Autumn 1939 • Vol. I No. 4 Editor's NotesOctober 1, 1939 |

The Aesthetic of Finnegans Wake

Critics who have found nothing to say for this book, and critics who have found nothing to say against it, are both uncritical. The first understand only that Joyce disdains the positive achievements of the race, and these they are prepared to defend for the sake of innumerable biological, political, moral, and material advantages; they are pensioners, not critics, of our opulent society. The others are persons of incorruptible innocence, unless they are actually in the green time of youth itself, and they believe that Joyce is really a writer with a positive attitude, and "different” only in being too difficult for ordinary readers to grasp. A few years ago I read a poem of Mr. Archibald MacLeish’s which represented Einstein in the act of discovering relativity. It seemed that the act as Einstein himself reported it was intolerably abstract, though its effect might be of universal moment, and that the poet must redeem it by a representation which would put back into it the d

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