Pg. 175 of David Markson’s copy of Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation by Marvin Magalaner & Richard M. Kain:
     On which Markson placed an x and a check in the margins next to the following Joyce anecdote re: something he said to Al Laney (whose name Markson has also underlined):     “An acquaintance of Joyce in Paris during the early twenties has recalled to the author of the present study an unpublished anecdote, in which Joyce used a similar figure to describe his view of religion. Men, he said to Al Laney, then a correspondent for the Paris Herald, are like deep-sea fish, swimming in water that is mysteriously irradiated with light from above the surface but unable to rise to the surface to see—a characteristic figure in its grotesquerie and its relevance to Joyce’s own limited sight.”
—
     Swimming in water that is mysteriously irradiated with light from above the surface…
     “A hundred cares, a tithe of troubles, and is there one who understands me?”     From Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.     From Markson’s The Last Novel. (Pg. 187)
     Unable to rise to the surface to see…
     “Joyce had twenty-five operations on his eyes.”     According to Markson on pg. 67 of Reader’s Block.
     Its relevance to Joyce’s own limited sight…

     Pg. 175 of David Markson’s copy of Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation by Marvin Magalaner & Richard M. Kain:

     On which Markson placed an x and a check in the margins next to the following Joyce anecdote re: something he said to Al Laney (whose name Markson has also underlined):
     “An acquaintance of Joyce in Paris during the early twenties has recalled to the author of the present study an unpublished anecdote, in which Joyce used a similar figure to describe his view of religion. Men, he said to Al Laney, then a correspondent for the Paris Herald, are like deep-sea fish, swimming in water that is mysteriously irradiated with light from above the surface but unable to rise to the surface to see—a characteristic figure in its grotesquerie and its relevance to Joyce’s own limited sight.”

     Swimming in water that is mysteriously irradiated with light from above the surface…

     “A hundred cares, a tithe of troubles, and is there one who understands me?”
     From Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
     From Markson’s The Last Novel. (Pg. 187)

     Unable to rise to the surface to see…

     “Joyce had twenty-five operations on his eyes.”
     According to Markson on pg. 67 of Reader’s Block.

     Its relevance to Joyce’s own limited sight…

     Pg. 479 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):
     On which Markson placed checks in the margin next to various works on Joyce in the book’s bibliography. (Presumably next to the books he owned?)
     Also: On which Markson wrote next to a mention of William York Tindall’s Forces in Modern British Literature 1885-1946 (which I own Markson’s copy of):     “Also: James Joyce”
—
     On pg. 55 of David Markson’s Vanishing Point:     “There are no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr. Joyce an author of any importance.     Said Edmund Gosse, two years after the publication of Ulysses.”
     Just using Markson’s own personal library Edmund Gosse can be proven wrong.
     “I have a shelf and a half of Joyce scholarship.”     Explained Markson in an interview with Alexander Laurence.
     The Joyce Industry, even almost 90 years after the publication of Ulysses, is alive and well.     And there’s one major reason for that:
     “I have to say that Ulysses holds up: it’s a great book. Joyce does everything.”     Markson said further on in that Alexander Laurence interview.

     Pg. 479 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):

     On which Markson placed checks in the margin next to various works on Joyce in the book’s bibliography. (Presumably next to the books he owned?)

     Also: On which Markson wrote next to a mention of William York Tindall’s Forces in Modern British Literature 1885-1946 (which I own Markson’s copy of):
     “Also: James Joyce

     On pg. 55 of David Markson’s Vanishing Point:
     “There are no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr. Joyce an author of any importance.
     Said Edmund Gosse, two years after the publication of Ulysses.”

     Just using Markson’s own personal library Edmund Gosse can be proven wrong.

     “I have a shelf and a half of Joyce scholarship.”
     Explained Markson in an interview with Alexander Laurence.

     The Joyce Industry, even almost 90 years after the publication of Ulysses, is alive and well.
     And there’s one major reason for that:

     “I have to say that Ulysses holds up: it’s a great book. Joyce does everything.”
     Markson said further on in that Alexander Laurence interview.



