Sunday, 12 February 2012

Newly Unearthed James Joyce Children’s Book ‘Really Boring’

The Dublin based publishing firm Ithyss Press has announced today that it has received and is getting ready to print ‘The Cats of Copanhagen’- the lost children’s novel by the acclaimed modernist author James Joyce

The text, which was written for Joyce’s grandson in 1936 is being described as a 700 page symbolist epic. The story- which begins with the story of a silly cat called ‘Tiddles’ chasing a long ball of yarn- then turns into what is being called a ‘breathtaking investigation’ of turn of the century irish politics, Catholic orthodoxy, the epiphanic cycle in christian theology and the life and death of Moses as represented by a symbolic retelling of the myth of Prometheus.

Literary critics are already calling the manuscript ‘the most profound and technically challenging children’s book ever published sine Dr Seuss’s reinterpretation of The Illiad’.

Oxford English professor and Joyce expert Johnny Blaze told us: “It truly is an astounding find. Even though Joyce sets out to weave a simple tale of cats having adventures in Copenhagen for the delight of his then-six year old grandson, three hundred and seventy five pages in, we see the facade of mere children’s literature fall away, as Joyce fights against the traditions of the medium.”

“When in the second volume, he brings in the Jesuit orthodoxy and begins to discuss the fall of Irish nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell in a two hundred page run-on sentence entirely written in gaelic that we see the scope of Joyce’s work. Frankly, this makes A Very Hungry Caterpillar look like very unambitious juvenile babble by comparison.”

Related in only three stream of consciousness sentences, the letter accompanying the manuscript- which is preserved as a prefce to the novel- explains that the text is intended as a punishment to his daughter who called Finnegan’s Wake “unreadable sillyness with very few redeeming romance plots” and accused Joyce’s most well known work Ulysses of being “really bloody long and woefully lacking in exciting fights or car chases”.

It is thought to be in reaction to these comments that Joyce penned the manuscript, knowing that his daughter would have to read it to her son, despite the fact that the novel contains no commas and as such she would frequently run out of breath

Already a study guide to the children’s book is being planned, and an annotated version replete with footnotes that explain the many erudite references to pre-socratic philosophers and eighteenth century irish political figures.

Experts are predicting that all across the land, English students will be be purchasing the book on its release in the vain hope that they can actually finish the thing. Meanwhile, in keeping with descriptions of the rest of Joyce’s oeuvre, literature lecturers are already insisting that the work is actually ‘surprisingly funny’ even though it definitely isn’t


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