We came, we saw, we conquered ... Ulysses, James Joyce's modern masterpiece, and what's been called the most difficult book in the English language. Did we understand what we read? You be the judge. (If we had to put a number on it, we'd say we got about 15% of it all. But that's what rereading is for, right?)
In Episode 006: Getting Used to Ulysses, listen in to our thoughts about modernism; the Blooms; dear, dirty Dublin; and just what to make of this bear of a book. And then tell us what you think in the comments below!
To reread with us, grab a copy of Ulysses at your local bookstore or neighborhood library, or download it from your favorite digital book space.
We are all about reading Ulysses with a lot of support. If you live in or around Philadelphia, check out the schedule of courses at The Rosenbach, which regularly keeps Ulysses on its roster. If you're reading solo, grab a handy guidebook. We recommend Ulysses Annotated by Don Giford and Robert Seidman, as well as The New Bloomsday Book by Harry Blamires. And for free online sources, don't miss Spark Notes! The history of the publication of Ulysses is about as fascinating as the text itself, and no one covers it better than Kevin Birmingham in The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses.
- Every June 16 cities all over the world celebrate Bloomsday to commemorate Leopold Bloom's epic one-day trek through Dublin chronicled in Ulysses.
- Joyce chose the date, June 16, for Ulysses because it marked the date of his first day with his wife, Nora.
- Ulysses was first serialized in the literary magazine The Little Review, whose publishers faced an obscenity charge for its content.