19 August 2006

Daily bread

In Written Lives, Javier Marías quotes from a letter James Joyce wrote to his brother Stanislaus:
Don't you think there is a certain resemblance between the mystery of the Mass and what I am trying to do? I mean that I am trying in my poems to give people some kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of daily life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own...for their mental, moral, and spiritual uplift.
I've read opinions on this view of Joyce's that range anywhere from "blasphemous" to "arrogant," but to me, these ideas are self-evident. It may be my background, it may be my love, it may be my curse, but I will never be able to believe otherwise of the vitality of words.

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