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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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Some think Ulysses by James Joyce is the greatest English language book of the 20th Century.
In my opinion, there are tons of other books that have just as much of value (if not more), and *also* have exciting plots, interesting characters and clear writing.
I will say that if you just want an interesting snippet of this book to read, I'd read the last chapter.
How did this get published...it just rambled & rambled, still I've read it & crossed it off my list.Published 1 day ago by Annmarie
it's a classic, of course - an incredible expression of an incredible imagination - but don't expect an easy read. Many a would-be reader has tried and failed at first go.Published 1 day ago by keith r rawes
It seemed to take forever to read, and when I finished I was sorry I had wasted so much of my time. In a word--dull, extremely dull.Published 2 days ago by Joseph G. Rezin
With dozens of books and thousands of articles written about Ulysses, there's not much more to be said about the content from my naive eyes. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Halley Faust
I wanted the normal, written version of Ulysses, but - due to a failure to read attentively which bodes poorly for my encounter with the book itself - I ended up with the Manga... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Alex Knox