A Portrait of the Artist In Progress

I’ve been reading A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man and have mentioned to a few people that I don’t quite get it. In truth, I still don’t think I get the whole “greatest novel of all time” bit, but I came across a paragraph that puts the Joyce-worship in a better context:

“Words. Was it their colours? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue and hue: sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves, the grey-fringed fleece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it was the poise and balance of the period itself. Did he then love the rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy of mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowing sensible world through the prism of a language many-coloured and richly storied than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid simple prose?”