     Pg. 173 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:
     On which David Markson wrote “oh bullshit” in the margins in response to a comment by Prater comparing the difficulties of reading Rilke’s Malte Laurids Brigge to those of reading Joyce’s Ulysses:     “With Malte Laurids Brigge, in the form he had chosen of heterogeneous and disconnected passages in a notebook, he had gone to another extreme, with an esoteric composition as difficult for the reader to follow in its allusiveness as that of Joyce would be—an anti-novel before its time.”
—
     Ulysses, to Markson, was something special. It’s not that books like Malte Laurids Brigge weren’t novels worthy of praise, but more that, to him, nothing seemed comparable to Joyce’s masterpiece, which he maintained was the only fiction book that in his old age he felt compelled to continue to re-read.
     As Markson explained in a 1996 interview with Alexander Laurence:      “I don’t read fiction anymore because it bores me. It’s like that line in Paul Valery that’s quoted in Reader’s Block: ‘He couldn’t write a novel because he couldn’t put down ‘The Marquis went out at five.” The minute I read ‘Joe walked across the street to say hello to Charlie’ I’m bored. Books that I loved, I can’t get into again. Sometimes it’s 30 or 40 years later. So I said let me see with Ulysses, it’s about time. Then I read it once and cursed about how much I didn’t get, or didn’t understand, and had to look up words, and then I read it a second time and felt I had mastered it. I was exchanging letters with Gilbert Sorrentino and we were asking each other ‘I wonder what Joyce meant by this’ or ‘I can’t solve this.’ I have a shelf and a half of Joyce scholarship, and I read most of it over the years, and the stuff that Sorrentino and I were asking each other weren’t solved there either. I have to say that Ulysses holds up: it’s a great book. Joyce does everything. I love the complexities. I don’t want to make a bad joke but anyone can write Crime and Punishment.”
     Ulysses, to Markson, was the book that earned its re-readings by continually rewarding the re-reader by re-puzzling him, by making him look at things in a new light, by always offering some new view or some new mystery—by allowing language to be something magical, something more. In Ulysses, Joyce is not so much a writer, more an acrobat, performing difficult tricks in language, and somehow pulling each off brilliantly.
     What Markson seemed to love about Ulysses is that it is “alive with the pleasures of language.”     (A line Jonathan Yardley actually wrote of Markson’s Springer’s Progress.)
     It’s not that Markson doesn’t respect Malte Laurids Brigge when he writes “oh bullshit” in the margins, but that, to him, saying that Rilke’s book is “as difficult for the reader to follow in its allusiveness as that of Joyce would be” warrants some major marginal skepticism.
     “I can always reread Ulysses. In fact I went through it twice, consecutively, just a few years ago. But hell, that’s not like reading a novel, it’s more like reading the King James Bible. Or Shakespeare. You’re at it for the language.”     (From his Bookslut interview.)
     Alive with the pleasures of language.
—
     David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pg. 173 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:

     On which David Markson wrote “oh bullshit” in the margins in response to a comment by Prater comparing the difficulties of reading Rilke’s Malte Laurids Brigge to those of reading Joyce’s Ulysses:
     “With Malte Laurids Brigge, in the form he had chosen of heterogeneous and disconnected passages in a notebook, he had gone to another extreme, with an esoteric composition as difficult for the reader to follow in its allusiveness as that of Joyce would be—an anti-novel before its time.”

     Ulysses, to Markson, was something special. It’s not that books like Malte Laurids Brigge weren’t novels worthy of praise, but more that, to him, nothing seemed comparable to Joyce’s masterpiece, which he maintained was the only fiction book that in his old age he felt compelled to continue to re-read.

     As Markson explained in a 1996 interview with Alexander Laurence:
     “I don’t read fiction anymore because it bores me. It’s like that line in Paul Valery that’s quoted in Reader’s Block: ‘He couldn’t write a novel because he couldn’t put down ‘The Marquis went out at five.” The minute I read ‘Joe walked across the street to say hello to Charlie’ I’m bored. Books that I loved, I can’t get into again. Sometimes it’s 30 or 40 years later. So I said let me see with Ulysses, it’s about time. Then I read it once and cursed about how much I didn’t get, or didn’t understand, and had to look up words, and then I read it a second time and felt I had mastered it. I was exchanging letters with Gilbert Sorrentino and we were asking each other ‘I wonder what Joyce meant by this’ or ‘I can’t solve this.’ I have a shelf and a half of Joyce scholarship, and I read most of it over the years, and the stuff that Sorrentino and I were asking each other weren’t solved there either. I have to say that Ulysses holds up: it’s a great book. Joyce does everything. I love the complexities. I don’t want to make a bad joke but anyone can write Crime and Punishment.”

