chapter  171
'Affable Hawk' Dissatisfaction with 'work in Progress' 1927
Pages 2

In the case of the above passage, however, we need not feel any sympathetic pain; for the writer, so far from being an aphasiac, is a man remarkable for a command of words. It is a passage from Mr. James Joyce's new work now in progress; and so far from standing out from the first thirty pages printed in the April number of Transition, published by the Shakespeare Co., it is characteristic of their texture. But though every deformation of word and sentence in this passage is intentional and deliberate, it should no more provoke laughter than the attempt of the unfortunate sick man to state that he took his dog out in the morning. It should disgust. The taste which inspired it is taste for

cretinism of speech, akin to finding exhilaration in the slobberings and mouthings of an idiot. It is always possible that a dash of the Thersites mood may contribute to a work of art, to which mood, so deep its envious loathing of all that is human, gibberish and worse may become sympathetic. But although only a fragment of the work in question is before us, it is clear that this element will be out of all proportion. How poor, too, the sense of fun, if fun it can be called, which sustains the author through the labour of composing page after page of distorted rubbish! No low-water-mark comedian of the halls, smirking and strutting before the indifferent audience, ever sank lower in search of fun than to pronounce 'little/ 'lime,' or exclaim 'O, I fay!' 'Ho, you, fie!' One of Mr. Joyce's muses, too, is that dreary lady Mrs. Malaprop. The eye, of course, cannot follow for more than a line or two this manufactured language. When will it strike Mr. Joyce that to write what it is a physical impossibility to read is possibly even sillier than to write what is mentally impossible to follow?