Dr. Johnson asks, "I wonder what you'd say about the role of difficulty in reading books like The Cantos, Finnegans Wake, Ulysses, Zukovsky, Gravity's Rainbow, WSB, The Wasteland, the S-Cat Trilogy, even Illuminatus! (Just today someone on Internet labeled Illuminatus! as 'unreadable.')?
"Why do you think some readers
ENJOY difficulty, while others not only dislike it, but disparage it?
main model has to do with personality 'types' and predilections, but I'm not
wedded to this as my main model. What say you?"
I've thought about your question, and I don't think I have a good answer. (You have a knack for asking questions I have difficulty answering.) I think vanity plays a role. People like me like to feel superior by reading at books which seem difficult, alas. I only had a slight interest in "difficult" books before I started reading Bob Wilson. He got me interested in Finnegans Wake, Ulysses and The Cantos, and as with the tar baby, I've had trouble letting go of those books.
I think part of the appeal of these kind of texts come from their sense of humor, a kind which seems to only emerge out of this kind of chaos. (At one point late in The Cantos Pound say he'll have to study some Greek to write the poem, but so will the reader.) I also have a fascination with what kind of book fascinates those whose minds fascinate me. Bob remained fascinated by Finnegans Wake, Ulysses and The Cantos for decades, and Tim Leary remained fascinated by Gravity's Rainbow for twenty-plus years. I would like to understand what they saw in those books.
It struck me once thinking about the Jumping Jesus Phenomena that Joyce and Pound marked the first time that people lived through an information doubling, and they created styles of writing to try to deal with that experience.