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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.
He was a Joyce fanatic and wrote a book about how to read Ulysses.
I got annoyed by the fact that too many other characters appeared and were characterized but actually had very little to do with the story's plot.
I think that oftentimes we as readers get too caught-up in "getting" the book that we forget to really read it.
Ulysses is an extremely important, if not painless, read. I highly reccommend listening to an audio recording of the book while reading, such as this one:... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Katy Beals
Surprisingly funny. A bit long though. Mr. Joyce would have benefited from an editor.Published 21 days ago by Bill
So this is how it ends… What started as a dream, a dare, a joke even… Through Hamlet (again), Dubliners (again), Portrait and, of course, the Odyssey, and finally, finally onto the... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Stephen McGrath
After fifty pages of a suicide-inducing introduction attempting to explain to me what this phone book-size mess is supposed to be about, no, I will not be devoting one more minute... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Pete Berwick
I could not read this book. I can't believe the praise it has received for close to a hundred years. Even the Cliffs Notes were boring. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Lillian Grace