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Ulysses by James Joyce
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Ulysses (1922)

by James Joyce, Morris L. Erns (Foreword), James Joyce (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,87524796 (4.05)4 / 1254
  1. 281
    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. 91
    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. 70
    The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil (roby72)
  5. 105
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (ateolf)
  6. 51
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (roby72)
  7. 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)
  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
    J R by William Gaddis (chrisharpe)
  12. 10
    James Joyce: Portrait of a Dubliner 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.
  13. 10
    The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch (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. 21
    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.
  16. 00
    Station Island by Seamus Heaney (kara.shamy)
  17. 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.
  18. 00
    Milkbottle H by Gil Orlovitz (EnriqueFreeque)
    EnriqueFreeque: Similar kind of disjointed interiority with multiple pov's.
  19. 00
    The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch (thecoroner)
  20. 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.

(see all 27 recommendations)

1920s (13)
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English (225)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (4)  Italian (3)  Portuguese (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All (1)  Swedish (1)  All (245)
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
Had it not been for the narration, I doubt I would have enjoyed this book. I cannot give it a high rating since it was audio that saved it from one star. The final chapter was the best. I would have preferred an entire book from Molly's point of view. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
I went into this book thinking it was going to be a complete slog and I would hate it. But honestly, I wanted to know why was considered a classic. I love Ireland and this is one of the most famous pieces of literature from the country. I think I built it up as being so difficult and horrible in my mind that the reality isn’t quite as scary.

Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely a tough ride. There were sections I loved and others I really struggled with. Joyce is undeniably talented; the chapter where he walks the reader through the entire history of the English language proves that. But his style isn’t my favorite and I frequently felt lost in his ramblings.

I can’t say enough about the importance of pairing the audio version with the print. I read it that way and it helped so much! Instead of fighting through every single line, I hear a lyrical Irish voice reading the conversations to me. It brings them alive. When one person rambles on about some idea, it feels like I’m listening to a long-winded friend. Then I go back to the print version and find passages that I loved. I look at the layout of each chapter because the styles are unique.

I wasn’t a fan of every single chapter and of course it is a strange book with a lot of meandering and stream of consciousness thought, but I was expecting that. I wasn’t expecting the beautiful language or profound reflections of life and death. I particularly love the references and discussions of Shakespeare’s work in chapter 9.

There’s a lot of crass humor and sexual descriptions, so I'm not shocked that it was so frequently banned in the past. But each of those sections gives the reader a deeper view into the characters, both how they see themselves and how others see them. I'm also both impressed and often overwhelmed by how many different styles Joyce uses in his writing. Sometimes his parodying something, sometimes it fits a new narrator's point of view, etc. But it always keeps the reader on their toes.

The supplemental material in my book explains some of the background on the censorship of the book and includes a letter from Joyce to his Random House publisher. It also includes the monumental 1933 decision to stop people from banning the book in America. The ruling changed the way censorship was approached in our country.

I absolutely loved some of the comments from Judge M. Woolsey, the man who made the decision. To me, his summary of the book captures so many of my feelings perfectly.

“Ulysses is not an easy book to read or to understand. But there has been much written about it, and in order properly to approach the consideration of it it is advisable to read a number of other books which have now become it’s satellites. The study of Ulysses is, therefore, a heavy task. The reputation of Ulysses in the literary world, however, warranted my taking such time as was necessary to enable me to satisfy myself as to the intent with which the book was written.

It is brilliant and dull, intelligible and obscure by turns. In many places it seems to me to be disgusting, but although it contains, as I have mentioned above, many words usually considered dirty, I have not found anything that I consider to be dirt for dirt’s sake.

Joyce has attempted — it seems to me, with astonishing success — to show how the screen of consciousness with its ever-shifting kaleidoscopic impressions carries, as it were on a plastic palimpsest, not only what is in the focus of each man’s observation of the actual things about him, but also in a penumbral zone residua of past impressions, some recent and some drawn up by association from the domain of the subconscious. He shows how each of these impressions affects the life and behavior of the character which he is describing.”

------------------------------------

The very final episode of the book is a crazy onslaught of thoughts from Bloom’s wife Molly’s point of view. She flits from thing to the next with no real pattern. She is just thinking, so her thoughts are unfiltered. It’s oddly refreshing even if it’s hard to follow. How many of us have had the same thing happen as we randomly think about our day? I could immediately relate.

Joyce’s honesty his characters really struck me in the final few chapters. He writes about Bloom’s flaws and fetishes in detail, something that just wasn’t done before. Yet by the close of the book you feel a bit hopeful about his marriage. There was something powerful about that. No matter how gross or strange Bloom was, he might have found his equal in his wife Molly.

BOTTOM LINE: Reading Ulysses was an experience. I struggled with it. I was blown away by the lovely language at times and at others I was completely weirded out. I can’t really compare it to anything else and that alone makes it a unique book. I am so glad I read it and I also don’t think I will ever read it again!

“I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and one livid final flame. What’s left of us then?”

“Here also over these craven hearts his shadow lies and on the scoffer’s heart and lips and on mine. It lies upon their eager faces who offered him a coin of the tribute.”

"Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves".
“Still you learn something. See ourselves as others see us.”

“Life, love, voyage round your own little world.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Mar 21, 2018 |
I have come to my own conclusion that this book is like being presented with a puzzle. Perhaps more like a crossword puzzle. The fun, apparently, is in deciphering it. It has taken me a very long time to work through the book using a combination of Wikipedia and an ebook version with “Whispersync” in order to have someone smarter than me figuring out the lack of punctuation. I’m not going to give up. After a (long) break from it, I will attempt a further investigation via an annotated version. Maybe. ( )
1 vote LeonG | Feb 17, 2018 |
I read this in college, first as an English major and then as a grad student. Sure, I must have read it 3 times before I finally understood what was going on, and OK, I had to come equipped with piles of secondary sources (annotations, plot guides, books of critical essays), BUT once I appreciated it, I was blown away by Joyce's erudition and skill. To give you a flavor of the work, there's a whole chapter where two men are waiting for one man's wife to give birth. They're just talking, in a rather strange way, but as they talk the language changes, and you realize you're witnessing the birth of the English language itself. It starts in Old English, as I recall, and goes through all the various stages of the language (including Middle English, Latinate English, Elizabethan, 18th century, 19th century, modern), and ends in Irish pub slang, as if that's the culmination of all those centuries of linguistic development. It's just brilliantly done. ( )
1 vote MichaelBarsa | Dec 17, 2017 |
So, god-damned long! However, I must say some elements of this book are pure genius. ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
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 (63 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joyce, Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erns, Morris L.Forewordmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Joyce, JamesAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Berkel, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bindervoet, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brandt, MatthiasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buhlert, KlausDirectorsecondary 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
Watts, CedricIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wollschläger, HansÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolsey, John M.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zischler, HannsNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Canonical title
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Important events
Related movies
Bloom ( [2003]IMDb)
Awards and honors
Epigraph
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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.
Quotations
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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Haiku summary
Grad student door stop.
Tree that I would never see
One hand clapping ‘yes’.
(SomeGuyInVirginia)

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.

» see all 33 descriptions

Legacy Library: James Joyce

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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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