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Podthoughts: Re: Joyce

Vital stats:
Format: reading/exegesis/celebration of one sentence to one paragraph of James Joyce’s Ulysses
Episode duration: 5m-25m
Frequency: weekly

If you described the medium of podcasting to an aspirational American of sixty years ago — the kind with a complete shelf of Mortimer Adler-approved Great Books of the Western World, purchased whole — they’d imagine something like Frank Delaney’s Re: Joyce [RSS] [iTunes] as its primary use. For a time, we envisioned all forms media as potential delivery systems for read-along literary and historical lectures by learned, articulate middle-aged men, preferably from across the Atlantic. Delaney thoroughly embodies these qualities, and in fact he once received National Public Radio’s anointment as “the most eloquent man in the world.” I know because the quote appears prominently in the header of every page on his site, as it would on my own. NPR has never made a big deal of my articulateness, but if they ranked me even among the top twenty, I assume they’d grant me as much airtime as I need to say whatever I want.

This, in any case, is why Delaney will dominate America’s public airwaves once a week for the next 27 years to discuss James Joyce’s Ulysses. As least I assume he will, since my mind can’t process the notion that NPR wouldn’t see fit to commit all necessary resources to an exegesis of one of the most important novels ever written in the English language by the man they named the most eloquent in the world. Though I personally listen to the show as a podcast, my brittle value system requires me to believe that other families gather round the wireless each and every Wednesday to hear celebrated one more facet of Joyce’s linguistic, structural, and sheer Dublinistic acumen. The majority of the broadcasts only run between five and fifteen minutes, after all, which only slightly exceeds American radio’s ever-supercilicizing estimate of audience attention span. In fact, I’ve surely gotten to you far too late; you’ve no doubt already listened to every episode since the show’s inception two and a half years ago. I should instead point you to something more marginal, like Two and a Half Men. I hear it is a situation comedy.

Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.

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