Ulysses by James Joyce (Epub)

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Ebook Info

  • Published: 2013
  • Number of pages: 228 pages
  • Format: Epub
  • File Size: 0.73 MB
  • Authors: James Joyce

Description

Ulysses is a novel by Irish writer James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach in February 1922, in Paris. It is considered to be one of the most important works of Modernist literature, and has been called “a demonstration and summation of the entire movement”. “Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking.” However, even proponents of Ulysses such as Anthony Burgess have described the book as “inimitable, and also possibly mad”.

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⭐ The rating does not reflect my view of the novel Ulysses, which I love, admire, and have taught (although I am not a Joyce scholar). Nor is it a review of the paper edition of Ulysses issued by Penguin in 1992, with an introduction by Declan Kibberd. It is specifically a review of the Kindle edition purporting to represent the Penguin edition.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.

⭐ This is not a review of Ulysses itself.My one star review is for the unreadable paperback version that Amazon is selling, being propped up by reviews of practical and superior prints of the novel. The copy I received was clearly printed on letter paper, end to end. The font size is small enough to create walls of text that fill margin to margin. Chapter dividers are scrapped in favor of new lines within the pages themselves. No pages are devoted to any sort of publisher or contact for who is appropriate for this disaster. A real shame.

⭐ “Ulysses”: the literary reader’s favorite and the casual reader’s frustration. It is a difficult book to read – if the experts are right, the difficulty is worth it. Nonetheless, it remains difficult, and for that, any judgment based on the usual “good story – well told” criterion will be less than fair to this masterpiece.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 (Tony La Russa?). 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!”

⭐ So much has been written about this revolutionary novel by James Joyce. My review will hardly add anything that hasn’t already been said. All I will say is if you love literature and are a fan of the developments in prose from modernism, postmodernism and similar movements, it is your duty to read Ulysses. You wouldn’t have the achievements of writers and publications like Nabokov, Woolf, Anthony Powell, Pynchon, Gaddis, Rushdie, Borges, David Foster Wallace,or even McSweeneys without the sprawling experiment undertaken by Joyce in these pages. Here, he tells a story set completely in the minds and actions of his characters over the course of one summer’s day (June 16th, 1904) in Dublin, Ireland. Through this stream of consciousness technique, Joyce gives us not merely a story but a book grappling directly with the human mind, with all its lofty and not-so-lofty thoughts. Mixed with introspection and philosophical ponderings are mundane thoughts about business and colleagues, fears about infidelity, insecurity, masturbation, farting, sex jokes, food and toilet humor. The entire spectrum of human thought is given in its subversion of the bourgeois morality of the English novel. Yet this is not the only innovation Joyce makes with his novel. He also fragments his narrative with different narrative styles indicating the different types of thoughts and events that are being dealt with in each chapter. In a chapter about his business, the narration is entirely in the form of newspaper advertisement clippings. A visit to a bordello is narrated as a gaudy popular play. A chapter about masturbation at a beach is narrated as a cheesy romance novel. The last chapter is pure stream of consciousness with the gas turned high, as we go through almost every thought Leopold Bloom’s wife has about her husband and their marriage. In homage to its inspiration – Homer’s Odyssey – the overall book is structured according to the Odyssey’s structure, with the main characters mirroring those of the Greek Epic (Stephen Dedalus – Telemachus, Leopold Bloom – Odysseus (Ulysses in Latin – hence the novel’s name) – Molly Bloom – Penelope) and the overall events of the novel being a mundane parallel to what happened in the original poem.Already what I’ve said barely touches on what’s so great about this (I’m not an eloquent literary critic) but all I can say is do not be put off by the complicated nature of this work. It is not an easy read by any means but it is an incredibly engaging, intensely moving and outright hilarious work about everyday things that completely changed the game as to what novels could do. Even though literature has moved on considerably from Ulysses’ brand of modernism and the type of toilet humor it dished out pales in comparison to what’s common media today, it is still an entertaining, down to earth and clever book. Not the overly intellectual, pretentious behemoth that its sometimes dismissed as. You do yourself a disservice if you don’t at least try to read it.Ok there, I’ve said enough platitudes. Go out and read!

