Very little perceptive

New Style. (In this chapter of changing literary styles, each distinct section will be flagged with a note of this type describing the sources, properties, and purposes of a new mode of literary language.) "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 (there is some enjoyment to be had in the mental exercise), 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 feels 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.

John Hunt 2021

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

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