I said this was the summer I was going to finally finish Ulysses and I'm reading it now...
Good luck! It is as demanding as it is rewarding-- I enjoyed reading this amusing "summary"-- maybe you will too. It's also actually helpful. http:// news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3810193.stm
I also like:
I'm not sure if it's helpful, but it is entertaining. ^_^
cant we read the complete book here?
You can't read it through Shelfari, but Project Gutenberg has a version on its Web site:
I don't know if it's the same as the "complete and unexpurgated" book, but it's worth a try.
The greatest novel in the English language. Get as far as you can on the first reading. Don't worry if you don't finish it; you probably shouldn't. You might want to go back and read "Portrait of the Artist" and some commentary on Joyce next, for instance anything by Hugh Kenner. Then, pick up the greatest novel again, and you'll finish it and agree with me.
Brilliant. I agree completely with Mike W that one must approach it with a sense of humor and humility. The language is superb, and its satirical moments are unsurpassed. And yes, occasionally steamy. Like many, I've been reading it since early 2004, and it remains my kilimanjaro (Finnegan's Wake is of course everest). I read a chunk, put it down for a few months, come back to it, and so on, and each time, I'm blown away.
The Teaching Company lectures are mentioned below, and I highly recommend listening to those in conjunction with your read. A few essentials when approaching this book:
1. Know at least the plotline and characters of the Odyssey, and read Ulysses along with a guide that will help you to identify the allusions to Homer. For instance, Bloom's wife is named Molly, which is an allusion to the herb/drug that Odysseus was advised to use by Hermes, in order to stave off the effects of Circe's potion. There are many such allusions throughout the book, in addition to the obvious connections between the characters and chapter titles.
2. Have some familiarity with Shakespeare's Hamlet. The two main characters are Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. They correspond at times, typologically, to Hamlet and his father, and to Shakespeare himself and his own son. In addition to the Odysseus/Telemachus allusions, Joyce plays on the relationship between the Ghost of Hamlet's Father and Hamlet, and also on the relationship between Shakespeare as author writing a story about himself and his own son, wherein he is the ghost and his son is Hamlet. All of this teases out Joyce's fascinating exploration of what 'art' and authorship really are, as he writes a story in which he is both Father and Son (Bloom and Stephen).
3. Have a guide handy that will give you insight into the city of Dublin, a historical one especially. A bit of insight into Irish history is also essential. Joyce incarnates the Dublin of his era in the novel, and he's intensely political, so you might be lost without some help in this area. Many of the landmarks are still around, so it makes for a better read if you can see the places described in the book.
4. If you haven't been raised in the church, it's best to brush up on your Catholic theology. In addition to the Father/Son allusions mentioned above, Joyce plays with the Christian trinitarian doctrine in which the father and son are consubstantial. I particularly love the irony achieved near the end of the book as Stephen and Bloom, after a night of drinking, both take a piss outside of Bloom's house and their 'streams' are joined for a moment. This is the brilliance of the book - it is a crass, bawdy, at times scandalous novel that also achieves the greatest depth of insight into humanity and philosophy, as well as the highest heights of passion, emotion, patriotism, and pride in one's heritage.
So, to read effectively, have your Homer, your Bible, your Shakespeare, and your map of Dublin handy. It's worth every moment, even if you find yourself reading the other books just to understand what Joyce is saying. (Oh, and you might want to know a bit about Aristotle as well. And some Greek and some Latin.)
And the Teaching Company lectures, as usual, are a great help.
i dont know, i was familiar with homer shakespeare and the bible, and a little with irish politics, and the greek myths to get the whole Dedalus/Daedalus thing, so maybe i got it subconciously, but i think it stands as a free reader best enjoyed without overt observations to other contexts, much as alice in wonderland can be taken for its satire, but is better read as a delicious and raucous story
I'm a bit shocked by the absence of nay-sayers, considering what a painful read the book is. Although there are indeed three or four superb chapters in the book, had it not been for Molly's amazing closing soliloquy, I would have felt very justified in burning it. I do wish it had been his last work though :D
okay zero, as much as i fear english teachers and their clumsy grubby attemots to explain the mystery of a great book, maybe you should follow Bob Rs advice and take a look at the Teaching Company lectures, if you read through the book adn still feel like burning it, hmmm, i think you missed something. either that or maybe you should stick with grisham and jk rowling
keep in mind, i am an uneducated luddite, and a pure philistine, so weigh my commentary as such:)
Strangely enough, I have taken the Teaching Company lectures! which were vast improvement over the novel ;)
I think the only people the "Ulysses" is intended for are said English professors; they are thilled to have such a baroque literary cadaver to dissect without fear of being challenged by students. It's basicly XXX rated academic pornography ("Wake" -which I am currently reading- must be snuff.)