⭐ The one star is for the Penguin Modern Classics edition on Kindle, not the novel itself. Ulysses is a challenging read. I listened to the Teaching Company’s audio lectures on Ulysses beforehand, which proved helpful in navigating this novel. There are 18 chapters (apparently), and the novel is (loosely) based on Homer’s Odyssey. I think the casual reader will be turned off by the difficulty since there is hardly any plot and the style changes abruptly (from straight exposition with clearly defined characters to stream-of-consciousness to playwriting to nonsensical alliterations and back again.I would stay away from the Kindle edition. It is riddled with typos. I notified Amazon of about twenty typos in the first three or so hours of reading but stopped after that. Wish I could return the Kindle edition.

⭐ The magnitude of genius and complexity of James Joyce’s 1922 novel Ulysses can not be understated. Perhaps the most ambitious, most intimidating, most notorious, and single greatest novel of 20th century- if not all of literature. I own two different editions of the novel: the Every Man’s Library hardcover edition, a fine and handsome book, presented in three parts/chapters and is excellent; and the Vintage “Gabler Edition”, which I strongly prefer, this version has a more complete text, the lines are numbered, the book is arranged into 18 titled chapters making it easier to navigate the running themes and vast references to Homer’s Odyssey, all this makes this undertaking much less difficult, and even after many months of reading and use the soft cover book’s spine did not crease or crack. Truly excellent. The novel is enormously challenging and the more you can understand the more rewarding and impressive it becomes. It obviously helps to know Homer’s Odyssey, it’s parallels are incredibly numerous. I also highly recommend reading Joyce’s Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man before this, it gives backstory to the Stephen Dedalus character (as well Joyce himself and his narrative style). It helps, but not necessary, to get acquainted with Irish history, the works of Shakespeare, Dante, and maybe Yeats. If you can make it through the Proteus chapter you should be able to make through the book, although Oxen Of The Sun is the most demanding chapter. As for extraneous materials: Joseph Campell’s books were good, but the best, most helpful by far for me was Prof. James A. Heffernan’s invaluable, enjoyable lectures on DVD from The Great Courses. Reading this masterpiece can be great fun, especially for lovers of myth, as it’s basis Homer’s Odyssey, the ancient Greek epic poem of Odysseus’ (Ulysseys in Latin) remarkable twenty year return from the Trojan War to vanquish his faithful wife’s suitors and reclaim his usurped home, one of the grandest adventures of heroic myth, is here reimagined, reinvented, reincarnated, and regurgitated into a single mundane day in Dublin- June 16th 1904. This longest day in literature is actually quite eventful, as the day dovetails into the twists and turns of adman Leopold Bloom, his quest back home to wife, Molly, their complicated relationship, and the academic Stephen Dedalus, a trinity of existential wanderers, a father, a surrogate son and a mother, the natural world, the mind, and spiritual all culminate in a metaphysical meditation on the human condition and the link between the ancient and modern world. Some Highlights: Stephen’s ponderous walk along the strand (absolutely great- my favourite chapter), Bloom’s pork kidney breakfast, the food buffet of Lystrygonians, Stephen’s theories on Hamlet and Shakespeare, the music of the sirens, the hilarious overblown parody in Cyclops, the cosmic Ithaca, and Molly Bloom’s stream of consciousness/soliloquy -an intellectual knock out punch. Told in a variety of styles and voices in a vivid city, Joyce’s command of language is unsurpassed, it even becomes apparent he is delightfully toying with the reader. The work is dense with symbolism and language- including Latin, French, Italian, multiple forms of English (not to mention Joyce’s own unique wordplay and onomatopoeia !). It’s notoriety is also well earned, and is still earthy and vulgar a century later, though much of it is rather humorous -every bodily function is included as well as frank aspects of life, death, birth, religion, love, sex, memories, food, music, art, literature, science, culture and society…- the whole kitchen sink. Indeed this book is not for everyone but it is richly rewarding, completely unique, and may still has the power to alter a reader’s view of what is capable in a real world literary landscape. Consider also reading Joyce’s daunting final work Finnegan’s Wake, a dream time novel beyond description, Alfred Doblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, the works of Virginia Woolf, and even T.S. Eliot’s poetry.

