Rotten Reviews: Ulysses by James Joyce

“I finished Ulysses and think it is a misfire…. The book is diffuse. It is brackish. It is pretentious. It is underbred, not only in the obvious but in the literary sense. A first rate writer, I mean, respects writing too much to be tricky.”

Virginia Woolf, in her diary

“That the book possesses literary importance, except as a tour de force, is hard to believe. If we are to have the literature of mere consciousness there are numerous examples from the later Henry James to Virginia Woolf which import to consciousness a higher intrinsic value and achieve the forms of art.”

Springfield Republican reviewing the American edition 1934

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

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