     Ulysses, to Markson, was the book that earned its re-readings by continually rewarding the re-reader by re-puzzling him, by making him look at things in a new light, by always offering some new view or some new mystery—by allowing language to be something magical, something more. In Ulysses, Joyce is not so much a writer, more an acrobat, performing difficult tricks in language, and somehow pulling each off brilliantly.

     What Markson seemed to love about Ulysses is that it is “alive with the pleasures of language.”
     (A line Jonathan Yardley actually wrote of Markson’s Springer’s Progress.)

     It’s not that Markson doesn’t respect Malte Laurids Brigge when he writes “oh bullshit” in the margins, but that, to him, saying that Rilke’s book is “as difficult for the reader to follow in its allusiveness as that of Joyce would be” warrants some major marginal skepticism.

     “I can always reread Ulysses. In fact I went through it twice, consecutively, just a few years ago. But hell, that’s not like reading a novel, it’s more like reading the King James Bible. Or Shakespeare. You’re at it for the language.”
     (From his Bookslut interview.)

     Alive with the pleasures of language.

     David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pg. 24 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: His Way Of Interpreting The Modern World by William York Tindall:
     On which Markson underlined the words:     “Nothing is accidental or insignificant in Ulysses.”
—
     Nothing is accidental or insignificant in Ulysses.     Which reminds me of a quote from the book:     “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”
     Nothing accidental.
     Nothing insignificant.
     David Markson thought highly of Ulysses, and like Tindall, found nothing accidental or insignificant in Joyce’s masterpiece.
     He makes this known in many places, but perhaps none more clear than in The Last Novel on pg. 168 in his critique of Dale Peck (who he’s critiquing for critiquing Ulysses):     “Anyone who would employ the word diarrheic to describe a book as exactingly crafted in every line as Ulysses has either never read eleven consecutive words or possesses the literary perception of a rutabaga.      Ulysses. Diarrheic, unquote. Dale Peck.”
     As he grew older and stopped reading fiction, Ulysses was the one book he kept returning to:     “I can always reread Ulysses. In fact I went through it twice, consecutively, just a few years ago. But hell, that’s not like reading a novel, it’s more like reading the King James Bible. Or Shakespeare. You’re at it for the language.”     (From his Bookslut interview.)
     Nothing is accidental or insignificant in Ulysses.
     Volitional.
     Exactingly crafted.
     You’re at it for the language.

     Pg. 24 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: His Way Of Interpreting The Modern World by William York Tindall:

     On which Markson underlined the words:
     “Nothing is accidental or insignificant in Ulysses.”

     Nothing is accidental or insignificant in Ulysses.
     Which reminds me of a quote from the book:
     “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”

     Nothing accidental.

     Nothing insignificant.

     David Markson thought highly of Ulysses, and like Tindall, found nothing accidental or insignificant in Joyce’s masterpiece.

     He makes this known in many places, but perhaps none more clear than in The Last Novel on pg. 168 in his critique of Dale Peck (who he’s critiquing for critiquing Ulysses):
     “Anyone who would employ the word diarrheic to describe a book as exactingly crafted in every line as Ulysses has either never read eleven consecutive words or possesses the literary perception of a rutabaga.
     Ulysses. Diarrheic
, unquote. Dale Peck.”

     As he grew older and stopped reading fiction, Ulysses was the one book he kept returning to:
     “I can always reread Ulysses. In fact I went through it twice, consecutively, just a few years ago. But hell, that’s not like reading a novel, it’s more like reading the King James Bible. Or Shakespeare. You’re at it for the language.”
     (From his Bookslut interview.)