⭐ Ulysses is so many things: obviously a modern retelling of the Odyssey but also an epic with an expansive worldview that grounds modernity as Virgil’s Aeneid provided the literary basis of the Roman Empire and Dante’s Divine Comedy did for the Middle Ages; it’s also a book of puzzles—note the world is no longer mysterious but puzzling— (Joyce claimed there were enough to last literary professors two hundred years); and its an articulation of the view that spirituality, intellectual matters, literature…are all reducible to digestive and reproductive fluids.It’s also a literary masterpiece that one can admire with awe and is some of the most smutty literature imaginable. In the end the worldview was so distasteful to me that I found the writing repugnant—though I acknowledge that it is every bit as worthy of our age as the Odyssey, Aeneid and Divine Comedy were to theirs.It needs no recommendation and I cannot give it one. Entrancing, boring, worthy of a lifetime of rereadings and destined to sit unread on most bookshelves—I give you Joyce’s Ulysses.

⭐ Joyce’s Ulysses is a classic of modern literature. Joyce has his characters move through Dublin on a single day, Thursday, June 16, 1904. The novel takes some work to read because it mixes the author’s narration and the characters’ interior monologues or stream of consciousness. Also, there are thousands of references to historical people, places in Dublin. popular products of the time, songs, operas, other literature from classic to modern (1904), etc.. You need a guide or guides to these references, which helps immensely and you need to choose which edition to read. I had been reading the 1961 edition and then I heard about the Gabler edition, published by a Joyce scholar in the 1980s. I was pleased to find this gently used Gabler edition for sale from an Amazon associate. Joyce kept revising his text after it was first published in 1922 and Joyce scholars consider Gabler the best version of what Joyce intended as the definitive text. The Gabler edition also is large enough to allow room to write in notes as I read through Ulysses using my 2 guides. I’m enjoying Ulysses immensely as I slowly read through a page or two daily. Probably will take me well into 2021 to finish it.

