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Ulysses (1922)

by James Joyce

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,342285134 (4.03)4 / 1377
Presents a recording of the novel which describes the adventures and exploits of Leopold Bloom as he wanders through Dublin on a single day, June 16, 1904. Set within the context of Homer's Odyssey, Joyce uses stream of consciousness as a literary device to illuminate the internal thoughts of Bloom, his wife, Molly, and other assorted characters.… (more)
  1. 291
    The Odyssey by Homer (_eskarina, chrisharpe)
    _eskarina: Joyce himself recommended Homer's epos to get better insight and understanding of Ulysses.
  2. 200
    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. 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. 51
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (roby72)
  8. 41
    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.
  9. 41
    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)
  10. 52
    The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (roby72)
  11. 31
    To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (ateolf)
  12. 20
    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.
  13. 10
    J R by William Gaddis (chrisharpe)
  14. 10
    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Othemts)
  15. 10
    Omeros by Derek Walcott (TheLittlePhrase)
  16. 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.
  17. 10
    The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch (chrisharpe)
  18. 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.
  19. 11
    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.
  20. 11
    The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (chwiggy)

(see all 30 recommendations)

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English (252)  Spanish (8)  Italian (5)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Catalan (3)  French (2)  Portuguese (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (285)
Showing 1-5 of 252 (next | show all)
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
One of the hardest, most confounding books I've read. Brilliant in places, maddening and silly and boring in others. Like good medicine that tastes bad; I see why it's great literature, but there are very large chunks of it that I can't say I like very much at all. I can't really say I liked it, but I recognize its worth. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
This novel is mind-boggling.

It took me more than six months to read it, together with most of Shmoop's notes and analyses of chapters, themes and trivia. If you are going to read Ulysses, make yourself a favour and plough through it with a good companion text at hand from day one. Shmoop is not exactly an oracle of rigour and scholarship — but I found their informal guide surprisingly thorough and well researched; if you want something more serious, use [b: Ulysses Annotated|10543|Ulysses Annotated|Don Gifford|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1166254003s/10543.jpg|13227]. I think a reference or summary for Ulysses is essential if, like me, you are not a native English speaker: I would have missed lots of details in the action and many allusions, subtleties and puns without it.

This is probably the most difficult text I have ever read. I had hard times with other books in their original language many times before (Il pendolo di Foucault, Il Principe, Heart of Darkness, The Lord of the Rings back when my English wasn't very good…) or even written in my mother tongue (Don Quijote with its 600 pages of Golden Age Spanish). But Ulysses is something entirely different.

Reading The Origin of Species or The Name of the Rose and finding those books difficult, then opening Ulysses — that feels to me like studying English or Italian and feeling frustrated because one is making very slow progress, then trying to learn German or Japanese. That gives one some perspective!

Another piece of advice: read at least these books, and in this order, before attempting Ulysses: The IliadThe OdysseyHamlet. Of these, Hamlet is the least necessary: there are references to it (and to other works by Shakespeare) in Ulysses, but they are concentrated in a few chapters, and aren't essential to enjoying the novel. If you have time for one prerequisite book only, make it The Odyssey; it's the most important one and it is honoured, reworked and parodied endlessly in the novel, from cover to cover, starting with the title “Ulysses” itself.

I was a good boy, and did all that: I came to Ulysses having read those other books, and with the introductory Shmoop pages well digested and the Shmoop summary and analysis for each chapter in my bookmarks. I was prepared to be patient with the novel, and decided to overcome the frustration that I anticipated at a text that I imagined dark, baroque, dense.

In the end there was some of that, yes (patience and frustration), but less than I imagined. Barring the plethora of obscure allusions to Irish historical figures, place names, games and slang… the many quotes and verses in different languages (Latin, Gaelic, German, Italian, French, Spanish)… etc, most of my hours with Ulysses were of surprise, admiration, laughter, curiosity and emotion.

Joyce is an erudite reader and a virtuoso of language who spent seven years deliberately composing a masterpiece teeming with innovative ideas and playful devices that would dazzle readers forever. If ever a writer and his literary project were to achieve something amazing, that was it.

You can read about the many incredible stylistic inventions in Ulysses elsewhere (the stream-of-consciousness thing; the last chapter being entirely an internal monologue rendered in the form of just eight sentences without any punctuation at all; another chapter written as a catechism; all the unfinished, impossible-to-parse sentences and made-up words; and so on). I will just say that in spite of all these barriers (and like they say in Shmoop), Joyce's characters are alive. One can smell Bloom, hear Stephen, touch Molly. Love Stephen, pity Molly, despise Bloom.