     Nothing is accidental or insignificant in Ulysses.

     Volitional.

     Exactingly crafted.

     You’re at it for the language.

     Pg. 3 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: His Way Of Interpreting The Modern World by William York Tindall:
     On which Markson underlined Malcolm Lowry’s name and placed a check next to it in the following sentence:     “But almost all our important novelists—Steinbeck, Faulkner, Malcolm Lowry, and Dos Passos—have drawn freely upon Joyce.”
—
     This Lowry-Joyce connection Markson had mined in his introduction to his study of Lowry’s Under the Volcano titled: Malcolm Lowry’s Volcano: Myth Symbol Meaning:     “Joyce, here, is the master, Ulysses the watershed. But even Homer nods; and it is ironic that such few reservations we maintain about Ulysses may arise from the very direction its author chose to pursue in his own mythic interpolations.     Joyce more than one remarked, for example, that his identification with of Leopold Bloom with Odysseus occurred because the latter is literature’s ‘complete man.’ Yet Bloom is not Odysseus solely; almost as if in afterthought he is equated with the ghost of Hamlet’s father, or again with Christ. And it was through these ‘incidental’ parallels that Joyce took a clue from himself, as it were, in establishing the far more inclusive mythic scheme of Finnegans Wake. There we have no single predominating mythic analogy. The dreaming H. C. Earwicker is the legendary Irish figrue Finn MacCool to be sure, but by deliberate extension he is an incalculable number of others from Moses to Dean Swift—‘Here Comes Everybody,’ as his initials proclaim. The concept remains immensely provocative: Any man’s myth increases me, for I am ‘Mankinde.’     But was Earwicker’s improbable dream necessary? Foregoing traditional chronology, much of contemporary writing demands to be read as we look at a mural: where individual stanzas or even lines may bear no immediate relationship to those nearest them, they hold their decisive, reflexive place in the whole when viewed spatially. Yet with a volume the length of Finnegans Wake, such perception requires a kind of intellectual peripheral vision. A perspective can certainly be achieved, nor does it cost that lifetime of dedication Joyce half-seriously asked of the ideal reader. Nonetheless Joyce’s own shifting focus begs the question: if the ‘multimythic’ richness of Finnegans Wake is what the novelist is after, must he cease to be novelist? Can this wealth of prototypal allusion, which after all evokes nothing if not the essence of man’s creative tradition—which is man—be integrated into a fictional form that is itself traditional?     After Joyce, it can. The guilt of the protagonist of Under the Volcano is that of Adam after expulsion, his agony that of Christ at Golgotha, his frailty Don Quixote’s. Through degrees of highly specific analogy Lowry’s hero so to speak ‘becomes’ Faust, Dante, Prometheus, Heracles, Buddha, Oedipus. He is Aeneas, Hamlet, Noah, Judas, Prospero, Narcissus, Trotsky, Macbeth, Shelley, Scrooge, Quetzalcoatl, Bix Beiderbecke, Candide, Moses, and Gogol’s Tchitchikov—if not to add Peter Rabbit and the Fisher King, among many more. There is even a touch of Alice in his makeup, and at one juncture, as if to assert that one man’s myth scarcely need become another’s poison, he boldly enacts a Homeric parallel of his own. Each of these projections vastly amplifies the meanings of Lowry’s narrative, but—and this remains crucial—that narrative does exist, with its own organic structure, its cohesive surface sequence. Such identities are proclaimed only through allusion or metaphor integral to the contextual reality of the book itself, and even when length equations of ‘episode’ are created, again Lowry’s surface is not distorted. The mythic content is there, and then some; but Under the Volcano remains always a novel first of all, with its own profoundly dramatic literal impact.     In fact it is a paradoxical tribute to the richness of Lowry’s achievement, because if this very indivisibility of surface and symbol, that even where he is most unstintingly praised he is often less than perceived. Inevitably, Joyce does become the basis of comparison, but only insofar as Under the Volcano occurs within the frame of a single day, that it makes use of interior monologue, that it is characterized by pun and verbal excess and what far too many otherwise sophisticated readers still think are ‘literary references.’” (Pgs. 3-5)

     Pg. 3 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: His Way Of Interpreting The Modern World by William York Tindall:

     On which Markson underlined Malcolm Lowry’s name and placed a check next to it in the following sentence:
     “But almost all our important novelists—Steinbeck, Faulkner, Malcolm Lowry, and Dos Passos—have drawn freely upon Joyce.”

