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Here Comes Everybody. An Introduction to James Joyce for the Ordinary Reader

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"My book does not pretend to scholarship, only to a desire to help the average reader who sees all his works available in paperback and is scared more of their content then their price. The appearance of difficulty is part of Joyce's big joke; the profundities are usually expressed in good round Dublin terms; Joyce's heroes are humble men. If there was ever a writer for the people, Joyce was that writer. But there is a need for the kind of pilot-commentary I attempt to provide. After nearly fifty years of reading Joyce it seems only right that I should pass on what I have learned of his methods to those who come fresh to his riches."

The above extract is from Burgess's foreword to the book, which establishes the purpose and the tone of his study. Vigorous, humorous and perceptive, his commentary is an excellent introduction and a valuable companion to the reading of Joyce.

The "Here Comes Everybody" in the title has its origin in Finnegans Wake, whose hero, Humphrey Chimden Earwicker, has his initials weaved into the text. But Burgess also hopes that everybody will come to Joyce, "seeing in him not tortuous puzzles, obscenity and jesuitry gone mad, but one of the largest affirmations of man's worth that this century has given us".

Philip Toynbee, in the Observer: "Mr Burgess has written a brilliant and humane study of the most brilliant and humane of twentieth century novelists."

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