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Ulysses Paperback – July 29, 2013

3.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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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 Dostoevsky. . . . It comes nearer to being the perfect revelation of a personality than any book in existence. --New York Times

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

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. --Amazon.com Review

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

About the Author

Born in Dublin in modest circumstances, James Joyce (1882 - 1941) spent most of his life abroad, living in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. His writings, however mainly centre on Dublin - most famously Ulysses, Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. He pioneered and perfected avant-garde prose techniques that saw him rise to the rank of one of Europe's foremost Modernists.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 564 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown; Reprint edition (July 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613823592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613823590
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Last semester I took a seminar class on James Joyce, and of course no class on Joyce would be complete without reading Ulysses. We spent the last half of the semester on Ulysses, and now that I've reviewed both Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist, I think it's finally time for me to talk about my experiences with Joyce's most famous/infamous novel.

Ulysses picks up approximately one year after Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ends, and begins with our old friend Stephen Dedalus, who is navigating the world of Dublin, working as a teacher, and still trying to be an artist in a place that continuously leaves him feeling isolated, alone, and without a home. While the first three chapters focus on Stephen, the rest of the book focuses on a new character, the famous Leopold Bloom, a Dublin Jew who, after eating a breakfast of mutton kidney, leaves the house to go about his daily business, all-the-while knowing that his wife, Molly, is planning an affair later that afternoon. That knowledge, the isolation he feels from his fellow Dubliners, the death of his young son ten years ago, and many other things weigh on his mind as we follow him about the affairs of his day. His path crosses and recrosses that of Stephen, and eventually the two outcasts finally meet and have a real conversation. Taking place in slightly less than 24 hours, Ulysses is an epic of the ordinary, a single day that contains every conceivable high and low.

Now, if you've ever heard anything about Ulysses, I'm sure you've heard that it's nearly impossible to read. It has gained a nearly mythic status in the bookish world as an impenetrable wall of stylistic experimentation and dense allusion.
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Format: Paperback
First off, if you can actually read this book from start to finish - have your eyes travel over every word while trying your best to find their meaning - then you deserve a medal, and whatever opinion you care to toss out is immediately valid; just for having the read the whole damn thing.

Today I have joined those ranks, and now am such a person. Let me tell you: being able to read War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, Les Miserables, or anything by Charles Dickens will not prepare you for reading this millstone of literature (well, my younger impression of Moby Dick comes close). It is an equally rewarding and frustrating work. I find both the positive and negative reviews to be equally valid. My own three stars is in fact a crude averaging of the variety of ratings I gave it throughout my reading sojourn; from one star to five stars.

There is no doubt in my mind, but that James Joyce is a literary genius, but whether that makes his book a superlative read is quite another story. I fully agree with another reviewer that Joyce mostly sacrifices narrative content for the sake of style - after all the book is the seemingly schizophrenic description of the often mundane minutiae of one single mediocre day. There were moments of deep literary contemplation where the author reveals his stunning command of language, and then there are dozens and dozens (hundreds?) of pages of juvenile page-wasting sophomoric literary stunts that I found rather dull and tedious. But of course in the day they were written it must have been ground breaking and astounding, like a post-syphilitic Nietzsche re-writing a novel by Dickens while driving across America with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady (a rendezvous with Ken Kesey or Timothy Leary would be going too far).
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Format: Paperback
Joyce was 40 yrs old when Ulysses was published, it is a day in the life of a husband and father of Joyce's age (at publication). Joyce loved Dublin and Ireland and though the book was written on the European continent - he wanted to memorialize his birth home (Ireland). The framework of Ulysses is Homer's Odyssey - The Roman (Ulysses: 1 Telemachus, 2 Nestor, 3 Proteus, 4 Calypso, 5 Lotus Eaters, 6 Hades, 7 Aeolus, 8 Lestrygonians, 9 Scylla And Charybdis, 10 Wandering Rocks, 11 Sirens, 12 Cyclops, 13 Nausicca, 14 Oxen Of The Sun, 15 Circe, 16 Eumaeus, 17 Ithaca, and 18 Penelope.

Ulysses is the tale of a Modern-day Odysseus, Leopold Bloom in his personal existential/sexual quest. The conclusion of this quest is the quintessential affirmation of humanity, the fundamental family unit - the father, mother, son, and daughter. Like Odysseus, absent from Penelope, traveling the world, for many long years, Leopold Bloom is also absent from his Penelope (in Dublin). Like a traveler (Odysseus), Bloom is sexually absent (abstinent) from Molly “10 years, 5 months and 18 days” (736). Unlike Odysseus, the obstacles Bloom faces are psychological (modern) - internal travails instead of Odysseus' external travails. Bloom's only son’s death has become a psychological barrier; as Molly reflects: “we were never the same since” (778). Yet Bloom is optimistic throughout the work - in regard to the possibility of another child, again Molly: ”Ill give him one more chance” (780). Affirmatively (as we grow to know Molly) we find she has given and is willing to continue to give Bloom “one more chance”. Through the course of the (Dublin) day, Bloom experiences “deep frustration, humiliation, fear, punishment and catharsis” (Herring, p.74).
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