     This Lowry-Joyce connection Markson had mined in his introduction to his study of Lowry’s Under the Volcano titled: Malcolm Lowry’s Volcano: Myth Symbol Meaning:
     “Joyce, here, is the master, Ulysses the watershed. But even Homer nods; and it is ironic that such few reservations we maintain about Ulysses may arise from the very direction its author chose to pursue in his own mythic interpolations.
     Joyce more than one remarked, for example, that his identification with of Leopold Bloom with Odysseus occurred because the latter is literature’s ‘complete man.’ Yet Bloom is not Odysseus solely; almost as if in afterthought he is equated with the ghost of Hamlet’s father, or again with Christ. And it was through these ‘incidental’ parallels that Joyce took a clue from himself, as it were, in establishing the far more inclusive mythic scheme of Finnegans Wake. There we have no single predominating mythic analogy. The dreaming H. C. Earwicker is the legendary Irish figrue Finn MacCool to be sure, but by deliberate extension he is an incalculable number of others from Moses to Dean Swift—‘Here Comes Everybody,’ as his initials proclaim. The concept remains immensely provocative: Any man’s myth increases me, for I am ‘Mankinde.’
     But was Earwicker’s improbable dream necessary? Foregoing traditional chronology, much of contemporary writing demands to be read as we look at a mural: where individual stanzas or even lines may bear no immediate relationship to those nearest them, they hold their decisive, reflexive place in the whole when viewed spatially. Yet with a volume the length of Finnegans Wake, such perception requires a kind of intellectual peripheral vision. A perspective can certainly be achieved, nor does it cost that lifetime of dedication Joyce half-seriously asked of the ideal reader. Nonetheless Joyce’s own shifting focus begs the question: if the ‘multimythic’ richness of Finnegans Wake is what the novelist is after, must he cease to be novelist? Can this wealth of prototypal allusion, which after all evokes nothing if not the essence of man’s creative tradition—which is man—be integrated into a fictional form that is itself traditional?
     After Joyce, it can. The guilt of the protagonist of Under the Volcano is that of Adam after expulsion, his agony that of Christ at Golgotha, his frailty Don Quixote’s. Through degrees of highly specific analogy Lowry’s hero so to speak ‘becomes’ Faust, Dante, Prometheus, Heracles, Buddha, Oedipus. He is Aeneas, Hamlet, Noah, Judas, Prospero, Narcissus, Trotsky, Macbeth, Shelley, Scrooge, Quetzalcoatl, Bix Beiderbecke, Candide, Moses, and Gogol’s Tchitchikov—if not to add Peter Rabbit and the Fisher King, among many more. There is even a touch of Alice in his makeup, and at one juncture, as if to assert that one man’s myth scarcely need become another’s poison, he boldly enacts a Homeric parallel of his own. Each of these projections vastly amplifies the meanings of Lowry’s narrative, but—and this remains crucial—that narrative does exist, with its own organic structure, its cohesive surface sequence. Such identities are proclaimed only through allusion or metaphor integral to the contextual reality of the book itself, and even when length equations of ‘episode’ are created, again Lowry’s surface is not distorted. The mythic content is there, and then some; but Under the Volcano remains always a novel first of all, with its own profoundly dramatic literal impact.
     In fact it is a paradoxical tribute to the richness of Lowry’s achievement, because if this very indivisibility of surface and symbol, that even where he is most unstintingly praised he is often less than perceived. Inevitably, Joyce does become the basis of comparison, but only insofar as Under the Volcano occurs within the frame of a single day, that it makes use of interior monologue, that it is characterized by pun and verbal excess and what far too many otherwise sophisticated readers still think are ‘literary references.’” (Pgs. 3-5)

