chapter  108
4 Pages

Edmund Wilson, Review, New Republic1922

And as a result of this enormous scale and this microscopic fidelity the chief characters in Ulysses take on heroic proportions. Each one is a room, a house, a city in which the reader can move around. The inside of each one of them is a novel in itself. You stand within a world infinitely populated with the swarming life of experience. . . . I cannot agree with Mr. Arnold Bennett that James Joyce 'has a colossal "down" on humanity.' I feel that Mr. Bennett has really been shocked because Mr. Joyce has told the whole truth. Fundamentally Ulysses is not at all like Bouvard et Pecuchet (as some people have tried to pretend) [The reference here is to Pound]. Flaubert says in effect that he will prove to you that humanity is mean by enumerating all the ignobilities of which it has ever been capable. But Joyce, including all the ignobilities, makes his bourgeois figures command our sympathy and respect by letting us see in them the throes of the human mind straining always to perpetuate and perfect itself and of the body always laboring and throbbing to throw up some beauty from its darkness.