Joyce's word games often have a real interest and the parodies of style, although too often blurred, can be amusing; but they have nothing to do with "Literature", which, to have any value, has to be some presentation of in writing of Milton's new aquist* of true experience.
The striking thing about [Ellman's 'James Joyce'] it is how much more rewarding , in terms of the new aquist of Milton's, the book is than anything Joyce ever wrote. The difference I suppose is simply that when you work through Joyce's complications and obscurities you're a little miffed - a second rate mind has no business to conceal itself that way. It isn't too much and too wise for ordinary expression, its too little and vapid - the ridiculous or at least exasperating mouse out of the mountain. But Ellman's mind is first rate, his comment on Joyce's sad and silly times is full of instruction; this is not just from books, this is real and human and fine food for thought. - James Cozzens.
* = From Milton's Samson Agonistes:
His servants he with new aquist**
Of true experience from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismissed
And calm of mind, all passion spent.
** = acquisition.