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Ulysses [International Edition] [Paperback]

by James Joyce
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (621 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 16, 1990 0679722769 978-0679722762 Reissue
This revised volume follows the complete unabridged text as corrected in 1961. Contains the original foreword by the author and the historic court ruling to remove the federal ban. It also contains page references to the first American edition of 1934.

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Ulysses + A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Dover Thrift Editions) + Dubliners (Dover Thrift Editions)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

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 Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 783 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 16, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679722769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679722762
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (621 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(621)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
969 of 1,031 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Okay. Is it really worth it? 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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170 of 190 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mission Accomplishable September 10, 2003
Format:Paperback
O.k. to start with...for all of you out there who are interested in reading "Ulysses" but are intimidated by all of the rest of you out there who say it's unreadable, take my advice. Read this book. It's absolutely ridiculous to say this book can't be read. I can't say you're going to find it interesting or enjoyable, but you can read it.
There are people who would have you believe you have to wage a massive campaign of pre-"Ulysses" study before delving into Joyce's novel. I've heard it's necessary to read biographies of Joyce, read all of his other literature, read about the history of Dublin, read Greek mythology...even study Dublin city maps!!! Don't you believe any of this. "Ulysses" is perfectly approachable having read none of the above. I admit that reading "Portrait of the Artist" first is helpful, and at least having some passing knowledge of "The Odyssey" won't hurt, but being familiar with these other works will only help you appreciate some of Joyce's nuances. Being unfamiliar with them will not prevent you from digesting "Ulysses."
Now, for the book itself. Is "Ulysses" good? That's become an almost irrelevant question to ask. Do you have to like "Ulysses?" No. Do you have to admit that it is the greatest novel ever written? No. Anyone denying that the book was influential in altering the course of literature would just be foolish. However, I don't think "Ulysses" is the be-all and end-all of 20th Century literature, and the new ground that Joyce broke would have been broken anyway had he not done it first. He was certainly an innovator, but other authors (Faulkner comes to mind) use Joyce's modernist approach to fiction and do it better.
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99 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read this if you are a Joyce fanatic July 26, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Stuff you probably want to know:

1. It's read by two people: one guy, who does absolutely everything (including Molly) up till the last chapter, then the last chapter, which is read entirely by a woman.

2. The guy is supremely talented at reading. It's a dramatic reading, in which he imitates the voices of the others and tries to get into it. I would regard his imitation of the voices of others as supremely believable.

3. He has a light British accent (London), but switches to a convincing Irish brogue when reading straight spoken dialogue for most characters. Excellent French and Latin pronunciation. His Italian and Spanish are less successful. The woman is certifiably Irish.

4. There are no sound effects (footsteps, keys, etc.), but there are a few songs interlarded, usually at the beginning of each CD.

5. If you're a Joyce scholar, you are doubtless using the Gabler edition of 1986, WHICH WASN'T THE EDITION USED FOR THIS. I think they're actually using the 1922 edition! Anyhow, this is a constant irritant for serious Joyce fanatics, as, since you are doubtless using Gabler, there'll be something in almost every paragraph that's just a whit different. It's a constant distraction, alas!

6. He reads it a little fast for my taste (especially in Circe).

7. Yes, it is totally unabridged.

8. There are 22 CD's total.

9. You should buy it. I had read Ulysses twice before I got it, and going through it with this CD set really opened up the book to me, in a way I couldn't have gotten with any other type of ancillary aid. It was like reading the book for the first time! Wasn't so incomprehensible after all!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's A Book.
It's a Book and i really thought it was a toaster. I was really disappointed to find out that i could not toast my bread in it.
Published 1 day ago by fuzzygobble
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I read it before, and need a new copy to wear out. The best book ever written other than the Bible. My opinion though.
Published 9 days ago by fokeefe
1.0 out of 5 stars So what if aesthetically awesome and intellectually brilliant?
I cannot think about any book that was written more for the writer himself and possibly aspiring authors of future generations but with so much disregard for the interests of... Read more
Published 19 days ago by NJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A masterpiece, well worth the effort of rereading several times. Each time I read it I get more out of it. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Kristin Ohman
5.0 out of 5 stars The Onion has nothing on this. I have met The Area Man, and his name...
If you're feeling pretentious, look this book up on Wikipedia and then fake your way through some cocktail party conversations in which you utter some claptrap about allusions to... Read more
Published 21 days ago by J. LAWSON
1.0 out of 5 stars Makes No Sense
It makes no sense. I stopped reading about a fifth of the way through the book because I had no idea what it was going on.
Published 1 month ago by Kenneth R Wetzel
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing chapter breaks
Entire book is presented in only 3 distinct chapters, with no episode breaks. Makes a tough read even more difficult. At $0.99, I guess you get what you pay for. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Thomas M Hargy
1.0 out of 5 stars annotations
I could not find the annotations in the iPad so this edition was a waste for me
As I have other editions
Published 1 month ago by Mart
5.0 out of 5 stars SOME CLARITY AT LAST.
Hugh Kenner has brought much clarity to a complexity I didn't hope to make my way through without expert guidance.
Published 1 month ago by Kenneth D. Luedeke
5.0 out of 5 stars Came on time as described
Book came looking new, on time, certainly a purchase I would recommend. The book itself a no small undertaking, but written well and interesting.
Published 1 month ago by Ryan McMurphy
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joycean women
OK, here's what I know and I'm not even doing research (ugh to current third-level education and in fact phui too): that rare Irish beauty Gerty MacDowell on Sandymount Strand, the one what heats up considerably the trousers of a fleetingly disambiguated Leopold Bloom, walks off after the... Read more
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