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Loosely Based On The Odyssey, This Landmark Of Modern Literature Follows Ordinary Dubliners In Capturing A Single Day In The Life Of Dubliner Leopold Bloom, His Friends Buck Mulligan And Stephen Dedalus, His Wife Molly, And A Scintillating Cast Of Supporting Characters, Joyce Pushes Celtic Lyricism And Vulgarity To Splendid Extremes Captivating Experimental Techniques Range From Interior Monologues To Exuberant Wordplay And Earthy Humor A Major Achievement In Th Century Literature


10 thoughts on “Ulysses

  1. says:

    5 stars because it s a work of genius, so everyone says.4 stars because it has so many deep literary and classical references that to say one understood the book, is like saying one is very well educated.3 stars because the words, strung together in a stream of consciousness mellifluous, onomatopoeic way, read just beautifully.2 stars because it was boring as hell I just couldn t care less about the characters, I just wanted them to get on with whatever they were doing and have Joyce interfere in their lives with his references, his poetry, and his mellifluous whathavewehere considerably less.1 star because I had to give it up It got wet when I dropped it in the bath and the pages stuck together when I dried it out Since it wasn t exactly cheap to start with and there wasn t another copy in the island bookshop mine , I had no choice but to give it upOr at least that s my story and I m sticking to itOr it would have been if I hadn t had the audio book Reviewed 28 May, 2011


  2. says:

    Life is too short to read Ulysses.


  3. says:

    I Can t do it, It fell in my toilet and didn t dry well, and I m accepting it as an act of god I decided against burning it, and just threw it out.Yes, I am a horrible person.


  4. says:

