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Ulysses by James Joyce

Ulysses (1922)

by James Joyce

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,014222111 (4.05)4 / 1131
  1. 261
    The Odyssey by Homer (_eskarina, chrisharpe)
    _eskarina: Joyce himself recommended Homer's epos to get better insight and understanding of Ulysses.
  2. 190
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (ZenMaintenance)
  3. 80
    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (browner56)
    browner56: You will either love them both or hate them both, but you will probably need a reader's guide to get through either one--I know I did.
  4. 60
    The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil (roby72)
  5. 104
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (ateolf)
  6. 40
    The Bloomsday Book by Harry Blamires (bokai)
    bokai: The Bloomsday Book is a book length summary of James Joyce's Ulysses. It informs the reader of the general plot, of particular references in Ulysses to events in other books (most usually Dubliners)and includes a minimum of commentary, usually focusing on the religious aspects of the novel. For someone reading Ulysses with a limited knowledge of Joyce, Ireland, or Catholicism, this book may be the deciding factor in their enjoyment of the novel itself.… (more)
  7. 41
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (roby72)
  8. 52
    The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (roby72)
  9. 31
    To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (ateolf)
  10. 10
    The most dangerous book: the battle for James Joyce's Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: The (Non-fiction) story behind the novel's publication and its struggles with censorship.
  11. 10
    Dublinés by Alfonso Zapico (drasvola)
    drasvola: This book is a graphic narration of Joyce's life. It's in Spanish. Very well done and informative about Joyce's troubled relation with society, his work and family relationships.
  12. 10
    Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin (rrmmff2000)
    rrmmff2000: Both books of a man in a city, celebrating human life in all its variety, and revelling in language.
  13. 10
    J R by William Gaddis (chrisharpe)
  14. 21
    Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach (andejons)
    andejons: For those who want to read about how the book was published (and other details about Joyce's life in Paris)
  15. 10
    The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch (chrisharpe)
  16. 00
    The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch (thecoroner)
  17. 00
    Station Island by Seamus Heaney (kara.shamy)
  18. 00
    Modernism: The Lure of Heresy by Peter Gay (charlie68, charlie68)
    charlie68: Book has section on Modernism in literature that includes a section on Ulysses.
    charlie68: A section deals in criticism of James Joyce and specifically Ulysses.
  19. 00
    La Medusa by Vanessa Place (fuguette)
    fuguette: Place's work is a free-form experiment tracking the depraved, obsessive, unfiltered thoughts of her characters.
  20. 00
    Milkbottle H by Gil Orlovitz (EnriqueFreeque)
    EnriqueFreeque: Similar kind of disjointed interiority with multiple pov's.

(see all 26 recommendations)

1920s (15)
1910s (52)

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English (207)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (221)
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
Not sure what to make of this one...much more difficult to follow and stay with through its rambling parts than other Joyce novels. I think this would be much more interesting in a classroom or discussion group setting. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Not sure what to make of this one...much more difficult to follow and stay with through its rambling parts than other Joyce novels. I think this would be much more interesting in a classroom or discussion group setting. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
I have been listening to Ulysses off and on for 6 months and I must say that I did enjoy it very much. I may not have understood most of what I was reading but I did enjoy the poetry, the music, the monologues and the characters. It was funny, sad, lyrical, crude, sensitive and blunt. It is a novel that should be read many times and hopefully when I read it again, it will make a little more sense to me. If you haven't read it yet, I suggest you give it a try. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
Ulysses by James Joyce
4 stars (2 stars for enjoyment).
Ulysses is considered to THE modernist novel. Divided into 18 episodes, the novel is a reworking of Homer’s the Odyssey. Events and characters from the Odyssey transformed into events and characters within a 24-hour period in Dublin in the early 1900s. The majority of the novel uses stream-of-consciousness and follows Leopard Bloom who represents Odysseus. However, each episode uses a different type of technique and much of it seems chaotic and unstructured on first read. Within the book you’ll find an episode written in the style of play, one episode written as a series of questions and answers, one written as a series of hallucinations, one in a pompous, old fashioned style, and one episode representing the gestation of the English language --where Joyce starts of with more archaic styles then ends with slang all within the same chapter.

Overall the book is broken into three parts. The first part represents Telemachus and the suitors and events that occur focus on Stephen Dedalus (from Portrait of the Artist) and center on his stream of conscious. Stephen of course represents Telemachus. Stephen is the most challenging character to follow. His thoughts are highly intellectual and his musings focus on musings about religion, philosophy, aesthetics, and Ireland.

