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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 (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,880 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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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Why do people who don't like Ulysses always lambaste those who do? You have every right to like and dislike what you please, and so do I. Why the name calling? I wouldn't call myself an intellectual and I'm certainly no "literary luminary," but I love the book. For me, it's not about mythic parallels or stylistic experimentation or esoteric theories of art-it's about the richness, the absolute miracle, of human experience. Whatever else you can say about Joyce's intent, he wanted to show us life. And every time, for example, Bloom wonders whether black reflects or refracts light, I see life-the sort of life (banal, uncertain, driven by the demands of the flesh, often a joy, sometimes thankfully relieved by humor) that I live. Joyce (I think) succeeded in giving us a very simple but profound truth: every moment of life is sacred. Eternity, heaven and hell, God, the whole shebang, are right here around and within us all the time. And we spend 99% of our time distracting ourselves in one way or other.
Bring your sense of humor! (it's supposed to be a comedy), and a little patience. The more you read it, the more you get out of it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bressie on October 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I not only read this book, I was taught it. It was the subject of my thesis at Berkeley. However, I would not presume to know a great deal about it. I think I will learn even more the next time I read it.
Is it the greatest novel ever? Big question. I haven't read every novel, so I can't say. It's the best novel I have ever read.
The novel is much deeper than most people believe. I would think to read it on the surface level only would be pretty boring, except for the lyrical style. But the real brilliance lies in his intertwining several allegorical levels with the action (if it can be called that). Too complicated to go into.
Suffice it to say this book is about Everything! and Everyone! The universe contained in one ordinary man in one ordinary city on one ordinary day. We are all warriors and adventurers while at the same time stepped on by cowards and beat up by triviality. We are Leopold Bloom. Didn't you know?
Apart from the mind bending, headache inducing allegory, what sets Joyce apart from other twentieth century novelists is the way he makes the English language into music. Joyce truly exhibits the shear beauty of words, creating nothing less than a symphony filled with harmony, dissonance, rythym and syncopation, noise, peace, passion, hopelessness, beauty, and terror that you can hear if you listen and if you let your mind let the words pierce that well disguised wall of cynicism.
It's a romantic adventure about the best and the worst in all of us.
Helps if you read it with the New Bloomsday Book. Hard to make it through it without it.
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