I have read both. I liked Finnegan's Wake...not so much Ulysses.Uh, I gather you haven't read Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake?
I think I didn't manage to convey my point...sure, those books are the way they are on purpose. But what if Joyce made them the way they are without realizing how good they would seem to critics? THAT's my point. A writer can put any stylistic element into a story intentionally, but cannot intentionally write a story that is sure to be embraced by critics, literature students, or any judges of quality.I mean, the chance of those books turning out the way they are through anything but painstaking determination and genius concept is akin to the proverbial room full of chimps typewriting Hamlet by random chance.
No matter how much "objective quality" (as you call it) a writer puts into a work, (s)he cannot ensure that his/her work will be judged to be of high quality, no matter who is doing the judging.
Well, you can use the word "objective quality" to mean anything you want. You can use it to mean pink fluffy bunnies. But there's no rule out there written in the laws of physics that says that in-tune singing is any better than out-of-tune singing. Was Bob Dylan low in "objective quality"? Was Kurt Cobain? Was their out-of-tune singing simply outweighed in the cosmos' impartial calculation of "objective quality"? Or could it be that people actually liked the out-of-tune singing, that it had a synergistic effect with the other features of Dylan's and Cobain's music, that it actually worked for people?Yes, if you don't care about out of tune vocals, then by all means - don't care. Your subjective love for the band is unaffected by their lack of pitch. BUT their objective quality in terms of pitch is lower than that of a band whose vocals aren't out of tune.
How many times have we heard some critic or another say "This isn't music, this is just noise!", only to have said music become the darling of critics of a later generation, who praise its timeless quality?
OK, so if there is no "best", what do you call the work of art that is highest in "objective quality"? Take all fantasy books, write down an "objective quality" number for each (or a vector, with any norm you like), and won't the one with the highest "objective quality" be the "best"?Also, there is no such thing as a "best" thing. Anywhere. Ever. (apart from anime and Cowboy Bebop, but we won't go there) The more your knowledge of a certain field broadens, the more ridiculous the concept of "best" becomes. Best in what? Best how? Best for whom? How do you even measure "best"?
And if not, who cares about "objective quality" as a measure of anything?