chapter  117
2 Pages

Unsigned Review of the English Edition,times Literary Supplement 23 January 1937

Mr. Joyce's major work is at any rate obscure enough to have invited several interpretations, and its structure is sufficiently unlike that of the ordinary novel to have suggested hidden messages and meanings. It has, for example, been supposed to have a pattern analogous to that of the Odyssey, to give an accurate and realistic account of the 'stream of consciousness' in the human mind, and by a new technique of writing to have expressed the nature of the characters' thoughts without the usual distortion of common sense and literary forms. But such explanations commonly arise when a new artistic method is invented; when the post-impressionists first startled the world with their pictures it was commonly believed that in some mysterious fashion they described essential as opposed to accidental properties of natural appearances. Later the artistic purpose of the new method emerges, and there is no longer any need to justify it either by supposing that it conceals as in a cryptogram an intelligible plan like that of previous and familiar works, or as a mode of scientific investigation.