I admire Joyce immensely, of course; I’ve written a good deal about him. But he has the true Jesuitical mind – as he himself noted – plotting, calculating, outlining, dissecting: In Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen experiences the “seven deadly sins” in a programmatic way, for instance; once one knows the key, the story seems willed, artificial, slightly tainted by the author’s intention. It’s ideal fiction for teaching, however.

— Joyce Carol Oates, on James Joyce (From Fighting Words: Writers Lambast Other Writers)