- Series: White Seahorse Classics
- Paperback: 804 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 21, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1535404086
- ISBN-13: 978-1535404082
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,143 customer reviews
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Ulysses (White Seahorse Classics) Paperback – July 21, 2016
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About the Author
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde, and is regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the twentieth century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he utilized. Other well-known works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters. Joyce was born in 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, Dublin—about half a mile from his mother's birthplace in Terenure—into a middle-class family on the way down. A brilliant student, he excelled at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, despite the chaotic family life imposed by his father's alcoholism and unpredictable finances. He went on to attend University College Dublin. In 1904, in his early twenties, Joyce emigrated permanently to continental Europe with his partner (and later wife) Nora Barnacle. They lived in Trieste, Paris, and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe centres on Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there. Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses, he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, "For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal." from wikipedia
Top customer reviews
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My first attempt ended 43 years ago on page 38 (the bookmark was still there.) But the book can’t be ignored it is on nearly every ‘100 greatest books’ ever written list: there are many 'bests' lists and “Ulysses” is usually in the leadoff, or #2 spot - that doesn’t happen by ‘chance’!
The difficulty with this read is that the reader is often simply ‘listening’ to the protagonists thoughts presented in stream-of-consciousness style, while Joyce is constantly ‘playing’ with the language; English, French, Latin even Italian, and he plays with the characters and other authors, even his own prior work, and philosophies are explored, and all-the-while the story is an allegory of Homer’s (the Greek, not Simpson) “Odyssey”. And yet… in the back of the mind, you just can’t help but wonder if the myopic little Jimmy J. was just having it on with all of us. In fact, he said himself... "I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality." (Joyce's reply to a request for a plan of Ulysses, as quoted in James Joyce (1959) by Richard Ellmann.)
Apropos the game of baseball, for which it has been said, “There’s a whole lot of stuff going on out there” (…which the uninitiated is unable to see). I didn't ‘see’ all that Joyce had to say (yep…uninitiated!) but I saw enough to recognize the enormous importance of this book. If I may modify the definition of 4-stars from “I Like it” to “I Admire it”, then I can make the rating system work for this read. If you are a reader, you will want to read this book someday - but wait until you are ready to concentrate on it: Joyce does not throw batting practice, its all curves, sliders, and cutters and nasty sinkers! If you strike out, it's your own fault, not his.
The storyline is a walk through Dublin on the day of June 16th, 1904 where we follow the separate strolls of Stephen Dedalus, a budding poet and Leopold Bloom, an advertisement salesman, till they meet in the evening, go on a drunk together then separate onto their own paths again. Simple story? Sure, but you’d better pay attention because “there’s a whole lot of stuff going on out there!”
Recently I "reread" Ulysses by listening to a recording of the classic RTÉ Radio "dramatised full production" of the novel done in 1982. This is a wonderful way to experience the book, and I recommend it to all. But at points I wanted to follow along, so I purchased a very inexpensive Kindle text of Joyce's published works, "The Ultimate James Joyce Collection." At points I noticed some typos and more serious textual errors, but since I only spent $2 for the set I wasn't bothered. It claimed to be a literal reprint of the original 1922 text, so I knew it would be problematic. That edition was typeset by French printers who did not speak English! But I wondered whether there was a reliable text of the novel on Kindle. When I saw that the Penguin edition was now available in a Kindle edition, I bought it. The Penguin edition is apparently a reprint of the 1960 Bodley Head edition, which together with the 1961 Modern Library edition represent the most accurate corrected versions before the critical Gabler edition. (As far as I can tell, Gabler's text is not available on Kindle.)
I am sorry to say that the digitized version of the Penguin edition is not satisfactory. It is full of the kinds of errors that inevitably seem to come from digitally scanning text; it requires far more careful proofreading than the editors have given it. Ulysses is difficult enough on its own: the novice reader does not need to be struggling with mistakes like the following (just what I noticed from the first two chapters): "die bowl" for "the bowl" (3); "dive Kempthorpe" for "Clive Kempthorpe" (4); "Norn de Dieu" for "Nom de Dieu" (10); "virgmum" for "virgimum" (11); "discreedy" for "discreetly" (11); "Sort day" for "Soft day" (14). None of these errors appears in my Penguin paperback copy. Joyce might have enjoyed "Norn de Dieu" in Finnegan's Wake--it may even appear there--but I don't think it belongs in "Telemachus." So if you are looking for a reasonable Kindle version of Joyce's masterpiece, you should look elsewhere. I read somewhere that the revised Project Gutenberg edition is good. At least with an edition costing a dollar or two, you are getting a bargain, even if it has a few errors. The Penguin Kindle edition is not inexpensive, and it is no bargain. Caveat emptor.
Update: in chapter 3, "Proteus," along with a few minor misprints like those described above, the Kindle/Penguin has Stephen ask "Where is poor dear Arms to try conclusions?" Instead of "Arms" the text should read "Arius," the "illstarred heresiarch" whom Stephen thinks about for the rest of the paragraph. As it is, the text makes no sense at all, and even an experienced reader struggling with this difficult early chapter will lose the thread of thought Joyce is working very hard to convey.
So, my 4 stars is a compromise between the content (five stars) and the Kindle version (3 stars).