    Each chapter is rated out of ten for difficulty, obscenity, general mindblowing brilliance and beauty of language.Note if you re after my short course bluffer s guide to ulysses, here it is now the real thing 1 Telemachus Difficulty 0 Obscenity 0 General mindblowing brilliance 8 Beauty of language 7 Stephen the morose ex student isn t enjoying life Lots of brittle dialogue, mainly from motormouth blasphemer Buck Mulligan Breakfast An old crone delivers milk this was before 24 hour Tescos A modicum of swimming Sea described as snotgreen.2 Nestor Difficulty 0 General mindblowing brilliance 8 Obscenity 0 Beauty of language 7 Stephen is teaching history He has a crap job as a part time teacher because he doesn t know what to do with his life i can sympathise with that, I still don t His pupils are mostly eager and polite so God knows how he d get on in today s hellhole classrooms Anyway he gets paid and his boss the pompous old git Deasey gives him a letter about foot and mouth disease to give to somebody else which Stephen couldn t give a flying fish about He mooches off.3 Proteus Difficulty 9 General mindblowing brilliance 10 Obscenity 2 there s some nosepicking and urination Beauty of language 10 Now we get emo Steve trudging along the beach on his way to get a few pints down him, and now the Stream of the Consciousness starts up and gushes and torrents all over the place And it s all stunningly beautiful If I was a genius this is exactly how I d think too This may be my favourite chapter May Stephen mooch about forever Mooch on 4 Calypso Difficulty 5 now we are getting used to the S of C and Bloom s S is so much easier than Stephen s S although also a great deal less lovely General mindblowing brilliance 5 Obscenity 8 Beauty of language 3 We jump back to breakfast time and enter the house and mind of Leopold Bloom who s rustling up some breakfast for himself and his dear lady wife As we are moseying along in Bloom s brain, accompanying him on his trip to the butchers, suddenly out of nowhere we get the c word and it really isn t anything but a train of thought Joyce could have included another stray thought But no Joyce was completely committed to the truthfulness of his technique and also convinced of his own genius too Still, it comes as a shock Later we trip down Bloom s garden to his outside toilet where he has a pleasant bowel movement that slight constipation of yesterday quite gone Hope it s not too big bring on piles again No, just right I mean, Jimmy, is this really necessary But of course, in Ulysses, it is The obscenity they found in Ulysses was mostly the disgustingness of minute descriptions of ordinary activities In movies people never ever used to go to the toilet Now they do it all the time what was the first toilet scene in a movie You could write a list of 20 great toilet scenes Contributions welcome It must be said that Bloom s mind is cram ful of bits and bobs about his own life which are never explained, you just have to pick them up and piece them together if you can be arsed But for instance Bloom is trying very hard not to think that Molly will be meeting Blazes Boylan in the afternoon and will probably be going to bed with him It s one of those he knows but does she know he knows situations So, all in all, a very uncomfortable chapter Oh, since you asked, I just went to my own toilet for the very same Bloomesque purposes but not being Joyce, I m not going to tell you anything further But it was okay Thanks for asking 5 The Lotus Eaters Difficulty 4 Obscenity 4 see below General mindblowing brilliance 2 Beauty of language 2 There s a couple of tedious chapters of Ulysses, it must be confessed aside from the chapter that s deliberately boring and this is one Bloom is off on his rambling day, meets a couple of coves, visits a chemist and then a public bath this was before the days of houses having bathrooms Imagine that We get a lot of this kind of stuff Bloom is at the chemists Living all the day among herbs, ointments, disinfectants All his alabaster lilypots Mortar and pestle Aq Dist Fol Laur Te Virid Smell almost cure you like the dentist s doorbell Doctor whack He ought to physic himself a bit Electuary or emulsion The first fellow that picked an herb to cure himself had a bit of pluck Simples Want to be careful Enough stuff here to chloroform you Test turns blue litmus paper red Chloroform Overdose of laudanum Sleeping draughts Lovephiltres Paragoric poppysyrup bad for cough Clogs the pores or the phlegm Poisons the only cures Remedy where you least expect it Clever of nature.I might have to agree with critics of Ulysses here I don t need