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Ulysses by James Joyce

Ulysses (1922)

by James Joyce

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,235253125 (4.04)4 / 1276
  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. 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.
  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. 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)
  14. 10
    The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch (chrisharpe)
  15. 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.
  16. 00
    Station Island by Seamus Heaney (kara.shamy)
  17. 00
    The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch (thecoroner)
  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
    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Othemts)
  20. 00
    Milkbottle H by Gil Orlovitz (EnriqueFreeque)
    EnriqueFreeque: Similar kind of disjointed interiority with multiple pov's.

(see all 28 recommendations)

1920s (13)

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English (232)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (4)  Italian (3)  Portuguese (2)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (253)
Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
I signed up for a lecture on how to enjoy reading Ulysses, and eagerly bought the book. I decided to start reading a few pages before the lecture....got to page 60 (of 933) and was notified that the seminar was cancelled! Nonetheless, I decided to proceed without professional help.

The novel takes place over a single day as we follow Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dadelus on their meanderings in Dublin. There isn't much plot; the book is a character study of Bloom, modeled after Odysseus, and also an exploration of writing techniques to show how different ways of telling a story change the perspective of the reader and the characters themselves. It was more enjoyable than I'd expected and, several days having passed since I finished it, I am still coming to appreciate aspects of Leopold Bloom's character that I may have missed. Hard to rate....it's a masterpiece of style for sure, but sometimes confusing and so long! ( )
  LynnB | Oct 15, 2018 |
"A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are portals of discovery."

This novel has a remarkably simple story. It traces the paths of two characters on a single day in 1904 Dublin. Leopold Bloom, a middle-aged, Jewish man and Stephen Daedalus, a young intellectual.

Bloom spends the day in the knowledge that his wife, Molly, is probably spending her day at home entertaining her lover. He spends the morning attending the funeral of a friend who had died suddenly whilst Stephen in contrast, spends his morning teaching before moving on to a newspaper office, a public library and finally a maternity ward where the two men's paths cross. Stephen invites Bloom to join him and some friends on a drunken spree, visiting a notorious brothel along the way and ends with Bloom inviting him back to his house, where they spend a number of hours talking and drinking coffee.

In the final chapter, Bloom slips back into bed with his wife, Molly, and we get a final monologue from her point of view.

This book is a notoriously difficult read and in fact resides in number 1 position on Goodreads '100 most difficult books to finish list'. It is not it's length, nearly 700 pages in my case, but Joyce's writing style that makes it so much hard work. In fact I was tempted on more than one occasion to abandon it. Firstly it is largely written in a stream-of-consciousness manner which whilst allowing the author to portray a unique perspective on the events, it also requires a fair bit of concentration and perseverance.

But Joyce isn't content with finishing there. He also employs several other narrative and linguistic techniques. For example, he employs phonic representation in one chapter whilst another is laid out like a play. Joyce is trying to show is that there are more than one way to tell a story. The final chapter returns to the stream-of-consciousness process and is virtually devoid of any punctuation marks.

Ulysses's experimental literary structure makes it a powerful but also incredibly taxing piece of work and whilst I am glad that I finally got around to reading I cannot in truth say that I particularly enjoyed it. ( )
1 vote PilgrimJess | Oct 1, 2018 |
This was also required reading for high school, but somehow I got away with only reading the 1st page. I should probably try this again someday.
  aratiel | Sep 5, 2018 |
I started off thinking Ulysses was a pile of incoherent drivel, even though I'd never got past the first page. At 20 I would sit in the uni bar getting pissed and slagging off literary types and lecturers who mentioned it (some of them were pretentious posers; some of them weren't). At 30 I decided to put up or shut up by actually reading it so that I could explain why it was incoherent drivel. The result was that I was drawn into it and have read it five times cover-to-cover. Like a lot of challenging literature, it requires a bit of life experience to get into.

The funniest bit in 'Ulysses' is when he's browsing a second hand book store for a book for his wife. As nice as she is, Bloom obviously knows she's not really on his intellectual/reading level. He decides to look for the kind of romance, Mills&Boon, type books for her. In the whole novel of course, the narrative style has it that the description of action, his thoughts, what he's reading, and his speech are all rolled together in the same syntax. So it's funny when he comes across a book, flicks to a random page and it says something like 'and she wore her finest gowns for him, she would do anything, for Raoul', and he just pisses himself, deciding there and then:

“This is it. This is the book. This one.”

Then a few pages later, the quote crops up again in his mind (much like things come back to us after a while when doing something completely unrelated) and he laughs about it again. A very interesting outline of the psychological process.

Random thoughts:

- Interestingly enough, Joyce was very influenced in on the porno-lit side, by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch's Venus im Pelz. Joyce was a diagnosed schizo, which disease, at the beginning, made for one of the world's great Kustwerke, Ulysses, but in its way-out stages made for his garbled nonsense, "Finnegans Wake", as well. There is, really, too much of a good thing. Too much mouse running up your clock, jumbles up your hickorydickory beyond comprehension;

- To me "Ulysses" is still the #1 laugh-out-loud novel of all time, worth every minute of effort---and the best critical intro is still Ellmann's relatively small but high-impact "Ulysses on the Liffey." Read that first and you'll instantly enjoy 90% of the tough parts. Still laughing about the Irishman dragged away for setting a cathedral on fire. "I'm bloody sorry I did it," says he, "but I declare to God I thought the archbishop was in there."

- How could you not love Leopold Bloom? He talks to his cat. He eats with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls, which "give to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine". He wonders if it would be possible to cross Dublin without passing a pub. He surreptitiously observes the marble goddesses in the lobby of the National Museum to see if they have anuses. He buys pornographic novels for his wife, masturbates on a public beach without getting caught, and picks the winner at Ascot without even trying. The most endearing character in all literature. ( )
1 vote antao | Aug 19, 2018 |
The life of the everyman in a single day in Dublin is the basic premise of James Joyce’s Ulysses, yet this is an oversimplification of the much deeper work that if you are not careful can quickly spiral down into a black hole of fruitless guesswork and analysis of what you are reading.

Joyce’s groundbreaking work is a parallel to Homer’s The Odyssey though in a modernist style that was defined by Joyce in this novel. Though the primary character is Leonard Bloom, several other important secondary characters each take their turn in the spotlight but it is Bloom that the day revolves around. However any echoes of Homer are many times hidden behind Joyce verbosity and stream-of-conscious writing that at times makes sense and at times completely baffles you. Even with a little preparation the scale of what Joyce forces the reader to think about is overwhelming and frankly if you’re not careful, quickly derails your reading of the book until its better just to start skimming until the experience mercifully ends.

While my experience and opinion of this work might be lambasted by more literary intelligent reviewers, I would like to caution those casual readers like myself who think they might be ready to tackle this book. Read other modernist authors like Conrad, Kafka, Woolf, Lawrence, and Faulkner whose works before and after the publication of Ulysses share the same literary movement but are not it’s definitive work. ( )
  mattries37315 | Jul 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 232 (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 authorsome 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
Original title
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Important places
Important events
Related movies
Bloom ( [2003]IMDb)
Awards and honors
First words
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.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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Canonical DDC/MDS
Book description
Haiku summary
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.

» see all 34 descriptions

Legacy Library: James Joyce

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See James Joyce's legacy profile.

See James Joyce's author page.

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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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