Defence of Joyce lip service to literary 'great'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 October, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 October, 1998, 12:00am

In response to Henry Steiner's comments regarding my 'unfavourable' review of James Joyce's Ulysses (letter, South China Morning Post, September 29), it is encouraging to note that in this age of technology-driven entertainment people still take the trouble not only to read books, but also to scramble to their defence when a particular favourite attracts a negative appraisal.

Regrettably, such defence runs the risk of sounding like a precious response to personal attack; or it can resemble received wisdom spent in the payment of lip-service to this or that 'great' author.

As for Robert Waller (The Bridges of Madison County ), Jeffrey Archer and Harold Robbins, I defer to Mr Steiner's judgment. Unlike him, I am no expert on these distinguished writers, and therefore unqualified to comment.