every scrap of word association and mental flotsam that swishes through Bloom s bumbling brain But Joyce thinks I do The obscenity in this chapter is here Time to get a bath round the corner Hammam Turkish Massage Dirt gets rolled up in your navel Nicer if a nice girl did it Also I think I Yes I Do it in the bath Curious longing I Water to water Combine business with pleasure.and here he s in the bath now Bloom saw the dark tangled curls of his bush floating, floating hair of the stream around the limp father of thousands, a languid floating flower.Well Bloom pleasures himself but you must say it s rather delicately put, no Another list please greatest masturbation scenes in literature without mentioning Philip Roth 6 Hades Difficulty 3 Obscenity 2 General mindblowing brilliance 2 Beauty of language 3 Another chapter I m not a fan of because we re stuck mostly inside the brain of Bloom who s full of Readers Digest tips and quips and boring I wonder if and Molly this and Milly that The Homeric parallels yes, well, he goes to a funeral and thinks about death and rotting and such, so that s Hades Helen s friend Eleanor is living with us at the moment and she CLAIMED to have read Ulysses as part of a course on epics but when pressed admitted that she had SKIMMED it and didn t like it much to which I said Skimmed SKIMMED You can t skim the greatest modernist work of literature in English Faugh Crivens Help ma Bob I think I m coming down with the apoplexy so I am Even the tedious chapters, of which this is one, have to be read word by word, line by line the only trace of rudeness I could find in hades was this Bloom is thinking about precisely when his son deceased was conceived Must have been that morning in Raymond terrace she was at the window watching the two dogs at it by the wall Give us a touch, Poldy God, I m dying for it How life begins To readers of 2010 it all seems somewhat coarse, yes, but to readers of the 1920s these stray remarks were incendiary However I would like to complain about this otherwise handsome Modern Library hardback edition I m reading This is one of the two available hardbacks of Ulysses and it comes wreathed with introductions, blurbs and reprints of judicial decisions all of which are entirely to do with the alleged obscenity of the book Hence I thought I would reread it partly with that in mind But really, who cares any about that Get rid of all this stuff Let s have an introduction all about the crackle and the pity and the joy and fire of this bizarre book 7 Aeolus Difficulty 5 Obscenity 0 General mindblowing brilliance 2 Beauty of language 3 Oh dear do I actually like this damned masterpiece at all Another tiresome chapter full of huffy snippy geezers sniping and out quoting and oneupmanshipping each other Next Quick Review continues herehttp www.goodreads.com story show 2


  5. says:

    I have read Ulysses at least three or four times and once with Gilbert Stuart s authorised translation and always found unsounded depths that I had not suspected Every chapter introduces new narrative techniques, new perspectives and characters, and new voices This is a book that definitely requires some homework to fully appreciate I would recommend the aforementioned Gilbert Stuart commentary and biography, the Frank Budgen criticism, and especially the classic Richard Ellman biography There is precious little here not to love regardless of your literary tastes, but like most good things, this book asks you to work for it As Leopold Bloom goes through this day in Dublin, all kinds of things are happening all around him and it is a virtual reality experience in four dimensions ending with for me one of the most beautiful chapters ever written, the stream of conscious dialog of Bloom s wife posing as Ulysses Penelope It is of such texture and voluptuousness that it is impossible to capture without first hand experience of having read it If you put forward one personal challenge for a great summer read, make it Ulysses I was recently in Dublin and spent a good 30 cold minutes with a strong wind on the turret where Buck Mulligan has his shave in Chapter 1 amazing I cannot even begin to express how this book moves me When I get the classic GR question when friending what is your favorite book and why , I always answer Ulysses, because I learn about myself everytime I read it Most difficult books I have ever read but which also gave me the most pleasure Ulysses by James Joyce La Recherche du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust Infinite Jest by DFW Gravity s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon Underworld by Don DeLillo


