Of course, even really great books like this one are met with controversy
at the time of publication. James Joyce
's style of writing caught much of
the public off-guard
, and it was simultaneously praise
d and scorn
No book is liked by everyone
all of the time.
Here is a selection of comments from not-so-favorable reviews.
culled from The Egoist, June 1917, p. 74
- Literary World: "It is very difficult to know what to say about this new book by Mr. Joyce"
- Everyman: "Mr. Joyce is a clever novelist, but we feel that he would be really at his best in a treatise on drains."
- Irish Book Lover: "This pseudo-autobiography of Stephen Dedalus, a weakling and a dreamer, makes fascinating reading ... No clean minded person could possibly allow it to remain within reach of his wife, his sons or daughters."
- New Ireland: "If one must accuse Mr. Joyce of anything, it is that he too wilfully ignores the opportunities which Dublin offers even to a Stephen Dedalus ... He has undoubtedly failed to bring out the undeniable superiority of many features of life in the capital ... He is as blind to the charm of its situation as to the stirrings of literary and civic consciousness which give an interest and zest to social and political intercourse."
- New York Globe: "There is much in the book to offend a good many varieties of readers, and little compensating beauty.
- Rochester Post-Express: "It is possible that the author intends to write a sequel to the story. If so, he might acquire a firmer, more coherent and more lucid style by a study of Flaubert, Daudet, Thackery, and Thomas Hardy."
- Manchester Weekly Times: "To put the literary form of rude language in a book makes some authors feel realistic."
- Birmingham Post: "Its realism will displease many."
- Irish Books Lover: "Is it wise, from a worldly point of view - mercenary, if you will - to dissipate one's talents on a book which can only attain a limited circulation?"
- Sphere: "The book is not within a hundred miles of being as fine a work of art as "Limehouse Nights," the work of another young Irishman."
- Bellman: "He shows an astonishingly unCeltic absence of imagination and humour."
- Rochester Post-Express: "The irreverent treatment of religion in the story must be condemmed."