I admit I'm a tad perplexed by the Rowling/Grisham suggestion considering your library appears no more "literary" than my own. Perhaps I just don't accept the status quo and thus have a different opinion? I like "Dubliners" and "A Portrait" (with reservations) just fine. There's just a little more masterbation going on in "Ulysses" than on the page.
no, as i stated, i am not a literary academic, i jsut meant if you did not find ulysses a worthy read, maybe it was because your tastes wen to simpler, more straightforward story telling, i have not prerused your shelves. it was more a critique of you disciunting this book than a judgement of your overall reads. if you enjoyed his other works, as did i, then it must just be a matter of how this volumne struck you. glad to hear you enjoyed the lectures.
If you say so: came across as a slighting comment, but I can overlook that.
I wasn't actually accusing you of being an academic; I honestly believe Joyce's intention was to write a book exclusively for the University crowd (a sucessful attempt to establish his legacy in literary history.) It's not an accident that Ulysses is the only book I know of where the first thing people direct you to do is take a college course in order to understand it.
Do you really have that hard of a time seeing how somebody wouldn't enjoy the novel? Even beyond all the obfuscation, is the story really that profound? I think Joyce is just a short story writer who fell back on his (considerable) literary talents to disguise the fact he couldn't develop a novel length narrative. In that sense I find the novel a little desperate. As an experimental work it's bound to fail, and does so, frequently: the novel as a whole remains up for debate (in my opinion at least.) As I said earlier, I found the saving grace in the closing soliloquy.
You're in better company than I in championing it, but I don't think my questioning the novels readablity has that much to do with my ability to understand it.
**apparently you "previously rated this books 2 stars" so you can't disagree with me that much**
gosh, did i? i shall have to add a star, hmmm, i must admit, i do so thoroughly dislike the first 100 pages, it probsably put me off when scoring...
I really wanted to give this book a good review so I could look smart and all, but I just can't do it. This book will appeal to the insecure intellectual type who likes to reference a century old literary gimmick called stream of consciousness, while mispronouncing didacticism and voting Socialist.
There is just too much verbiage in this book. Too many adverbs. At one point in the first chapter Joyce writes of a character: "He had spoken himself into boldness." Well, Mr. Joyce, it seems you have written yourself into boldness. The author also writes that "history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Reading your book was a nightmare from which I am relieved to have finally awaken.
One of the main characters, Stephan Dedalus, is a wannabe writer struggling in Dublin. In Chapter Three of the novel we find that Stephan once had great literary ambitions but has been beaten down to a two-bit teacher in a Dublin school. If we read Stephan Dedalus autobiographically, then we see that perhaps Stephan's (Joyce's) fall from grace as a proud poet to a defeated teacher manifests itself in Joyce having to write such an elaborate, intellectual and difficult book.
The book is not a total loss, however. There are some pretty funny puns and the final chapter is really great, though it is a forty odd page sentence. Chapter Six is a terrifically funny chapter. With that said, after reading this novel I am at a loss as to why it constantly tops the lists of the greatest modern novels of all time. Once again intellectuals prove that you can be absolutely brilliant and have no idea what's going on.
"Darkness is in our souls do you not think? Flutier. Our souls, shamewounded by our sins, cling to us yet more, a woman to her lover clinging, the more the more."
"Refuse christian burial. They used to drive a stake of wood through his heart in the grave. As if it wasn't broken already."
-on suicide cases
"That last day idea. Knocking them all up out of their graves. Come forth, Lazarus! And he came fifth and lost the job."
-a jew, Mr. Leopold Bloom, trying to make sense of Catholic Ireland and its theology.
"We are praying now for the repose of his soul. Hoping your well and not in hell."
-Mr. Bloom on trying to make sense of praying for the departed.
