In a 1922 interview conducted at at the famed Paris cafe Deux Magots, avant-garde writer, illustrator and playwright Djuna Barnes (1892 - 1982) gave her all in an attempt to understand the man who was James Joyce (1882 - 1941).
"People say of of James Joyce that he looks both sad and tired. He does look sad and he does look tired, but it is the sadness of a man who has procured some medieval permission to sorrow out of time and and in no place; the weariness of one self-subjected to the creation and over abundance in the limited."
"Yet James Joyce has been called eccentric, mad, incoherent, unintelligible, yes and futuristic. One wonders why, thinking what a fine lyric beginning that great Rabelaisian flower Ulysses had, with impartial addenda for foliage, the thin sweet lyricism of Chamber Music, the casual inevitability of Dubliners, the passion and prayer of Stephen Dedalus, who said that he would go alone through the world."
The 1922 NEW YORK TIMES review of Ulysses can be read here...
The Most Dangerous Book:
The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses