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Ulysses (The Gabler Edition) Paperback – May 12, 1986

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Ulysses (The Gabler Edition) + Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses + The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses (Routledge International Studies in)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ulysses will immortalize its author with the same certainty that Gargantua immortalized Rabelais, and The Brothers Karamazov immortalized Dostoyevsky.... It comes nearer to being the perfect revelation of a personality than any book in existence."
-The New York Times

"To my mind one of the most significant and beautiful books of our time."
-Gilbert Seldes, in The Nation

"Talk about understanding "feminine psychology"-- I have never read anything to surpass it, and I doubt if I have ever read anything to equal it."
-Arnold Bennett

"In the last pages of the book, Joyce soars to such rhapsodies of beauty as have probably never been equaled in English prose fiction."
-Edmund Wilson, in The New Republic

From the Inside Flap

Considered the greatest 20th century novel written in English, in this edition Walter Gabler uncovers previously unseen text. It is a disillusioned study of estrangement, paralysis and the disintegration of society.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (May 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394743121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394743127
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,062 of 1,128 people found the following review helpful By "lexo-2x" on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ulysses is one of those big, mad bellwethers of a book that X will tell you is the biggest, best, most important blah blah blah and Y will tell you is a load of badly written tripe. Neither X nor Y tend to notice that the book consciously encourages both responses...but, well, I'll get back to the academic riffing in a minute.
I first tried to read Ulysses aged about 14 (I was an annoying little boy that way) and didn't get very far. The first three chapters are set in and around the mind of Stephen Dedalus, one of the most ridiculously clever and over-educated characters ever conceived, as he takes breakfast with some friends, teaches in a school some miles south of Dublin and walks along a beach. Along the way, his mind ruminates on subjects as diverse as 16th century underworld slang, his dead mother, and something he calls "the ineluctable modality of the visible" which I'm still struggling with. But he's a curiously ambiguous character, this Stephen; he fancies himself as a poet and rebel but when, on the beach, he picks his nose, he has a quick look around to see that nobody's watching before he smears the snot on a rock. (Joyce likes to poke fun at pretension this way - although he doesn't suggest that Stephen's ideas or rebel stance are completely hollow, either.)
The 14-year-old me didn't get that far. I gave up. It wasn't until I was 19 or so that I got as far as chapter four and encountered a Mr. Bloom, pottering around the kitchen making breakfast, that I started to get a grip. Bloom is one of the most likeable characters in fiction. He's a quiet, rather shy, oddly intelligent advertising salesman married to a voluptuous siren of a wife, Molly.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Greek hero Ulysses (aka Odysseus in The Odyssey) is on his way home from the victorious Trojan War. He has to pass through many dangers, including the cave of the giant one-eyed cyclops and the magical woman who turns men into pigs, before he can return home to his faithful wife and free her from her unwanted suitors.
Well, not exactly, as the car rental commercials say. Our hero is Leo Bloom, a Jew in Ireland married to an Irish sexpot named Mollie. The evil cyclops awaiting Leo is a big one-eyed antisemite, and the cave is a bar. The woman who turns men into pigs is a dominatrix. The faithful wife is in bed right now with a man named Blazes Boylan. And our droll hero is avoiding home because he gets a perverse pleasure out of the whole situation.
Then there's the language of James Joyce. Buss her, wap in rogue's rum lingo, for, O, my dimber wapping dell. isn't whether or not to get the Cliff Notes, the question is which to read first, one chapter at a time, the book or the explanation. If you read the book first, you're giving yourself the chance to get it yourself. If you read the notes first, you'll have a much better idea what you're reading.
In a book that sometimes makes you dislike humanity, as when some stupid antisemite (there are many, in fact almost everyone) gives Leo a little dig, the single most beautiful moment comes in the 14th chapter. I'm not referring to Send us, bright one, light one, Horhorn, quickening and wombfruit, or to Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa! The most beautiful writing in the book is when Mrs Purefoy has her baby.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I think there is one sentence in Ulysses that sums up Joyce's intention perfectly: "Any object, intensely regarded, may be a gate of access to the incorruptible eon of the gods."
This really is a great book, full of humor and insight and what I can only describe as those little sparks of recognition you get when you see your own life in great literature. And I think it even has something akin to a real spiritual revelation we desperately need in the West (see the quote above). But there's no denying that Joyce was a sadist, linguistically speaking. Like all Irish writers I've ever read about, Joyce had mixed feelings about English. It was not his true native language and, while he loved it, he was always knew that it was a kind of shackle on his country. The issue comes up in A Portrait (when young Stephen bristles that he knows the language better than the English priest who's teaching it) and it reappears very early in Ulysses.
At breakfast, Haines confounds the old milk woman with his speech in Irish (it's French, for all she knows). In his mind, Stephen associates the old woman with all of Ireland, and Haines' command of the Irish language is emblematic of his status as conqueror (he's conquered the land and assimilated the language, and now he's come to plunder the culture! Haines is in Ireland to collect folk tales). Joyce may not have embraced the Irish cause like many of his contemporaries, but he had his own more subtle form of revolt. He wanted to bind the English speaking world with one of it's own shackles. In Richard Ellman's biography, someone tells Joyce he demands too much of his readers. He flatly replies that his only demand was that his readers spend their whole lives reading him. He wanted to make us all slaves!
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