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation by Marvin Magalaner & Richard M. Kain:
     On which Markson placed his name as an inscription.
—
     This is just one of many texts on Joyce and Ulysses that I own of Markson’s.
     “I have a shelf and a half of Joyce scholarship.”     Explained Markson in an interview with Alexander Laurence.
     There is a whole Joyce industry these days, countless books of scholarship.
     But this would surprise some of Joyce’s contemporaries perhaps.
     For example:     “There are no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr. Joyce an author of any importance.     Said Edmund Gosse, two years after the publication of Ulysses.”     - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 55.
     Nowadays, there would seem to be no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr. Joyce an author of no importance…
     Well, perhaps besides a few dolts here and there…
     For example, Dale Peck has written:     “I will say it once and for all, straight out: it all went wrong with James Joyce.”     He goes on to condemn Ulysses for its:     “Diarrheic flow of words.”
     “Anyone who  would employ the word diarrheic to  describe a book as exactingly crafted in every line as Ulysses has either never read eleven consecutive words or possesses  the literary perception of a rutabaga.      Ulysses.  Diarrheic, unquote. Dale Peck.”      - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 168.
     As Markson says of Ulysses:     “It’s a great book. Joyce does everything. I love the complexities.”     (From that same  Alexander Laurence interview.)

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation by Marvin Magalaner & Richard M. Kain:

     On which Markson placed his name as an inscription.

     This is just one of many texts on Joyce and Ulysses that I own of Markson’s.

     “I have a shelf and a half of Joyce scholarship.”
     Explained Markson in an interview with Alexander Laurence.

     There is a whole Joyce industry these days, countless books of scholarship.

     But this would surprise some of Joyce’s contemporaries perhaps.

     For example:
     “There are no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr. Joyce an author of any importance.
     Said Edmund Gosse, two years after the publication of Ulysses.”
     - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 55.

     Nowadays, there would seem to be no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr. Joyce an author of no importance…

     Well, perhaps besides a few dolts here and there…

     For example, Dale Peck has written:
     “I will say it once and for all, straight out: it all went wrong with James Joyce.”
     He goes on to condemn Ulysses for its:
     “Diarrheic flow of words.”

     “Anyone who would employ the word diarrheic to describe a book as exactingly crafted in every line as Ulysses has either never read eleven consecutive words or possesses the literary perception of a rutabaga.
     Ulysses. Diarrheic
, unquote. Dale Peck.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 168.

     As Markson says of Ulysses:
     “It’s a great book. Joyce does everything. I love the complexities.”
     (From that same Alexander Laurence interview.)

     Pg. 281 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):
     On which Markson responded to Philip Toynbee’s comment:       “I shall say nothing of the seventy-page question-and-answer section which follows, because it had become, and not unjustly, the point de mire of all hostile critics.”
      Markson responded with:     “Damn it the ‘experiment’ works—He tries, + he brings it off—who else would dare?”
—
     The section of Ulysses which Toynbee and Markson are arguing over is the “Ithaca” section.     Which just so happens to be my favorite part of Ulysses.     Which just so happens to be my favorite book.
     Written in the question and answer style of a catechism, I think it is the finest achievement of the finest writer who ever lived.     High praise.
     So I’d say I obviously side with Markson here:     Damn it, the ‘experiment’ works—He tries, + he brings it off—who else would dare?

     Pg. 281 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):

     On which Markson responded to Philip Toynbee’s comment:
      “I shall say nothing of the seventy-page question-and-answer section which follows, because it had become, and not unjustly, the point de mire of all hostile critics.”

      Markson responded with:
     “Damn it the ‘experiment’ works—He tries, + he brings it off—who else would dare?”

     The section of Ulysses which Toynbee and Markson are arguing over is the “Ithaca” section.
     Which just so happens to be my favorite part of Ulysses.
     Which just so happens to be my favorite book.

     Written in the question and answer style of a catechism, I think it is the finest achievement of the finest writer who ever lived.
     High praise.

     So I’d say I obviously side with Markson here:
     Damn it, the ‘experiment’ works—He tries, + he brings it off—who else would dare?

