To The Age
Jane Sullivan's meditation on the centenary of James Joyce's novel 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' ('Turning pages', 28/1) fails to make the most important point about the novel: that it is composed in language of astonishing brilliance and freshness. 'Dubliners' is a marvellous collection of short stories, written in an unaffected and traditional style; but 'Portrait' is a step up and reveals an extraordinarily innovative genius. Whether or not one considers 'Ulysses' and 'Finnegan's Wake' to be further steps upwards or disastrous blunderings into eccentricity, it is clear that T. S. Eliot was right to champion Joyce as the outstanding imaginative prose writer of his time.
NJ, Belgrave, Vic