Ulysses is the story of these men
and their experiences on one day, 16 June 1904.
(images via Ulysses "seen")
Now, every year on June 16th, people in Dublin act out the odysseys of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, bringing the novel to life. It's a tradition, one that is steeped in literary history.
Always on the list of "Best Books" and clocking in at over 300,000 words, Ulysses remains one of the most daunting and brilliant novels of all time. While it is extremely difficult to get through, it's also extremely rewarding. I read it in a graduate seminar, and we spent almost eight weeks on it. And we still felt like we needed more time. But it's beautiful and brilliant and when you're reading it, you can tell you're reading something important. Even if you don't always understand what is going on.
Ulysses is, of course, an adaptation of The Odyssey, but it's also the story of Modern Man, Modern Dublin and Modernity.
If you're interested in learning more about Ulysses, here are two lovely places to do it:
Ulysses "seen" - a graphic adaptation of the work. Only completed through "Telemachus" but it has the makings of greatness.
re:Joyce - Frank Delaney's recent project, podcasts dedicated to various episodes in Ulysses. This project just started, and will finish for Bloomsday next year.
Just to help, I'm also going to offer "Ulysses in 39 words"
I: Buck concelebrates II: Stephen educates III: Stephen cogitates
IV: Bloom evacuates V: Bloom exfoliates VI: Bloom commiserates
VII: Crawford prevaricates VIII: Bloom masticates IX: Stephen explicates
X: Dublin perambulates XI: Boylan adulterates XII: the citizen co-agitates
XIII: Gerty titillates XIV: Mina parturiates XV: Bella emasculates
XVI: a sailor exaggerates XVII: Our heroes micturate XVIII: Molly menstruates
This comes from a postcard that I picked up in Dublin at the James Joyce Centre.
Ulysses is something that everyone should read.
It is on those lists for a reason.
It changed literature. Completely.
It changed me, too.