Dylan.


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