⭐ 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. The only hope for the intrepid reader is to consult many guides and source-books that will lead them through the labyrinth. To be honest with you, this is partially true. There were plenty of times when I didn’t know what was happening, and I assure you that I missed most of the allusions and references to historical events. And yes, I did use a guide when I read it, which was a big help. More importantly, I also had a class full of people to discuss each chapter with and to keep me on schedule. (I do recommend reading this book with a friend. It’s more fun that way.) But I want to make one thing very clear:The myth is only partially true.Because while I did not catch many of the allusions and references, I mostly understood what was happening in terms of plot and location. While I may not have understood the meaning of every sentence, I did understand the meaning of most paragraphs. And while I didn’t always see exactly how each stylistic invention connected thematically to Bloom’s journey, I could certainly appreciate the beauty and craft of Joyce’s writing. Reading Ulysses is like being at the ocean; you have to let the waves of text wash over you without trying to analyze every single piece of sand. Understanding every single allusion is not necessary to enjoy the novel as a whole. You might miss a few of the jokes, but I promise you will be ok. The guide I used and which I would highly recommend, James Joyce A to Z, had brief summaries of each chapter in terms of plot and any major thematic elements, and that is all I needed in order to thoroughly enjoy myself. I think that oftentimes we as readers get too caught-up in “getting” the book that we forget to really read it. Ulysses is, first and foremost, an experience. If you get too caught up in trying to “understand” it, you’ll miss all the fun.Fun? Yes, fun, because Ulysses is a deeply funny, witty, engaging, and beautiful book. First of all, Joyce is a phenomenal writer, and it would be a challenge to find a novel with more beautiful or more varied writing than this one. Some passages are just heart-stopping in their elegance. I literally stopped and reread some passages just so I could hear them again; they were that beautiful. Others were incredibly technically impressive, showing Joyce’s amazing command of the English language (and others). Joyce’s amazing skills as a writer mean that he is capable of making the wittiest puns and the funniest satires I have ever read. No, really. From the pub to the graveyard, from political arguments to prostitution, from the romantic novel to the epic catalog, there is nothing that Joyce can’t laugh at. I never thought I would say this, but Ulysses literally made me laugh out loud. But of course this novel isn’t all fun and games. There are tender, honest moments here more touching than nearly anything else put into print. There is heartbreak here, not of the cheesy faux-tragic kind that you find in a Nicholas Sparks novel, but honest emotion felt by ordinary people in situations that are all too real. Though Ulysses very often made me laugh, on a number of occasions it also made me cry. It touched me, because it spoke to that part of me (and, I think, of many of us) that knows what it’s like to feel alone, regretful, and lost. That realism, that honesty of emotion and situation, is what sets Ulysses apart. The strange style, the encyclopedic allusions, the weird diversions, all of these serve to represent reality in all of its complexity, beauty, and sadness. Ulysses is funny, crafty, beautiful, and heartbreaking, but it is all of those things because it is real.If you’ve ever read my reviews before, you’ll notice that this one is rather different. This time I haven’t talked very much about technique or writing style, though really this would be the perfect novel to do that. And part of me does want to pull out my analytical brain and tell you all about Joyce’s tricks and techniques and themes. I would feel accomplished for breaking down such a complex novel, and you would maybe feel like you learned something. But I don’t think I’m going to do that this time. This time I think I’m going to focus on other things.Because despite all the intellectual enjoyment I got from untangling and discussing the themes and techniques, and despite the aesthetic enjoyment I found in Joyce’s language, what struck me the most about Ulysses was its emotional honesty, especially in the characterization. For the first three chapters I felt nothing but empathy and pity for Stephen. I wanted to be his big sister, to comfort him, to let him know that he wasn’t alone and that he could make it. And then I met Leopold Bloom, and slowly, cautiously, not without reservation, I fell for him, completely and utterly. Not in a romantic way, but as a human being, an all-too-real human being who had emotions and quirks that I could see and understand like those of an old friend. I fell in love with the way that he always tries to figure things out, to calculate, explain, and reason, even if his explanations are often incorrect, more pseudoscience than real science. I fell in love with his desire to please everyone, to make everyone happy, to avoid conflict wherever possible. I love that he maintains his optimism despite everything that happens to him. I love the way he always walks on the sunny side of the street, is conscientious about his money, and loves to eat good food. I wanted nothing more in the world than for him to actually meet Stephen, because I needed to see what would happen when these two characters whom I cared so much about finally met. And yes, sometimes Bloom creeped me out a little with his thoughts about sex or bodily functions. Sometimes I got annoyed with him for being so passive, and I yelled at him to stop being such a pushover already. But when he had the chance to finally show some courage, I cheered him on with all of my heart, and when he stood up for Stephen my heart nearly burst I was so proud of him. Leopold Bloom was so lonely, so hopeful, and so real, and in the end it was the force of his character (and, to a lesser extent, Stephen’s) that really made Ulysses shine.Ulysses is a novel that takes place in a single day, and yet somehow seems to encompass the whole world. It’s strange and difficult and sometimes frustrating, and to be honest I wouldn’t recommend it to those who don’t like their books to be a puzzle or who get frustrated when they don’t understand what is going on. But if you do like a challenge, then I think you’ll find that every frustration in Ulysses is paid back a thousand times over in beauty and enjoyment. I promise that you won’t catch everything on your first read-through; I know I didn’t. But that did not take away from my enjoyment of the novel in the slightest. I know I’ll come back to it some day, maybe a chapter at a time here or there, and that no matter when or how often I return it will always have something new to offer me.Rating: 5+Recommendations: Don’t get too weighed down with guides. Just read it and enjoy it, and check chapter summaries or historical events if you get lost. Ulysses is an experience, so just dive in.Note: This is a review of the Revised Gabler Edition, which is that one you should read.

⭐ When I opened the package and saw a giant book the size of a catalog, I thought I must have accidentally ordered the large print edition. This is a comically bad format, and no serious reader would read a book this way. See other reviews for photos. Amazon needs to crack down on these kinds of quality issues from sellers. I’m returning it right away.

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