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Fundado em 28 de Setembro de 1998

19 de setembro de 2014

Carta de H.G. Wells a James Joyce

Lou Pidou, 
Saint Mathieu, 
Grasse, A.M.

November 23, 1928
My dear Joyce:
I've been studying you and thinking over you a lot. The outcome is that I don't think I can do anything for the propaganda of your work. I have enormous respect for your genius dating from your earliest books and I feel now a great personal liking for you but you and I are set upon absolutely different courses. Your training has been Catholic, Irish, insurrectionary; mine, such as it was, was scientific, constructive and, I suppose, English. The frame of my mind is a world wherein a big unifying and concentrating process is possible (increase of power and range by economy and concentration of effort), a progress not inevitable but interesting and possible. That game attracted and holds me. For it, I want a language and statement as simple and clear as possible. You began Catholic, that is to say you began with a system of values in stark opposition to reality. Your mental existence is obsessed by a monstrous system of contradictions. You may believe in chastity, purity and the personal God and that is why you are always breaking out into cries of cunt, shit and hell. As I don't believe in these things except as quite personal values my mind has never been shocked to outcries by the existence of water closets and menstrual bandages — and undeserved misfortunes. And while you were brought up under the delusion of political suppression I was brought up under the delusion of political responsibility. It seems a fine thing for you to defy and break up. To me not in the least.
Now with regard to this literary experiment of yours. It's a considerable thing because you are a very considerable man and you have in your crowded composition a mighty genius for expression which has escaped discipline. But I don't think it gets anywhere. You have turned your back on common men — on their elementary needs and their restricted time and intelligence, and you have elaborated. What is the result? Vast riddles. Your last two works have been more amusing and exciting to write than they will ever be to read. Take me as a typical common reader. Do I get much pleasure from this work? No. Do I feel I am getting something new and illuminating as I do when I read Anrep's dreadful translation of Pavlov's badly written book on Conditioned Reflexes? No. So I ask: Who the hell is this Joyce who demands so many waking hours of the few thousand I have still to live for a proper appreciation of his quirks and fancies and flashes of rendering?
All this from my point of view. Perhaps you are right and I am all wrong. Your work is an extraordinary experiment and I would go out of my way to save it from destructive or restrictive interruption. It has its believers and its following. Let them rejoice in it. To me it is a dead end.
My warmest wishes to you Joyce. I can't follow your banner any more than you can follow mine. But the world is wide and there is room for both of us to be wrong.
H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells X James Joyce

2 comentários:

  1. Such a nice and true friend, it seems to me, although I disagree with his evaluation upon Joyce´s biggest work.

    I´m now reading Ulysses (second attempt) and I must always tell myself to stay together, not to think of other things while reading because we are not used to read a book where the story isn´t the most interesting part and so, it is easy to ‘fly’.

    Nevertheless it has been a nice experience. I intend to go on without hurry, tasting the words, smelling their meaning and, most of all, hearing their noisy silence far beyond the common sense. My goal is to reach the last page getting pleasure from this famous book.

  2. To be or not to be right? I am of the opinion that the world is big enough for both kind of genius express themselves. Nothing like reading a good story and, also, nothing like the poetry that comes from a poetic text, even when it is an elusive, irrational or symbolic story. H. G. Wells and James Joyce are representative icones of these two sort of antipodal literatures.


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