You may already know that 2022 is the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses, which I first read about 50 years ago, while a senior at university. The professor organized the class so that we read a “chapter” of Ulysses, paired with another American or British novel from the 1920s — novels by Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, etc.
Since I (along with a few other bloggers I know of) plan to reread Ulysses this year, I thought I’d repeat my professor’s approach. Very conveniently, my bookshelves (both virtual and analog) hold these other books celebrating their centennial:
Willa Cather, One of Ours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Hugh Lofting, The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle, which won the second Newbery Prize for children’s literature.
Also, E. F. Benson, Miss Mapp. Elizabeth Von Arnim, The Enchanted April. Rafael Sabatini, Captain Blood. P. G. Wodehouse, The Girl on the Boat. Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit. E. R. Eddison, The Worm Ouroboros. Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party.
Beyond the world of fiction, I have T. S. Eliot’s poem, “The Waste Land”, and E. E. Cummings’ autobiographical novel, The Enormous Room (one of the books that my college English professor paired with Ulysses so long ago).
Finally, in a category all on its own, is the English translation of Wittgenstein’s challenging Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which begins with the proposition, “The world is all that is the case.”* (The original, in German, was published in 1921.) That sentence still stumps me, but I’m hoping the internet will help me parse Wittgenstein’s dense prose.
If I give myself a year to read Joyce, with one other book from above for each month, I’ll have a baker’s dozen — a reasonable goal. I don’t promise to blog regularly about this project — just random posts as the mood strikes. And as this project has only just occurred to me, I’m already a month behind. Time to get going.
If you care to join me in celebrating this year of ULYSSES+, you can find a more extensive list of 1922 publications here. Let me know what you’ll be reading.
*Translation by D. F. Pears & B. F. McGuinness.