  6. says:

    Sometimes reading a Great Work of Literature is like drinking fine French wine, say an aged Burgundy or Mersault Everyone tells you how amazing it is, and on an intellectual level you can appreciate the brilliance, the subtlety, the refinement But really it is too refined It is unapproachable, it is aloof, it doesn t go with thatketchupy burger you re having for dinner You re not enjoying it.But then you read the label closely and realize that although it tastes just like a fine burgundy your wine was made in the Abarca Hills of Chile It is from Casa Marin and was in fact not made by a snooty Frenchman with a degree in oenology but by a down to earth woman farmer, and although it is sophisticated and complex there is a accessible note, a friendliness And perhaps importantly, it is several percent higher in alcohol than that French wine youthought you had, and by the time you re halfway through the bottle it really seems pretty likeable after all, you and the wine are getting along just fine and you are having an enthusiastic discussion ofliterature with people who were strangers an hour ago, and one of them tells a dirty joke that Joyce would have sniggered at, and you laugh so hard you spill your wine on him, and maybe he s a little annoyedbut your host brings a towel and another bottle and the party isgreat And maybe you are a wine ignoramus and the fancy bottle was kind of wasted on you, but you enjoyed it, so so what


  7. says:

    He puesto tantos enigmas y puzzles que van a mantener ocupados a los catedr ticos durante siglos debatiendo sobre lo que yo quer a decir, y esta es la nica manera de asegurarme la inmortalidad James JoyceUn tour de force literario No tengo otra manera de describir el proceso de lectura que me depar el Ulises Ha sido la prueba m s dura, compleja y reveladora a la que me somet con un libro, pero a la vez, una magn fica experiencia que nunca olvidar Me siento orgulloso de haber le do todo el libro disfrutando de la literatura sin tratar de entenderlo, sino de vivirlo Borges no lo pudo terminar sin que con esto me crea que supero en algo a semejante maestro, pongo en consideraci n que el Ulises no es f cil de abordar Amado, querido y respetado por muchos escritores Orwell, Nabokov, Elliot, Banville, Faulkner, Pound y denostado, odiado, destrozado por otros Woolf, Borges, D.H Lawrence , es un libro pesado, denso, inabarcable, ampuloso, que da miedo y que pareciera estar hecho para leerlo con la mente extraordinariamente abierta Mi camino por sus p ginas ha sido arduo Very difficult.Este libro se torn por momentos asfixiante, desesperante, hilarante, hartante, errante y todo aquello que termine en ante Es imposible querer tener la historia bien ordenada en la cabeza a medida que se la lee, porque es un libro que se presenta en forma ca tica y desordenada y eso es lo que hace que el lector desista de avanzar luego de las primera cincuenta o cien p ginas, dependiendo de qu resistencia aplique para persistir en la lectura antes de tirar la toalla Es as de simple El Ulises es un libro que se encara y se lo lee poni ndole no hay que negarlo mucha garra y coraz n Por mi parte, trat de informarme de qu manera estaba estructurado, es decir, de que se compone de tres partes Telemaqu a, Odisea y Nostos que a su vez contienen dieciocho cap tulos y que todos ellos tienen una relaci n directa con La Odisea de Homero, libro que le agradezco a Zeus de todo coraz n haber le do para poder orientarme a los largo de las casi setecientas p ginas que componen este ladrillo literario.Era fundamental saber que Leopoldo Bloom y Ulises realizan sus viajes odiseicos de manera similar con la diferencia que todo lo que sucede en Ulises pasa en s lo un d a en la vida de Leopoldo Bloom Ulises , Stephen Dedalus Tel maco y Molly Bloom Pen lope Todo el libro sucede el 16 de junio de 1904 Qu casualidad , es un d a despu s de mi cumplea os, pero 68 a os antes No estoy de acuerdo con los que pregonan que para leer Ulises debemos conocernos Dublin como la palma de nuestra mano pero s es de una gran ayuda el hecho de haber le do La Odisea Confieso que tuve que anotarme algunas cosas puesto que de otra manera hubiera sido imposible para m entender una sola frase y esto no significa que haga trampa o me imponga un auto spoiler para evitarme inconvenientes de comprensi n literaria, pero es necesario para afrontar la densa literatura que encierra el libro.Como comentara previamente y para aquellos que no lo hayan le do me temo que son muchos Muchos cada cap tulo hace referencia o alegor a a algo de la Odisea, como pueden ser personajes, personajes mitol gicos o situaciones que vive Ulises en su epopeya hom rica y para ello, Joyce despliega su enorme potencial de manera tit nica Por ejemplo el cap tulo 6 se denomina Hades porque ese descenso al mundo de los muertos concuerda con el de Leopoldo Bloom al cementerio para despedir a su viejo amigo Dignam El episodio 11 corresponde a las Sirenas y est totalmente emparentado con la m sica y el embelesamiento por parte de Bloom con dos meseras cantando.Cuando Bloom regresa a casa despu s de veinticuatro agotadoras horas, leemos lo que sucede en un cap tulo llamado taca , al igual que Ulises en La Odisea De esta manera uno va entendiendo para qu lado va la historia Sin algo de esa informaci n leve pero importante, la lectura se torna err tica, enloquecedora o simplemente se pierde el inter s.El cap tulo 15, atribuido a Circe transcurre completamente dentro de un burdel en el que Bloom y Dedalus se ven rodeados de los personajes m s extra os de los bajos dublineses y est escrito por Joyce