Pg. 278 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):
On which Markson underlined the word “wrongheaded” and responded to Philip Toynbee’s derision of the last four chapters of Ulysses.
He writes in the margins:"Why? —Joyce makes his own rules. If, in effect, he wants to break them, why not? This is really the ‘digression’ spoken of earlier—but on an intellectual plane."
And then along the bottom of the page:"For all the ‘control,’ critics don’t see the process of ‘discovery,’ + willingness to play, as the novel progresses. The sheer length of later chapters is an indication of changing ideas of discipline."
—-
"I have not read a novel in any language in very many years, Joyce once mentioned."Appears on pg. 188 of Markson’s novel Reader’s Block.
"I don’t read fiction anymore. I read, but fewer and fewer novels."Markson said in an interview with the Alexander Laurence from 1996.
Almost ten years later, when questioned by Joey Rubin of Bookslut about whether it is true that he doesn’t read novels, Markson explained:"It’s true. Any fiction, really. I hate to admit it, and I don’t really understand    it, but it’s some years now—it just seems to have gone dead for me. Not just    recent stuff, but even novels that I’ve deeply cared about—I try to reread    and there’s none of the reaction I used to get, none of the aesthetic excitement    or whatever one wants to call it, all a blank. With one exception of course—I can always reread Ulysses. In fact I went through it twice, consecutively,    just a few years ago. But hell, that’s not like reading a novel, it’s more like    reading the King James Bible. Or Shakespeare. You’re at it for the language.”
Markson was a fierce defender of Joyce. It was the one book that, late in life, kept his interest—even after his interest in the masterpieces of Faulkner, Gaddis and Lowry waned.Those three having been writers he championed throughout his career.
In that Alexander Laurence interview, he says of Ulysses:"It’s a great book. Joyce does everything. I love the complexities."
What Markson has said he loves of Ulysses is the complexity of it, the experimentation in it and the ways it keeps the reader on their toes.
One therefore assumes: he must have loved the last four chapters of Ulysses.
Hence why he defends them so vehemently in the margins against an attack by Toynbee.
There is not only no other book like Ulysses, but it is unlike itself with each new reading of it.

Pg. 278 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):

On which Markson underlined the word “wrongheaded” and responded to Philip Toynbee’s derision of the last four chapters of Ulysses.

He writes in the margins:
"Why? —Joyce makes his own rules. If, in effect, he wants to break them, why not? This is really the ‘digression’ spoken of earlier—but on an intellectual plane."

And then along the bottom of the page:
"For all the ‘control,’ critics don’t see the process of ‘discovery,’ + willingness to play, as the novel progresses. The sheer length of later chapters is an indication of changing ideas of discipline."

—-

"I have not read a novel in any language in very many years, Joyce once mentioned."
Appears on pg. 188 of Markson’s novel Reader’s Block.

"I don’t read fiction anymore. I read, but fewer and fewer novels."
Markson said in an interview with the Alexander Laurence from 1996.

Almost ten years later, when questioned by Joey Rubin of Bookslut about whether it is true that he doesn’t read novels, Markson explained:
"It’s true. Any fiction, really. I hate to admit it, and I don’t really understand it, but it’s some years now—it just seems to have gone dead for me. Not just recent stuff, but even novels that I’ve deeply cared about—I try to reread and there’s none of the reaction I used to get, none of the aesthetic excitement or whatever one wants to call it, all a blank. With one exception of course—I can always reread Ulysses. In fact I went through it twice, consecutively, just a few years ago. But hell, that’s not like reading a novel, it’s more like reading the King James Bible. Or Shakespeare. You’re at it for the language.”

Markson was a fierce defender of Joyce. It was the one book that, late in life, kept his interest—even after his interest in the masterpieces of Faulkner, Gaddis and Lowry waned.
Those three having been writers he championed throughout his career.

In that Alexander Laurence interview, he says of Ulysses:
"It’s a great book. Joyce does everything. I love the complexities."

What Markson has said he loves of Ulysses is the complexity of it, the experimentation in it and the ways it keeps the reader on their toes.

One therefore assumes: he must have loved the last four chapters of Ulysses.

Hence why he defends them so vehemently in the margins against an attack by Toynbee.

There is not only no other book like Ulysses, but it is unlike itself with each new reading of it.