erik lundegaard

Greatest Use of the Parenthetical ... Ever?

Louis Menand, who's too smart for this country, has, in the latest issue of The New Yorker, a good piece on a new James Joyce biography. As New Yorker writers are wont to do, he spends more column inches delivering his own mini-bio of the artist as young, middle-aged and old man than in actually reviewing the book. But it's a great read. It also includes my favorite recent example of the parenthetical.

Menand writes about Joyce's love of puns. He writes about the near autobiographical nature of his work. He writes about how some of his characters have the same names as the people they were based upon, and that's why Joyce never returned to Ireland, because he was afraid of libel suits. He writes about Joyce's favorite writer, Dante, “another exile, who created a verbal universe that he populated with old Florentine comrades and enemies, each caricatured with exquisite precision for all time, and who placed at the center of his imaginary cosmos a woman he had fallen in love with after seeing her on the street, Beatrice Portinari.”

Then he goes into Joyce's Beatrice, Nora Barnacle, a Galway girl, who, in 1904, was working as a chambermaid in Dublin when Joyce saw her on the street and asked her out. She didn't show for the first date. She did for the second. Menand writes:

They walked to Ringsend, on the south bank of the Liffey, where (and here we can drop the Dante analogy) she put her hand inside his trousers and masturbated him. It was June 16, 1904, the day on which Joyce set “Ulysses.” When people celebrate Bloomsday, that is what they are celebrating.

I read that last night. Laughed out loud. The entire piece can be found here: “Silence, Exile, Punning: James Joyce's chance encounters.”

In the meantime, other great examples of the parenthetical? Bueller?

Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce's "Ulysses"

...and yes I said yes I will Yes.


Posted at 12:23 PM on Fri. Jun 29, 2012 in category Quote of the Day  
Tags: , ,

COMMENTS

Erik wrote:

My friend Mike Smith mentioned this one from Nabokov:

“My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three...”

He's got a point. Others?

Comment posted on Sat. Jun 30, 2012 at 08:05 AM

You may bypass the ID fields and security question below if you log in before commenting.


 
 





Receive notification of further comments via e-mail

« Two Reasons Conservatives Should Be Proud SCOTUS Upheld Obamacare   |   Home   |   What Seattle Means to Me »
 RSS    Facebook

Twitter: @ErikLundegaard

ARCHIVES

All previous entries

LINKS
Movies
Jeffrey Wells
The Film Experience
Roger Ebert
Baseball
Rob Neyer
Joe Posnanski
Cardboard Gods
Politics
Andrew Sullivan
Alex Pareene
Hendrik Hertzberg
Friends
Cloud Five Comics
Copy Curmudgeon
Deb Ellis
Andrew Engelson
Jerry Grillo
Tim Harrison
Eric Hanson
Ben Stocking
Jim Walsh
dative-querulous