The second section represents the travels of Odysseus who is represented by Leopard Bloom. Bloom is much more practical and thus following his stream of conscious is much easier than following Stephen. Bloom is a 38-year old advertising salesman, son of an Hungarian Jewish father and Irish Catholic mother. He is married to Molly Bloom whom he fears is having an affair.

The final three episodes represent Odysseus’ homecoming and the final chapter is told from the stream of consciousness of Leopold’s wife Molly who represents Penelope. Overall, not much happens in the way of plot. This book is mostly about characters and their thoughts.

On my fourth attempt to read this book, I have finally succeeded! The attempt was torturous. People aren’t kidding when they say this is one of the hardest books to read. There were times when I wanted to throw the book in the trash and other times that I was amused or impressed. I was appreciative of all the effort and intelligence of the author, however, I found it all rather pretentious. There is no way for the modern reader to really be able to understand this book without significant guidance. The book is so filled with literary references, Irish slang, political and religious references, and stylistic switches that in order to understand even a small fraction, you need a guide to help you. I read this book with the Gifford guide (a lifesaver) and also reread the Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and the Odyssey. Even then, I still only understood a fraction. In addition, some chapters have almost no punctuation and make no distinction between stream of consciousness and external dialogue, rending it all very difficult even for those readers who do understand all the references.

Ulysses is a book best tackled in a college course where you can dedicate the time to analysis and bring in outside reading. But, that’s precisely what’s so obnoxious about the whole thing. I dislike authors whose writing seems to scream “look at me, I’m so smart and clever.” Joyce once said that he purposely wrote Ulysses in a way to keep professors busy for centuries. Is that really such a good thing? I think good fiction books are those that are at least partially accessible to the average reader and at a minimum to the serious reader. Books shouldn’t be written only to be understood by college professors.

What I did like about this book: 1) the very rich detail about Dublin and the local neighborhoods. There’s no question that in reading this book you feel immersed in Dublin. In fact the guide (Gifford’s guide) will provide you with a map for each episode and you can literally trace the characters’ steps through Dublin; 2) the moments of humor. There’s a lot of humor in the book. I did laugh at many moments; 3) Bloom. I liked Bloom and found his thoughts funny. Character development was amazing especially since you live instead the characters heads throughout the novel; and 4) the lyrical passages. Many passages are beautiful. Some are worth listening to or reading aloud just to hear the rhythm of the words.

So in sum, I enjoyed moments and I recognize the intelligence and skill of the author, but for the most part I did not enjoy reading this book. I would not recommend this book to anyone unless they were reading it within a structured university setting (preferably a graduate school setting). If you do insist on reading it, below are my suggestions.

1. Get the audio by Jim Norton and read along with the narrators. Norton is fabulous and hearing it helps break up some of the text and also lets you hear some of the beautiful lyrical parts.
2. Get the Gifford guide (or any other guide). There’s debate about whether your first read should be with the guide. My experience was that I needed to guide to make sense of any of it. Some episodes are easier than others, but there are some episodes when I basically had to look up every other word in order to understand the meaning – not the definitional meaning but rather the fact that words, phrases, sentences basically had religious, philosophical, literary meaning that you don’t always pick up on.
3. Read the Odyssey first. If you’re not familiar with the Odyssey, you’ll miss out on all the most important references
4. Other books to consider (for a full understanding): A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Dubliners, Hamlet, works of Yeats. Of course it would help if you are familiar with Catholic doctrine and major ideas of Aristotle & Plato.
5. Read a little about the history of Ireland in particular about Parnell.
6. Allow yourself to keep reading even if some passages seem like gibberish to you. Three chapters in particular are excruciatingly difficult. Yet, if you stick with it you’re rewarded with several easier (although it’s all relative) episodes.
( )
1 vote JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
304) Ulysses James Joyce

This was a hard book to rate so here is how I arrived at 3 stars, there are sections I hated that were definitely 2 star sections and then there were sections I really enjoyed, sometimes a stray quote in a section I hated and in the case of Ithaca a whole section, these parts were 4 star reads so averaging it out makes 3 stars.

I decided to tackle this book without doing any background reading, I figure you should be able to pick up a book and be able to read and understand it without guidance in this case I was wrong I ended up reading a chapter summary on Wiki and then reading the chapter to see if I could follow it, I made it to the end of the book but I can honestly say I have not a clue what was going on, it is not a whole cohesive story.

