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Thread: Discuss "Ulysses" (Main Thread)

  1. #1

    Default Discuss "Ulysses" (Main Thread)

    Hey, here's the main thread to discuss "Ulysses" by James Joyce. Enjoy!

    See blog post here.
    Last edited by nickb123; 03-06-2009 at 04:45 PM.
    "And we're live in 4...8...15...16..."

  2. #2
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    I guess no one read the book

  3. #3

    Lightbulb

    I have, and I loved it. It's a bit of a challenging book to read - though prolly not as hard as "Finnegan's Wake", from what I've heard - but if you can find a place where you can read it for a long time undisturbed, then you'll get something out of it. Loved the flow; it's written in the way people can think, thoughts going this way then changing suddenly to thinking something else. Some funny parts.
    It's been a while since I read it though, think I read it in the Nineties *lol* So in a way I *could* read it again.

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    I had a feeling this choice would go this way, but if people want to discuss, I'm down. Especially for questions, if people have them! I was a pretty serious up-and-coming Joyce scholar for a couple years in my life, so I've got lots of insight, if anyone's curious about anything.


    Obviously, as we move closer to the end, it's a little bit like watching Wheel of Fortune -
    the more letters that get filled in, you know, the easier it's going to be to solve the puzzle.
    --Carlton Cuse

  5. #5

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    I tried to read this book, but just couldn't. I've NEVER given up on a book before but I just couldn't make sense of this book - it was just words with no link between them

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    Maybe a fail selection
    Quote Originally Posted by myllian View Post
    I think 'perdidos' means 'lost' in Spanish, so perdiphile = lost lover. (I'm just guessing)

  7. #7

    Default Ben was right to bring Ulysses to the island

    This book is hard. Trying to read it at a normal pace and digest it as a regular novel is not the way to go.

    If you're heading to a deserted island, however, definitely bring this one!

    Ulysses thoroughly rewards re-reading, and makes more sense (and is more satisfying) each time.

    Also, if you're serious, it's good to get "Ulysses Annotated," or "The New Bloomsday Book" which will help guide you through. These books explain the basic stuff like what physical action is happening in each chapter, the corresponding section in the Odyssey, the major symbols/puns/allusions/word games, and simple things like who is talking to whom.

    Since the book is so much inside the characters' heads, it's really hard to sort this stuff out without help. It takes a lot of work, but I feel like the work pays off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickimpasse View Post
    Also, if you're serious, it's good to get "Ulysses Annotated," or "The New Bloomsday Book" which will help guide you through. These books explain the basic stuff like what physical action is happening in each chapter, the corresponding section in the Odyssey, the major symbols/puns/allusions/word games, and simple things like who is talking to whom.
    ^This. I completely and totally endorse these recommendations.

    Those of you who tried and gave up, may I ask how far you got? Did you give up on the third chapter (Proteus)? I bet you did! It's surely the chapter with the highest mortality rate in all of English literature! The sad thing is, it gets right back to readable on the following chapter. If only people soldiered on! (then it bogs down some more later, but meh).

    If you gave up early on, give the fourth chapter a try. 4, 5, and 8 (Calypso, Lotus Eaters, Lestrygonians) are pretty breezy, as far as things go. 11 (Sirens) is probably one of my favorite chapters of any book ever, but it's not as easy. It's very rewarding to read outloud, however. The main problem with it is that it references a ton of old turn-of-the-century Irish music, which isn't necessarily a big cultural touchstone these days. Chapter 13 (Nausicaa) is really easy, it's written to parody romance novels. Funny, too!

    If nothing else, read the last chapter (Penelope). You'll thank me. Ulysses isn't the sort of book that's ruined by jumping around in the least. If anything, reading the easier parts first gets you a bit more into the story, which can entice you into reading the rest of it.

    What has always been awesome about Joyce for me is how accurately he captures stream-of-consciousness interior monologues. I used to write quite a bit before I ever read Joyce, and once I did read Joyce, I couldn't write a damn thing for about two years afterward.Everything I tried, I was like "Well, that's been done." I got over it, but seriously, dude knew what was up.


    Obviously, as we move closer to the end, it's a little bit like watching Wheel of Fortune -
    the more letters that get filled in, you know, the easier it's going to be to solve the puzzle.
    --Carlton Cuse

  9. #9
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    I don't have much to say since I only just picked up the book from the library, and am on page 25. They are right to say Joyce has an incredible command of the English language.

    "Had Pyrrhus not fallen by a beldam's hand in Argos or Julius Caesar not been knifed to death. They are not to be thought away. Time has branded them and fettered they are lodged in the room of the infinite possibilities they have ousted. But can those have been possible seeing that they never were? Or was that only possible which came to pass? Weave, weaver of the wind."

    So in other words: "Whatever happened, happened."

  10. #10
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    Awesome passage, MegaNice! I like the part around there where Stephen's thinking about how shells used to be used as currency. ^_^

    In the next chapter, there's this:
    My soul walks with me, form of forms. So in the moon's midwatches I pace the path above the rocks, in sable silvered, hearing Elsinore's tempting flood.
    I love it. One of the keys to enjoying Joyce in general is to relax and worry less about understanding everything and more about enjoying the language use for itself. You can read one sentence of his over and over and over again. <3


    Obviously, as we move closer to the end, it's a little bit like watching Wheel of Fortune -
    the more letters that get filled in, you know, the easier it's going to be to solve the puzzle.
    --Carlton Cuse

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