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December 17, 2012


Update Jan 22: Additional links

Start here with the first episode of Frank Delaney's re: Joyce, a five minute plea. Convinced?

The Friends of the Library have chosen Ulysses as their "Great Big Book" for spring. Start now. Give yourself some time to let Joyce's words roll around in your head without pressure or guilt. Don't worry that you need to be aware of the allusions. You don't. You can go back and mine after your first go-through.

Do you want an audio recording? This is a read-aloud book.

Listen to these tiny snippets from the WBAI 99.5 FM Radio Bloomsday broadcasts.

Their Complete Ulysses project has three finished episodes: Proteus; Calypso; Penelope And here are the excerpts from other episodes Just a few minutes each.

Ready to listen to the whole book?
Try the unabridged, streaming, Naxos recording available through our audiobookcloud account. All you need is a computer or wireless device, and a connection. Be sure to set the occasional bookmark as this will take a while to complete. The complete, unabridged recordings all last about 30 hours. Is it worth it? Yes. A good recording can make an otherwise inaccessible book magical. (Joyce was a musician. You need to hear his language.)

If you want to listen to the great Blackstone recording of Ulysses, come in to the library and borrow it from the reference librarian.

If you read, rather than listen to, Ulysses you may miss the humor. This is a gloriously funny book. And a sad one.

Do you want a digital text copy?
Project Gutenberg has several versions available for various devices. If you have a Nook, Sony or Kobo be sure to select the epub option.

If you are reading on a computer or any connected device, you may find this edition easier to read. Or you might want to try a concordance version.

Backlit tablets/e-readers are great for people over 40.
Remember to adjust the font size to something comfortable.

Do you want a print copy?
We have a couple of editions available in the library as well as some books about the book. Try both FIC JOYCE and 823.09

Of course some (most?) of the books written about Ulysses will just take all the joy out of it. Better resources:
Frank Delaney's podcasts. By episode 131 we are still on Sandymount strand with Buck and Stephen.
Joseph Campbell on Joyce.

Want to buy your own copy of Ulysses while supporting libraries? You can get discarded library copies or donated used books from Better World Books. Be sure to search on "ulysses joyce", sort by price, and list 100 per page. (If you are picky about editions, look for the Gabler. Search "Gabler Joyce")

Do you want to go back and read The Odyssey
Re-reading, or listening to, The Odyssey may add extra fun to Ulysses because you will have the little aha!s of recognition. Nestor, Circe, the swineherd, the naive princess. Even little details correspond. When Bloom (Odysseus) tries to leave the pub he shouts at the citizen (the cyclops) who throws things at him. Sound familiar?

In The Odyssey, as in Ulysses, the first sections introduce Telemachus, his problems and wanderings. You don't meet Odysseus immediately.

And only the middle part of The Odyssey tells the story of the ocean adventures. (Blink and you'll miss the Lotus Eaters.) The front and back sections take place back home in Greece.

You can find an amazing, full cast, unabridged, streaming audio production of the The Odyssey at audiobookcloud. (And if you are wondering about the wandering rocks, Padraic Colum's version of the Argonautica, The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles, can be found there too.)

We also have print copies at, or near, 883 HOMER

What's next?
After you have read, or listened to, Ulysses and perhaps re-read at least parts of The Odyssey — try a bit of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians, perhaps the second book, Sea of Monsters.

More Joyce? If you haven't read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners, you may wish to back up and do so.

Be sure to watch Bloom with Stephen Rea and Angeline Ball. If you do this first, it will help you make sense of the book.

Another version, Ulysses, also filmed in Dublin and released in 1967, starred Milo O'Shea. It was promptly banned in Ireland.

Both movies are currently available on DVD.

For other takes on the Odyssey, try the films Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain, as well as the opera Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria.

What about the reviews?
"A few intuitive, sensitive visionaries may understand and comprehend 'Ulysses,' James Joyce's new and mammoth volume, without going through a course of training or instruction, but the average intelligent reader will glean little or nothing from it- even from careful perusal, one might properly say study, of it- save bewilderment and a sense of disgust." NYT May 28, 1922

"A great book? If greatness is measured by universality of appeal, Ulysses cannot be called great. It will never be a bestseller. Old-line critics have mostly found it too hot to handle. But a growing body of modern critical opinion on both sides of the Atlantic has already acclaimed Ulysses as a work of genius and a modern classic. For readers to whom books are an important means of learning about life, it stands preeminent above modern rivals as one of the most monumental works of the human intelligence. " Time January 29, 1934 (Subscription access only. Please see the reference librarian if you want to see the whole article.)

And it is #1 on the Modern Library 100 greatest novels list.

"The grainy sand had gone from under his feet. His boots trod again a damp crackling mast, razorshells, squeaking pebbles, that on the unnumbered pebbles beats, wood sieved by the shipworm, lost Armada. Unwholesome sandflats waited to suck his treading soles, breathing upward sewage breath. He coasted them, walking warily."

"There are sins or (let us call them as the world calls them) evil memories which are hidden away by man in the darkest places of the heart but they abide there and wait. He may suffer their memory to grow dim, let them be as though they had not been and all but persuade himself that they were not or at least were otherwise. Yet a chance word will call them forth suddenly and they will rise up to confront him in the most various circumstances, a vision or a dream, or while timbrel and harp soothe his senses or amid the cool silver tranquility of the evening or at the feast, at midnight, when he is now filled with wine."

Don't you want to listen to this?

1904 postcard

Note 1: This is our second attempt to convince people that this book is one of the great pleasures. Please check our library blog post from this past Bloomsday.

Note 2: This postcard is from Joyce Images, a lovely, and quite brilliant, site which goes through Ulysses episode by episode with contemporary images. Please visit.

Update January 4

And finally, a bit of poetry

Poems based on the Odyssey:
W. H. Auden's The Wanderer

There head falls forward, fatigued at evening,
And dreams of home,
Waving from window, spread of welcome,
Kissing of wife under single sheet
Tennyson's Ulysses
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Constantine Cafafy's Ithaca
When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.

A few poems by Joyce

Posted by library at December 17, 2012 03:10 PM