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Joyce's Voices

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  81 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
When a "correspondent from Missouri," wrote to Hugh Kenner and asked that he elaborate on his assertion that "Joyce began Ulysses in naturalism and ended it in parody," Kenner answered with this book. Joyce's Voices is both a helpful guide through Joyce's complexities, and a brief treatise on the concept of objectivity: the idea that the world can be perceived as a series ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published October 26th 1979 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 1978)
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Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-crit, joycenalia
Taking this one pretty slowly, since it'll be the cornerstone of my thesis on Joyce. It's pretty excellent- not the least so because it's built around the idea of language and narrative.

The idea is what Kenner calls "The Uncle Charles Principle"- which subverts the traditional novelistic trick of telling the reader "only the things an observer would have experienced, and told them in the order in which he would have experienced them." It sounds kind of strange, but once you get the hang of it y
J. Alfred
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
If you have ever read Joyce's Ulysses, or even looked at a few sample pages in succession, you've asked something along the lines of "why on earth does this guy write the way he does?" Well, here's Kenner's response to that insistent question. He goes section by section through the novel, with useful stops along the way to look at Joyce's other works, showing how the sections sort of grow out of one another. By the time he's finished, you're convinced that there's something impressive and psycho ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Short, but crackling with insight on every page. I particularly appreciate that Kenner performs the rare (and seemingly almost critically impossible) feat of tackling the Homeric apparatus without falling into the twin traps of either discounting it entirely or merely offering a stultifying concordance of allusions and parallels. The argument here is wide-ranging, but with moments of incisive and inventive close reading. Kenner's prose is really at its best here, too; his style has a kind of fla ...more
Alix Sandomir
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent book for anyone studying Joyce or just looking for a bit of help understanding Ulysses. The chapter on the Uncle Charles principle is indispensable. Kenner also has an enjoyable style of writing that doesn't make you want to doze off like some of his more turgid contemporaries.
david blumenshine
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
kenner sets out to answer a singular question and achieves his feat. notice that one sentence of kenner's can turn into a pure onslaught of inquiry. that speaks to his wherewithal as commentator; he should be praise more highly than he is.
David Markwell
Kenner examines the narrative structures Joyce uses in his Ulysses. A quick read and a nice bit of Joyce scholarship. While this book did not blow me away or change the way I thought about Ulysses it certainly helped illuminate certain aspects of the text.
Hater Shepard
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
come on, it's so short and smart as a whip
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Joyce readers
Recommended to Gravitas by: No one
A very insightful book that will surely help anyone who is reading or wanted to read James Joyce's work. The book clearly explains the way how Joyce and authors like Joyce write their fictional work.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english-m-a
Very helpful insights into Joyce. I especially like the chapter on the Uncle Charles Principle.
Ben Doeh
Clear and spectacularly insightful criticism. Kenner's common sense enables the reader to understand Joyce's innovation and renovation of narrative techniques.
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