como un gui n completo de teatro, con instrucciones de escenario incluidas Este cap tulo ha sido uno de los m s desesperantes para m Fue un momento en que casi sucumb , puesto que se torna completamente incomprensible Es un bombardeo constante de frases, palabras y di logos inconexos, sin sentido ni construcci n sint ctica o sem ntica Un enloquecedor torbellino que golpean al lector como una ametralladora que dispara palabras sin cesar Un aut ntico infierno.Lo que pasa es que estamos hablando de un libro que posee en su idioma original m s de 267.000 palabras y cerca de 30.000 vocablos, muchos de ellos de propia invenci n del autor El libro posee texto en ingl s, espa ol, hebreo Blom es jud o , lat n, franc s, italiano, hind , nonsense joyceano y palabras completamente inentendibles.En Ulises podemos encontrarnos con cap tulos de narrativa tradicional como es el caso del cap tulo 2 N stor , pero de a poco, todo comenzar a tornarse en textualidad apabullante, sobredimensionada y desbordante A lo largo de esta historia desfilar n ante nuestros ojos, parodias de la novela rom ntica al estilo de los folletines del sigo XIX Naus caa , cap tulo 13 , abundantes pasajes de poes a, canciones populares y tradicionales irlandesas, un cap tulo completo escrito en peque os fragmentos de estilo period stico Eolo , cap tulo 7 , hay incontables ejemplos de simbolog a mitol gica, b blica y aleg rica En el cap tulo 9, Escila y Caribdis , Stephen Dedalus explica su propia teor a acerca de Shakespeare y Hamlet Por medio del lgebra demuestra que el nieto de Hamlet es el abuelo de Shakespeare, y que l mismo es el espectro de su propio padre La sumisi n, idolatr a y homenaje de Joyce a Shakespeare es total y el bardo ser nombrado y alabado en distintas partes del libro Despu s de Dios, Shakespeare es el que m s ha creado , aunque tambi n descubriremos referencias y c lidas palabras sobre Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle y Daniel Defoe entre otros.El ante ltimo cap tulo, taca, era su preferido del libro y el de Bernard Shaw , cuando Bloom llega finalmente a su casa est escrito en forma enciclop dica con preguntas y definiciones de alto contenido cient fico, poblado de p rrafos inagotables, repletos de datos estad sticos y que a mi entender se relaciona con la singularizaci n o desautomatizaci n textual, un concepto literario que los formalistas rusos Schklovsky defin an como el Arte como artificio La finalidad del arte es dar una sensaci n del objeto como visi n y no como reconocimiento, los procedimientos del arte son el de singularizaci n de los objetos, y el que consiste en oscurecer la forma, en aumentar la dificultad y la duraci n de la percepci n El acto de percepci n es en arte un fin en s y debe ser prolongado El arte es un medio de experimentar el devenir del objeto lo que ya est realizado no interesa para el arte. Eso es lo que creo que Joyce utiliza en este cap tulo El no dice que Llen con agua la pava Dice Pas la cacerola a la hornalla de la izquierda, y levant ndose llev la pava de hierro a la pileta con el fin de hacer fluir la corriente de agua abriendo la canilla para dejarla salir. De eso se trata aumentar la dificultad y la duraci n de la percepci n.Por ltimo en el cap tulo 18 y final, Pen lope , no encontraremos con la gran invenci n de James Joyce en la literatura el Stream of conciousness , tambi n denominado mon logo interior aunque tambi n lo realiza Stephen Dedalus en el cap tulo 3 , y que para enunciarlo correctamente transcribo su definici n como corriente de la conciencia que consiste en expresar los pensamientos del personaje sin una secuencia l gica, como ocurre en el pensamiento real La culminaci n de esta t cnica narrativa es el ep logo de la novela, el famoso mon logo de Molly Bloom, en el que el relato, sin signos de puntuaci n, emula el fluir, libre y desinhibido, del pensamiento .Personalmente creo que m s all de esta invenci n literaria, ninguna persona en su sano juicio puede estar divagando como lo hace Molly durante ocho eternas oraciones que ocupan las ltimas cuarenta p ginas 40 del libro sin freno ni la utilizaci n de una sola coma.Finalmente Ulises es un mapa completo de la ciudad de Dublin Toda la esencia de Irlanda est en esa ciudad y Joyce la lleva al detalle como si fuera una mezcla de gu a tur stico y cart grafo profesional Alguna vez supo decir que si Dublin desapareciera de manera catastr fica, esta ciudad podr a ser reconstruida a partir de su libro y no se equivoc en absoluto.Se termina el a o y me siento contento y orgulloso de esta fruct fera lectura de cl sicos que emprend en 2016, que fue a n m s extensa que la de 2015 y que abarc , entre otros, algunos t tulos Los Demonios , El Maestro y Margarita , Los Hermanos Karamazov , Dr cula , Il ada , Odisea , Stoner , Cien A os de Soledad , La Campana de Cristal , El Se or de las Moscas , La Letra Escarlata , Jane Eyre , Almas Muertas , Ubik , las dos versiones de El Doble y muchos m s para coronarla con este libro enorme, monstruoso, genial, nico, inclasificable y eterno que es el Ulises Carlos Gamerro, escritor argentino y experto en la obra joyceana y que escribi uno fundamental llamado Ulises claves de lectura dice que nada vuelve a ser lo mismo a partir de leer el Ulises y es verdad Que uno puede no haber le do uno libro de un autor pero puede apoyarse en otros, pero que esto no sucede con el Ulises, ya que es un libro que no se parece a ning n otro.El modo de ver la literatura y el mundo cambian a partir de que uno lee esta obra de arte, puesto que no se la puede denominar de otra manera Y James Joyce lo hizo posible Dixit.