I will leave with a warning about this book. The quote comes from chapter seven. I think we should keep it in mind before lavishing unwarranted praise on the novel:
"We musn't be led away by words, by sounds of words."
your comment looks more like a review, but never mind, the big thing is that there seems to be two kinds of snobs, those who follow the snobbish set slavishly, and those whose snobbery comes from thumbing one's nose at that set. I find myself vacilating between the two, but it seems you are firmly in the latter. i found all of joyce to be enjoyable, but as i have stated before here and elsewhere, i think he put the first 100 pgs in to annoy most of us.
as to the tricks of a century ago that you refer to, stream of conciousmness is like anything else, there are masters and wannabes, i think you will find joyce and faulkner and few others were masters, then it became a craze and folks who couldnt write a novel straightup did SoC and thought they were something, good luck with you reading journaling, but i suggest you try the rest of joyce before you come back to this one.
from the way you describe how you experienced the book, it would rather seem as if you're something of an aspiring literary critic. Indeed Joyce has "written himself into boldness" (or you wouldn't have been reading him). That said, kudos for trying. Shame it left you feeling so frustrated, though.
but your review written on the same day/on your shelf (and I know this is a long long time ago and will not get answer) says:
"Just picked this up from the library today. Along with the Cliff Notes because I've failed to finish this novel twice now. Here we go..."
so, you didn't finish it, Brian Denton, right?
I don't think that a copy of Arun Shourie's Missionaries in India is suitable as an edition clubbed together with Ulysses by Joyce. It ought to be separated and perhaps either clubbed with another edition of the same book or stand on its own.
There ought to be a way of sending a suggestion for correction of this, to separate the two or more very diverse books shown as editions of one book, of which there are many examples on shelfari but this one is quite an extreme one.
Other books (including this one), all equally unsuitably, clubbed together with Ulysses on this page on shelfari here, are:-
Missionaries in India ; Continuities, Changes, Dilemmas
Paperback. Published 2004 by Rupa & Co..
Godel, Escher, Bach: An eternal Goldne Braid
Paperback. Published 1981 by B000H5HDJE.
The Physics of Three Dimensional Radiation Therapy: Conformal Radiotherapy, Radiosurgery and Treatment Planning (Medical Science)
Paperback, 388 pages. Published 1993 by 0750302542.
Needless to say none of them are anywhere close to the Ulysses or to each other in any way whatsoever, giving all the more the impression that whoever clubbed them together is treating books like potatoes and stones lumped together for use as paperweights.
But shelfari is a site supposedly for books and readers and ought not to let this happen.
It couldn't be that difficult, after all, to automatically separate the books by titles and authors and only lump them together as editions if the two fields match, in this era of computer sophistication and ease.
Interestingly when I click on the first one it goes to the Ulysses page, with this one given as an edition, while clicking on the other two takes one to their pages, where "Golden" incidentally is not misspellt as it is here ("Goldne").
The new features of this page make it impossible to change the edition while they do allow one to add other editions, but now if I add "Gödel, Escher, Bach" and display that as edition, and then go back to Shourie, I get various editions of GEB on the editions page while the top is still saying Ulysses!
Shelfari was really far better off with the earlier software. New one has not solved the problem of editions and has added new ones.
I felt the exact same as Zero about Ulysses. The closing chapter by Molly was great, but I really had to force myself to read on. I don't think not liking Ulysses means you didn't understand it, although everyone tells you it is. It just didn't do it for me.
ok, where are all the comments. even people who don't read this book, have an opinion about it!
it isn't my favorite joyce, and i only like because i ignore the allusions and focus on the tale
I have recently started a group that plans to discuss this novel as well other prominent works of fiction:
Best English-Language Fiction of the Twentieth Century
A new group centered on a composite list of the best English-language fiction of the twentieth century. Please give it a look, join up and invite your friends!
Anyone who says the first 100 pages is separate from the other 600 pages has obviously never travelled the beautiful city of Dublin. F is M, M is F.
jack, each reader is entitled to his opinion, so you are welcome to be wrong!:)
many readers i have met do struggle to get thru the first part, as the book was pretty shuffled by the author himself and it is a bit of a stretch, in fact, one might even say it sounds a bit like a recent graduate from an advanced english lit class, to say how one should approach such a book, start with the front cover, read the copyrights and whatever else you like first, but, for me, and for some i have advised, skipping the first chunk and then returning when one is invested enough in the life of mr bloom to care does have its advantages, especially compared to missing out on the whole great work, which is certainly a larger tragedy than reading it the "wrong way"
To distinguish the dawn from the sunset is no more clever than distorting the legs from the torso in relation to the arms - My copy would consist of 701 pages complete and whole and written by Mr James Joyce late of Dublin, and intent on transmitting to me (yes personally) how I could find my way about that glorious 16th and reach home before the collapse of night in the hum of a Summer ascent - but our boys awake at the 8 whilst yours straggle at 10 - nope I am right I am right...