Never before had I been so intimate with the character of a novel. I was overwhelmed by their humanity, their weaknesses, their animal instincts and their absolute love (for literature, for reason, for one another, for life). Joyce has written a comprehensive catalogue of all their neuroses, dreams, fancies, memories and small-mindedness (as well as their mundane actions, guilty pleasures and bodily functions and humours). As a reader, you are privy to their most basic impulses and thoughts. You love them like you love your family and your close friends: via intimate knowledge of most of their flaws and peculiarities.

Ulysses is pornographic, disgusting, touching, sincere, credible. And it is funny sometimes, very funny; and so clever in all the parodies and hyperboles. Episode 15, “Circe”, I found savagely clever, irreverent and hilarious. I had so much fun with that one that I was pointing my finger at the (virtual) page with eyes wide open, and laughing out loud.

Ulysses is something quite different of what I was expecting. It's not the heavy, pompous, highbrowed exercise I thought. Rather, it's the answer to the question: “what would an epic novel be like, if its subject were mundane people going about their daily lives, and one wrote it full of compassion towards those characters but also with radical honesty, with immense erudition, and with no prejudices about how language should be used?”

Definitely worth the effort. Read it. ( )
1 vote tripu.info | Jan 5, 2021 |
It’s sad to read a book that is as relevant today as it was over 100 years ago. Whilst the sexual imagery may no longer be so shocking, the rather unsubtle bashing of those of the Jewish persuasion may be more of a surprise. What’s more disturbing is that this feels quite familiar — I read similar comments on news articles everyday, except we’ve shifted our hatred towards one of the younger Abrahamic religions.

The story itself is rather empty with thoughts of death (Dignam’s funeral), sex (Molly’s affair), and loneliness (partying with Stephen) reigning supreme; quite standard for your average homo sapiens. This rather dull, but unconventionally recorded, day gives way to actually quite human characters — something I’ve struggled to find in classics. This is especially true of Bloom; we feel his hunger, desires, anxieties, hypocrisies, his bowel movement…

Whilst Ulysses may be the work of a genius, it’s a frustrating enough read that I would only recommend it to people I truly despise. Each episode is unique in its style, which, although initially exciting and refreshing, grows stale. It’s as though Joyce knew exactly how long to make each episode, and then extended it by 25%-50%, becoming the first and only author to literally murder through the written word. So after taking about three months of my reading time, which makes me feel both stupid and superior compared to the humans who haven’t had their brains eaten out with a spoon by Joyce, Ulysses deserves a decidedly average rating. ( )
1 vote meerapatel | Dec 29, 2020 |
The most surprising thing about the book was how modern it seemed - all other books I've read from that period gave a false impression of how different people were but this reveals the lie and shows how familiar and easily relatable people living a century ago were.
The story itself is not particularly interesting, being an extremely muddled (more about this in a moment) retelling of a day in a life of a 19th century advertising agent, a likeable but sad, serially cuckolded by his wife, timid man and a few other incidental characters. The conspicuously eventful day gives a unique general snapshot of life in Dublin which makes for a valuable record regardless of how fantastical the prose is.
What I didn't appreciate was the style it's written in which I understand was a bit of an experiment and I don't think it proved successful given how the style hasn't not taken off all that much since. The signal-to-noise ratio is so low that you can read *anything* you want in the book and be right. It's a bit like the bible code - given enough material to work with you can prove it contains any message you want. And there is plenty of material here as almost every sentence is bordering on gibberish and ambiguity abounds and I don't think this technique really adds anything to the story. In the end it's almost not worth the effort. I'm sure the author enjoyed himself immensely writing this but from a reader's perspective I'd rather optimise for information retrieval. You could've captured all the information using more structured prose which can be beautiful too, given enough effort. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 252 (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 (214 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joyce, Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erns, Morris L.Forewordmain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andersson, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aubert, JacquesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berkel, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bindervoet, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brandt, MatthiasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buhlert, KlausDirectorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Claes, PaulTranslatorsecondary 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
Joyce, Stephen JamesPrefacesecondary 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
Nys, MonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paladino, MimmoIllustratorsecondary 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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Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.
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.
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Canonical DDC/MDS
Presents a recording of the novel which describes the adventures and exploits of Leopold Bloom as he wanders through Dublin on a single day, June 16, 1904. Set within the context of Homer's Odyssey, Joyce uses stream of consciousness as a literary device to illuminate the internal thoughts of Bloom, his wife, Molly, and other assorted characters.

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Haiku summary
Grad student door stop.
Tree that I would never see
One hand clapping ‘yes’.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182806, 0141197412


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