UlyssesBook - 2000
For Joyce, literature 'is the eternal affirmation of the spirit of man'. Written between 1914 and 1921, Ulysseshas survived bowdlerization, legal action and bitter controversy. 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. An undisputed modernist classic, its ceaseless verbal inventiveness and astonishingly wide-ranging allusions confirm its standing as an imperishable monument to the human condition. Declan Kilberd says in his introduction that Ulysses is 'an endlessly open book of utopian epiphanies. It holds a mirror up to the colonial capital that was Dublin on 16 June 1904, but it also offers redemptive glimpses of a future world which might be made over in terms of those utopian moments.'
This edition is the standard Random House/Bodley Head text that first appeared in 1960.
James Joyce (1882-1941), the eldest of ten children, was born in Dublin, but exiled himself to Paris at twenty as a rebellion against his upbringing. He only returned to Ireland briefly from the continent but Dublin was at heart of his greatest works, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. He lived in poverty until the last ten years of his life and was plagued by near blindness and the grief of his daughter's mental illness.
If you enjoyed Ulysses, you might enjoy Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, also available in Penguin Classics.
'Everybody knows now that Ulyssesis the greatest novel of the twentieth century'
Anthony Burgess, Observer
From the critics
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"He proves by algebra that Hamlet's grandson is Shakespeare's grandfather."
" The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring. The painting of Gustave Moreau is the painting of ideas. The deepest poetry of Shelley, the words of Hamlet bring our mind into contact with the eternal wisdom, Plato's world of ideas. All the rest is the speculation of schoolboys for schoolboys."
"Was there one point on which their views were equal and negative?
The influence of gaslight or electric light on the growth of adjoining paraheliotropic trees."
"His lips lipped and mouthed fleshless lips of air: mouth to her womb. Oomb, allwombing tomb. His mouth moulded issuing breath, unspeeched: ooeeehah: roar of cataractic planets, globed, blazing, roaring wayawayawayawayawayaway. Paper."
" He comes, pale vampire, through storm his eyes, his bat sails bloodying the sea, mouth to her mouth's kiss."
-- Yes. Who's he when he's at home?
-- Metempsychosis, he said, frowning. It's Greek: from the Greek. That means the transmigration of souls.
-- O, rocks! she said. Tell us in plain words."
“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.”
… and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes
Sexual Content: There is not a sex scene at all, but sexual innuendo abounds.
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