As a brief summary the novel tells the story of a day in Dublin from the point of views of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom and that is a much of a storyline as there is, in this largely stream of consciousness book.

What amused me was reading this on Kindle you are shown popular highlights for the first 25% there are highlights added and then from that point on nothing, and I mean nothing, until I added my highlights I guess that tells you how many people make it through this book as the later sections are so quotable I can believe nobody else liked any other quotes as they were going along.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
A few intuitive, sensitive visionaries may understand and comprehend "Ulysses," James Joyce's new and mammoth volume, without going through a course of training or instruction, but the average intelligent reader will glean little or nothing from it- even from careful perusal, one might properly say study, of it- save bewilderment and a sense of disgust. It should be companioned with a key and a glossary like the Berlitz books. Then the attentive and diligent reader would eventually get some comprehension of Mr. Joyce's message.
For readers to whom books are an important means of learning about life, it stands preeminent above modern rivals as one of the most monumental works of the human intelligence.
added by Shortride | editTime (Jan 29, 1934)
During the one exciting day in Dublin, Joyce turns the mind of Bloom inside out. The history of Ireland comes to us in refracted rays. Through Stephen Dedalus we are introduced to Joyce's own profound spiritual uneasiness, his sense of loss, his hatred of the pragmatic commercial ethic, his need for the moorings and soundings of the medieval Catholic synthesis, his mental honesty that won't permit him to accept a religion, no matter what its appeal, so long as his intelligence tells him it is a figment of dream.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, John Chamberlain (pay site) (Jan 25, 1934)

» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joyce, Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berkel, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bindervoet, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brandt, MatthiasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clever, EdithNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Angelis, GiulioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deutschmann, HeikkoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewey, Kenneth FrancisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellmann, RichardPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ernst, Morris L.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gabler, Hans WalterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hülsmann, IngoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henkes, Robbert-JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, JeriEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kenner, HughIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klaußner, BurghartNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koch, WolframNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kogge, ImogenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehto, LeeviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mallafrè, JoaquimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matic, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthes, UlrichNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melchior, ClausEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Milberg, AxelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noethen, UlrichNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rois, SophieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saarikoski, PenttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Samel, UdoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schüttauf, JörgNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steppe, WolfhardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tellegen, ToonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thalbach, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vandenbergh, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warburton, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wollschläger, HansÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolsey, John M.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zischler, HannsNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.
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Grad student door stop.
Tree that I would never see
One hand clapping ‘yes’.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679722769, Paperback)

Ulysses has been labeled dirty, blasphemous, and unreadable. In a famous 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolsey declared it an emetic book--although he found it sufficiently unobscene to allow its importation into the United States--and Virginia Woolf was moved to decry James Joyce's "cloacal obsession." None of these adjectives, however, do the slightest justice to the novel. To this day it remains the modernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. It is funny, sorrowful, and even (in a close-focus sort of way) suspenseful. And despite the exegetical industry that has sprung up in the last 75 years, Ulysses is also a compulsively readable book. Even the verbal vaudeville of the final chapters can be navigated with relative ease, as long as you're willing to be buffeted, tickled, challenged, and (occasionally) vexed by Joyce's sheer command of the English language.

Among other things, a novel is simply a long story, and the first question about any story is: What happens?. In the case of Ulysses, the answer might be Everything. William Blake, one of literature's sublime myopics, saw the universe in a grain of sand. Joyce saw it in Dublin, Ireland, on June 16, 1904, a day distinguished by its utter normality. Two characters, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, go about their separate business, crossing paths with a gallery of indelible Dubliners. We watch them teach, eat, stroll the streets, argue, and (in Bloom's case) masturbate. And thanks to the book's stream-of-consciousness technique--which suggests no mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river--we're privy to their thoughts, emotions, and memories. The result? Almost every variety of human experience is crammed into the accordian folds of a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimental work but the very last word in realism.

Both characters add their glorious intonations to the music of Joyce's prose. Dedalus's accent--that of a freelance aesthetician, who dabbles here and there in what we might call Early Yeats Lite--will be familiar to readers of Portrait of an Artist As a Young Man. But Bloom's wistful sensualism (and naive curiosity) is something else entirely. Seen through his eyes, a rundown corner of a Dublin graveyard is a figure for hope and hopelessness, mortality and dogged survival: "Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland's hearts and hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybody really?" --James Marcus

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:10 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

This account of several lower class citizens of Dublin describes their activities and tells what some of them were thinking one day in 1904.

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Legacy Library: James Joyce

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14 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182806, 0141197412

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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