by William Walsh
Keyhole Press, 2012
142 pages / $9.99 Buy from Keyhole Press or Amazon
Unknown Arts by William Walsh (Keyhole Press, 2012) is a collection of critical appropriations sourced from James Joyce’s Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners, and more. A book about Joyce’s books, Unknown Arts can be read as analysis, distortion, homage, and/or a work of art all of its own. It is doubtless a contentious book that will likely add fuel to the ongoing and often fiery debates around contemporary criticism, the imprint of influence, and the nature of creativity. Controversial or not, the collection is a valuable artifact that allows rare access into what are for many the impenetrable works of a literary master.
Here’s an excerpt from one of the many texts in the collection appropriated from Ulysses (1922), titled “Sunny Jim 2”:
Near the end, remembering king David and the Sunamite, he shared his bed with Athos, faithful after death. But thou hast suckled me with a bitter milk: my moon and my sun thou hast quenched for ever. There’s the sun again coming out. Paris rawly waking, crude sunlight on her lemon streets. Under its leaf he watched through peacocktwittering lashes the southing sun. The coroner’s sunlit ears, big and hairy. A flying sunny smile rayed in his loose features. His eyeglass flashed frowning in the sun. The tip of his little finger blotted out the sun’s disk. Mercy of God the sun was in his eyes or he’d have left him for dead. WAS JESUS A SUN MYTH? By heaven, I am guiltless as the unsunned snow! It What went forth to the ends of the world to traverse not itself, God, the sun, Shakespeare, a commercial traveller, having itself traversed in reality itself becomes that self.
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April 2nd, 2012 / 12:00 pm