  8. says:

    I have left this book unrated because I simply cannot rate it I cannot review it either or try to criticise it Instead, I ve decided to share my experience with something I cannot define But first, here s what James Joyce had to say about it 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 The accuracy of this statement balances out the sheer arrogance of Joyce s assertion I tried to put my own design on the book Well, at least, I tried to focus on one particular recurring theme as I read in order to try and bring the thing together in my own mind I failed I focused on Death, or at least, discussions of Death and the representations of it But after a while the ideas started to contradict each other and fade out of the narrative only to randomly pop up again and vanish.Here s three quotes I pulled out from the beginning though Old England is dying And what is death she asked In a dream she had come to him after death Death, and its shadow, seemed to haunt the early part of the writing What is this end we are pushing towards Is it an end Can we even call it painful The idea it conveys is that time, at least time according to human perception, pushes singularly towards this phenomenon the ultimate truth of life Ulysses is deeply symbolic This haunting can be read as a decay of the state, the breakdown of society its traditions and values as it enters a new modern era The old structures of civilisation are dying, the world is changing, art is changing, thought is changing and perhaps this is what Ulysses represents in some sense Perhaps this new creature of literature is the very essence of this new dawn, of the modernist art movement, or perhaps I have simply been swayed by one of the many nuanced impressions within the work, the subtle hints and suggestions that can be ready in so many different ways I focused so much on death that when it left the narrative I did not know what else to look for or why I was reading it or where the story was going This book is not something that fits into a nice little box or one that can be summed up accurately it simply is a thing that is Forming a coherent opinion of something so incoherent is even harder What can one judge The sheer brilliance of the innovative writing is juxtaposed against the dull drawn out interactions and descriptions Isn t that sentence just one huge contradiction Well, the entire book is one contradiction I could spend a lifetime studying Ulysses and still not be able to decipher it.I hate it I love it I want to burn it I want to celebrate it Certainly, I enjoyed reading parts of Ulysses, in fact, I engulfed parts of it However, I detested just as many bits of it I was so terribly bored with large parts of the novel, frustrated, agonised and, on one occasion, actually sent to sleep You could imagine my dismay when I woke up the next morning with the thing on the floor and I d lost my page number I had no idea where I was exactly, somewhere between pages 300 500 I guessed rather inaccurately, so I had to try and back track Much harder than it sounds I lost my place in a book that I was already lost in completely Not lost as engrossed, but lost in the sense that I had no idea where the hell I was in this labyrinth of writing and that s before I lost my page Now there s some irony The result was me reading around seventy pages a second time round with next to no memory I had actually read them until I came across a rather distinctive passage and was rather annoyed with myself Ulysses is a book that washes over you it s the sort of book that you can spend reading for a few hours and then barely remember what you have read It requires a reader who can pay attention to a book that has a wavering plot, likes to wonder all over the place, and then return randomly to characters that have disappeared for a long period of time All in all, it was my nightmare and my dream It defeated me twice I kept forgetting what had happened, and despite reading so many plot summaries, I probably could not describe this book beyond what the blurb on my copy says I feel like I need to read it again The thought fills with me dread Perhaps one day when I am old, surrounded by thousands of books and an army of loyal cats, I will pick up this book again and remember my initial desondency and admiration Or perhaps I will be wiser Perhaps I will see to the heart of the matter and hate love Joyce even for this, for this thing As a random aside, I feel sorry for whatever kooky old professor in Fahrenheit 451 drew the bad straw and had to remember this book I digress, but imagine that Poor bastard I had to start the book again three times, and I found myself agonising over sections of inane and irrelevant bollocks But there s also beauty inside, just like life How sentimental of me Ulysses is modernism Modernist literature varied, though a sense of newness permeated all artistic representations And this was, and still is, something new I dare you to go and read it for yourself.


  9. says:

    Good books should participate in a conversation with each other, and with us when we read them I made the mistake of inviting Joyce via Ulysses to join my literary conversation He s not much of a conversationalist He mostly just sat in a corner mumbling incoherently to himself Every once in a while he d quote or try to ridicule something he d read somewhere, but that s not really conversation is it More like namedropping.Buried within Joyce s verbosity is something similar to a plot related to a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, husband of Molly, father of Milly away at photography school and Rudy namesake of Poldy s father who s death at eleven days of age strained the marriage beyond recovery but left the sexual obsessions of Poldy and Molly intact leading to scenes such as Leopold masturbating on the beach while flirting at a distance with Gerty MacDowell or Molly masturbating as she daydreams about past, current, and future lovers including Stephen Dedalus who is seen by both Leopold and Molly as a substitute for poor Rudy albeit in very different ways How about that I can write at least as well as James Joyce.Reading Ulysses is something akin to reading a very long list of spelling wordsmany of them without spaces between them I ve come to the conclusion that stream of consciousness writing comes in two forms In one form, authors such as Thomas Pynchon and Virginia Woolf employ real albeit often strange sentences to portray the thought processes of their characters The second form epitomized by James Joyce and William Faulkner involves the mere stringing together of unrelated words perhaps with the intention of revealing the depth of the psychosis of their characters I much prefer the former method.


  10. says:

    Often considered one of the greatest novel of the 20th century , James Joyce s masterpiece, Ulysses, is both a feat and feast of sheer literary brilliance Reimagining Homer s epic poem The Odyssey as the travels and trials of an everyday man through the crowded streets and pubs of Dublin, Joyce weaves strikingly versatile prose styles and varying perspectives to encompass the whole of life within the hours of a single standard day, June 16th, 1904 This day, dubbed Bloomsday, is celebrated with increasing popularity in modern times, which is a testament to the lasting greatness of the novel and to the desire to drink and be merry of all people Instead of taking a daily life and elevating it to mythical proportions, Joyce has taken mythology and reversed it, shrinking it into an average day, which in turn gives each character and action a heroic sense about them In this way, even besting a drunken nationalist spewing anti sematic sentiments at a bar can be seen as a legendary conquest Ulysses is an epic in its own right, setting the bar for literature up to the stratosphere as we immerse ourselves in Joyce s dear dirty Dublin.While one must have their wits about them to navigate this laborious labyrinth of literature, the task is highly rewarding It is very understandable that so many people do not finish this novel, or just plain dislike it this book can be downright frustrating Combining the heavy use of cryptic and dated allusions, obfuscating narration, an enviable vocabulary and pages of dense prose to decipher, Joyce intentionally set out to create a literary odyssey of words to conquer saying 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 ensuring one s immortality. Readers should be warned this is a tough novel Often times this novel inspired such frustration that it was tempting to slam the cover for good, and it wasn t until the second half that I was finally able to recognize that this novel had written its way into my heart Upon reflecting back after completion, only then did I realize that this truly is one of the greatest books ever written and I have come to love it Perhaps this is akin to the feeling those who run marathons or climb mountains feel the adventure is a long, arduous struggle where one must keep focus and positive to battle through, yet the pride and elation of completion than makes up for the struggles I do not wish to make this book seem like it is only for masochists though, as there are than enough rewards to reap along the way This is some of the finest displays of writing I have ever encountered, and offers a broad range of style Many people fail to mention that this book is downright funny as well There are countless little jokes, such as characters running from a bar so they can fart loudly unheard, endless sexual jokes and quips, and many funny characterizations It should be noted as well that there is no shame in seeking aide for this book Originally I didn t want to, but there are so many esoteric allusions and puzzles that an annotation guide and a few essays really helped my understanding This is a novel to teach to yourself, not just read there are people who spent years at universities digging through this book and it is still widely debated Even the great Ulysses or Odysseus depending on who your asking had to seek aide in his epic journey.The variety of style in this book is highly impressive Each of the 18 chapters, aside from being thematically built around a corresponding episode of The Odyssey, has its own unique set of techniques and lexicon, often parodying the styles of newspapers or current women s magazines, traditional Irish mythological styles, a chapter dissolving the world into scientific properties, the famous stream of consciousness, 200 pages of jocular hallucinations in play format, and a dizzying array of prose from flowery language to the language of flowers Joyce had such a love of style that there is even an entire chapter devoted to alternating writing styles as he parodies many famous authors throughout history calling all fans of David Mitchell or If on a winter s night a traveler in a swirling scene of drunken debates The language is often quite playful, lyrical and full of puns He even uses sentence structure to convey motion, such as Gerty s limp Tight boots No She s lame O If just for the use of language alone, this is one of the most spectacular books ever written and practically killed my dictionary Also, it is interesting that C.G Jung diagnosed Joyce as having schizophrenia based on reading this book due to the rapidly changing styles and the use of playful rhyming and jangling speech Joyce s daughter did in fact have schizophrenia.One of Ulysses most discussed features is Joyce s technique of placing the reader within the minds of the characters It is not a typical first person narration, however, as the characters are seemingly unaffected and unaware they have a reader riding along in their thoughts Information comes across in broken and random spurts, and Joyce does not bother with clarifying these thoughts to the reader Much like William Faulkner, Joyce leaves the reader unaided to piece together his massive puzzle Often the subject of a thought can switch between several people without any indication, as with Boylan and Bloom in Molly s soliloquy, and many chapters take pages to realize who the person speaking is While initially following Stephen and then Bloom second by second through their routine, the novel soon fractures into smaller chunks of concurrent narration, to further fit all of life within the day and to offer a broader, varied perspective on the events that transpire The idea of the parallax , which is essentially a scientific term that different perspectives will have a uniquely different view of the same object, is often on Bloom s mind, and is a major theme running through this novel Through the multiple points of view, the reader is flooded with alternative, and often conflicting, images of the characters The readers must then decide themselves what is the whole picture.The various speakers are another testament to the versatility of the pen employed by Joyce Each speaker has a drastically different tone and vocabulary, as well as structure most notably Molly There are times when the reader may wonder if Joyce s opinions on the Jewish people and women may be rather negative, but then he will surprise you with a completely opposing statement Women, and sexuality in general, are a major topic in this novel, and it is no surprise many