Very little perceptive

New Style. "Universally that person's acumen is esteemed very little perceptive...ever irrevocably enjoined": the first real prose in Oxen of the Sun, after the ritualistic triune chants, has a monstrously longwinded, indirect, and obscure style. If one makes the effort to wrest some sense from these two torturous sentences (and there is enjoyable mental exercise to be had in doing so), their gist seems fairly simple: God wants human beings to procreate, an imperative that Ireland has long honored, but now some un-"perceptive" people have forgotten their heritage. Though the message is uncomplicated, getting at it through the strange vocabulary and syntax is like crawling through a patch of thorn bushes. Joyce suggested that this paragraph, the first of a succession of prose stylings designed to mimic the development of English prose, was inspired by Latin writings that predated the development of English.

JH 2021

Portrait of Sallust in Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493. Source: altesgynmanisum.de.

1902 photographic facsimile by Henricus Rostagno of a page from Tacitus' Annals copied by a monk in the 11th century. Source: Wikimedia Commons.