Jeremy Corbyn on Joyce’s Ulysses: ‘Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t understand it’


This post is by Peter Carty from Books | The Guardian


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Politicians including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and the Labour leader have lined up to praise the impenetrable novel. Ahead of Bloomsday, Corbyn discusses the power of Joyce’s political vision

In defiance of its reputation for being hard to finishPhilip Roth and Jorge Luis Borges did not manage it, and there is a question mark over Virginia Woolf – James Joyce’s Ulysses has emerged as a favourite of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, former vice president Joe Biden has been joined by his fellow 2020 Democrat presidential hopefuls Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke in praising the book. In the UK, Jeremy Corbyn revealed in a 2016 Mumsnet Q&A that it has long been his favourite novel too.

When I spoke to Corbyn in advance of this year’s Bloomsday – 16 June, the day in 1904 on which the events of Joyce’s Dublin mock epic ...