Last semester, I did a course on Ulysses by James Joyce. I already read this book a year and a half ago, and when I saw that the course asked me to reread the whole book, I was a bit in doubt whether I should do that. After all, rereading can take a lot of time (especially in the case of Ulysses) and is that really the best use of my time? But I’m a very good girl, and when one of my professors asks me to do something, I have a hard time saying no. So I gave the book another try.
I was surprised: I actually had a great time rereading it. So many things that I didn’t understand the first time now became so clear. Where my first reading was quite an ordeal, this time I was so much more relaxed and I was actually able to enjoy the story. It helped me understand the storyline better, and I picked up on so much more references and symbols (although it’s hard to know in how far I picked up on those because of the rereading or because of my classes). And it made me ask myself: why don’t I do this more often?
So next year, I want to reread a bit more. There are some works which I think I would love to reread.
- À Rembours by Joris-Karl Huysmans. I hated this book so much the first time, because I had a hard time getting through it and there were so many things I didn’t understand. But now I’m a few years older and wiser, and I’ve read a lot related to this book or the period it was written in, and I think a reread will give me a very different, more positive reading experience.
- The Odyssey and Iliad by Homer. I’ve read both works completely when I was in high school. Then I went to university, I studied Classics for a year, and even after I switched to Literary Studies I kept doing some classes on classical literature or I involve classical texts in my other classes. So I’ve learned so much about this subject since I’ve last read them as a whole and I’d love to put all that knowledge to the test and see if I experience these epics differently now.
- Ulysses by James Joyce. Okay, maybe I won’t reread this one next year, but I have to admit I kind of like the idea of a third reread. During my classes I learned so much about the meaning of certain episodes that I’d love to see if I have a different reading experience now that I know these things beforehand (I’m talking to you, “Oxen of the Sun”). So that’s why I’d love to reread it, and not because there’s this friend of a friend who has read Ulysses three time and because I can be a competitive person.