have dismissed Joyce as a misogynist as many of the women in this novel are viewed strictly in regards to their sexuality There are many female roles who are only used to further this idea, often by having many characters be prostitues Through Bloom we see an unapologetic image of women as a sexual objects, and a male opinion on how women view sexuality However, with Molly, Joyce offers a highly contrasted opinion on how women view their own sexuality, how women view men s sexuality, and even how women view how men view women s sexuality Molly even fantasizes about having a penis and what it would be like to mount a woman So while some ideas may be offensive to a reader, they must view it with an open mind and in the context of the novel and characters Also, Joyce was aware of the overzealous censorship of novels in England and America and often wrote passages that blew past the lines intentionally to irk these censors No wonder the novel was banned in American until 1934 when the Supreme Court over turned the ruling in a landmark obscenity trial.Shakespeare s Hamlet plays just as much of a role in this novel as the Odyssey This further emphasizes the parallax, and Joyce s goal to keep the life of his characters grounded in reality by not aligning any of the characters in a clear cut way Hamlet is often discussed amongst the intelligentsia of Dublin, and a critical scene involves Stephen s interpretation of the play revealing many themes of the novel at hand From the ideas of Stephen s role as Telemachus searching for a surrogate father in Bloom s Ulysses as well as the ongoing thoughts over adultery all reveal themselves early on through Stephen s lecture on Hamlet However, this scene also demonstrates that Stephen is a Hamlet figure as well as Bloom being a figure of the deceased King, and that Molly may also fit the role of the betraying Queen as well as Penelope There are many other roles in this novel that have than one character that could fill them, such as how both Buck Mulligan and Blazes Boylan are both usurpers It is interesting to note here that many of the characters, Mulligan in particular, are based from people Joyce interacted with in real life The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring. , is said at a timely manner when Stephen explores how the characters of Hamlet all correspond to Shakespeare s own family, much like how these characters correspond to those around Bloom and to those that were surrounding Joyce Stephen is also highly representative of Joyce himself He was the hero of Joyce s semi autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and in this novel we see him continue his quest of artistry He even sides with an unborn child in a debate over whether a mother or child s life is important during birth, signifying his ideas that art, something we create, is of the utmost importance A touch of metafiction as well as a compounding use of themes is one of the many ways this book stole my heart.Joyce avoids distinct lines anywhere he can with this novel Characters such as Bloom are walking contradictions and a paradox to those around him He is Jewish, but also baptized He is a father figure, but also displays many motherly traits and desires causing the masculine characters to harbor a bit of disdain for him for being rather womanly He is very caring and generous, but then at times very cheap and critical of others for their generosity Such is the enigma of Leopold Bloom, one of the most likeable everyman characters in all of literature it was very difficult not to picture him as George Clooney from O Brother, Where Art Thou , another wonderful retelling of The Odyssey He is not without his faults though, as he is a shameless womanizer and has the undressing eyes aimed at all the fair ladies of Dublin and what is with Joyce and men masturbating in public, ie The Encounter from Dubliners I m on to you Joyce Bloom spends much of this novel on the go, trying to move forward from the sadness of his past and the weight of thoughts of his wife s possible transgressions Think you re escaping and run into yourself, Bloom mentions His coming together with Stephen is also grounded in reality, as there is no clear cut bond between them Frailty thy name is marriage Bloom thinks, playing off of the famous line from Hamlet The marriage of Bloom and Stephen, Bloom and Molly, and many other marriages of characters are fraught with incompatible moments, as people just do not always get along or agree While the union of Bloom and Stephen is alluded to through the entire novel, they often are at odds with one another or offend the other while trying to be friendly However, this meeting is highly significant in both their lives, and as many of these marriages are flawed, they are shown as having shaped each individual As C.G Jung once wrote, The meeting of two personalities is like the contact between two chemical substances If there is any reaction, both are transformed. Ulysses is not an easy novel by any means, but it is well worth the effort The prose may be daunting at first, but patients, and a bit of guidance can really go a long way and this novel will eventually bloom for any reader so they can drink the sweet language of Joyce s pen There are so many wonderful techniques buzzing about and puzzles to unlock Plus, this novel is outright hilarious For one of the comprehensive reviews you can find, you should also read Ian s stunning review Joyce has certainly left his mark on the face of literature with this novel, which is than deserving of the title bestowed on it by the Modern Library of the greatest novel of the 20th century Yes it is the greatest and yes you should read it and yes each word will blossom in your mind and Yes will I give this book a 5 5 and yes I said yes I will Yes.5 5Also, reading this book in public will make you appear smart.And even the great Jorge Luis Borges was moved by this novel James Joyce as translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni In a man s single day are all the daysof time from that unimaginablefirst day, when a terrible God marked outthe days and agonies, to that other,when the ubiquitous flow of earthlytime goes back to its source, Eternity,and flickers out in the present, the past,and the future what now belongs to me.Between dawn and dark lies the historyof the world From the vault of night I seeat my feet the wanderings of the Jew,Carthage put to the sword, Heaven and Hell.Grant me, O Lord, the courage and the joyto ascend to the summit of this day.