Peruse is a Pretentious Word

On Christmas day I received a second copy of Dubliners from my daughter. I have a bookshelf, three small tiers in all, that she’s yet to fully peruse. In her honour—and there’s much to be honoured in the precocious groves of her soul—I set about rereading Joyce’s collection of short stories and just today on his 137th birthday I turned the last page of The Dead, set the book down on my bedside table, turned my head to the woolly sky of February blanketing the trees outside my window, goosebumps lifting the hair on my arms, and thought to myself: It’s the tension between our souls and the masks we wear, that James Augustine Aloysius Joyce made lasting work of.

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5 thoughts on “Peruse is a Pretentious Word

  1. Hi A.,

    Cheers to your daughter! Hope she is doing fine. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Joyce. If I could understand him that would be a good start. It’s not that I don’t understand some of it, but to really get Joyce you almost have to devote your life to him and his times. There is also the Irish Catholic guilt thing that drives me nuts. Being the atheist that I am, I have no patience for it. The Irish can be mean as hell. There is a strong strain of Murphy in my family history. The final outrage, of course, is Finnegans Wake. To this day I see a long pier buffeted by the wake of passing ships and boats when I think of that book. The whole thing put me over the edge. I got more our of LSD than Finnegans Wake and they were both attempting to do the same thing. I knew a somewhat present schizophrenic on my block in Tucson. His name was Lewis and he had written a book. As with many schizophrenics the print was very small and well ordered. I photocopied a few of the pages and he and I would read it together sometimes. I think I got way more out of Lewis’ book and hearing him read it, then I did out of my reading of Joyce, with the exception of The Dead. Everybody has an opinion about Joyce and there is mine. Having said that, I still really liked this post. It was heart felt and part of your life. Congratulations. Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 3 people

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