Book Review: Ulysses by James Joyce


What can I possibly say about Ulysses (1920) by James Joyce in way of review? Here are 18 thoughts, one for each episode. I can’t believe I finally finished reading Ulysses. I can’t believe I read Ulysses for fun. I can’t believe I didn’t read Ulysses in my college English courses.  What cowardice forced my…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part VII – Film Edition


One would think that Ulysses, a novel which is remarkable for it’s experiments with language and writing styles as well as the interior dimensions of its characters far more than plot, would be unfilmable.  Yet I found two different movies that attempt to take Ulysses on, and having read the book I decided to watch…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part VI


Thoughts on the final three sections of Ulysses. “Eumaeus” Much of this section takes place in a cabman’s shelter which seems to be like a late-night pub.  There are shadowy figures and impostors there including the sailor “Murphy.”  Bloom has paternal feelings about Stephen, wanting to strengthen their relationship but also thinks of ways to…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part V


“Circe” Egads!  Just when you think James Joyce can’t confuse you anymore he creates an episode in the form of a play script with stage directions, sets it in a brothel, fills it with hallucinations, and makes it the longest episode in the book.  Joyce almost taunts you to give up reading the book, but…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part IV


“The Cyclops” Perhaps the most complex and bizarre episode yet.  An unnamed first person narrator, clips of seemingly random text written in different styles.  What is this ridiculous list of names in the style of a saga other than a good laugh?  Ah, but is the true hero here a pint of Guinness?: Terence O’Ryan…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part III


“Scylla and Charybdis” This episode is thematically near and dear to my heart.  Set in the National Library of Ireland (which I’ve also failed to visit) it features literary debate on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, plus stuff about fathers and navigating between two extremes.  And it’s often satirical and funny. –Bosh! Stephen said rudely. A man of…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, Part II


I’ve read three more episodes and with lots of help The Bloomsday Book: A Guide through Ulysses by Harry Blamires, Paigerella’s podcast, and (shamefully) SparkNotes, I’m coming to appreciate the ways in which Joyce combines the mundanity of ordinary activity with scatterred memories and words (both spoke and thought) that take on many meanings. “Hades”…

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, Part I


As mention in my February 2nd post, I’ve started reading James Joyce’s Ulysses in installments via DailyLit.  The installments come through and rss feed to my Bloglines account and I’ve been working on the best way of reading them.  I requested the long installment but to DailyLit that just means I get four installments a…

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 15: Dublin & heading to The North


Tuesday morning, 3 February 1998, I wandered around Dublin visiting the famous landmarks of the city.  Statues of heroes Daniel O’Connell and Charles Stuart Parnell, the Garden of Remembrance, and the tribute to the working gal Molly Malone, among others.  I’d purchased a roll of black & white film in Galway and used half of…

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 14: Return to Dublin


At this point in my travels I succumbed to the tyranny of my itinerary. In planning this trip I determined that I’d need five days in Dublin (including side trips out of the city), but split it up so that Dublin would be at the beginning and end of a loop around the southern portion…