*”Our age is essentially a tragic one, so naturally, we refuse to take it as one” – D.H. Lawrence
I’m reading Ulysses right now, as I have been for the past three years or so. I’ll only pull it out on cloudy days in the fall. It was rated the #1 novel of the 20th century, yet the “keltic bookstore” in my town, which houses the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” and is only a quick jaunt from “Chicago,” which is mentioned in the book, has an owner who has never even heard of James Joyce. Very depressing stuff. Sort of like the atomic bomb being invented and the polar ice caps melting.
Ulysses is dubbed a “novel.” Even at first view it’s very stream-of-consciousness and lacking of a clear plot, but not until I saw the line about the inaccessibility of God juxtaposed with the next sentence’s mention of the unavoidability of the malevolent God did I truly take exception to its being called a “novel.” My first thought was, this is a clear placement of two conflicting semantics right next to each other, it’s anything but a linear narrative… it didn’t even make mention of its own contradictory aspect, the way Holden Caulfield is surely wont to do. But obviously, these contradictions are part of life, just like winter and summer, male and female, day and night.
It’s been said before that “everything’s been done.” Maybe every novel’s been done. Our age is an age of gibberish, no naturally, we fail to have heard of the man in our professional field and of our own ethnicity who penned the best heaping mound of gibberish of our own time.
I’m on a college campus now. One thing they talk a lot about is sex. It’s extremely hard to get away from discussions of sex. I was walking around, a man banned from teaching for drinking and smoking pot in the year 2006, in the country that kills innocent men for oil, wondering, what ideas to proffer? What discourses to discuss? But on the college campus, the most truthful entity seemed to be the playground adjacent to the parenting center, where little kids can run around, hitting each other, jumping on each other, and uttering, you guessed it, nonsensical gibberish.