The most important and meaningful reading experience of my life so far has been Ulysses. It taught me to expand my understanding of what language can do and to consider carefully just what communication entails. More than that, Ulysses gave me a greater sympathy for those around me, exposing the many different levels of thought we all operate on at every moment. It made me appreciate both the high and low, the seedy and sacred. I truly believe Ulysses is the most human book that has ever been written. It delights in contradiction, error, and all those other inconsistencies people display every day. Ulysses has a reputation for being difficult (which it is), dense (which it is), and incomprehensible (which it isn’t). Ulysses demands your undivided attention in order to really get into the flow of what is happening. However, once you settle into its rhythm, Ulysses is a joy to merely read, let alone comprehend. Some chapters are VERY difficult (3 and 14, especially) but on the whole Ulysses need only be read slowly and purposefully in order to understand what is going on. Ulysses is also the most fun I’ve ever had reading a book with a group of people! The many layers of allusions, history, and character interaction ensures everyone will focus on and find different things within the text. Bringing all these fragments together to form a cohesive understanding of an episode is incredibly rewarding for both the individual and the group. Mostly I want people to experience Ulysses in a way that is meaningful to them...and there’s so much here that not finding something compelling would be pretty difficult.
Schedule (6 P.M. Meetings):
Aiming to read 1-3 episodes per meeting, with a tentative schedule of:
June 10th (Monday) Episode 1 "Telemachus", Episode 2 "Nestor", and Episode 3 "Proteus"
June 20th (Thursday) Episode 4 "Calypso", Episode 5 "Lotus Eaters", and Episode 6 "Hades"
June 30th (Sunday) Episode 7 "Aeolus", Episode 8 "Lestrygonians", and Episode 9 "Schylla and Charybdis"
July 10th (Wednesday) Episode 10 "Wandering Rocks", Episode 11 "Sirens", and Episode 12 "Cyclops"
July 20th (Saturday) Episode 13 "Nausicaa" and Episode 14 "Oxen of the Sun"
August 7th (Wednesday) Episode 15 "Circe"
August 10th (Saturday) Episode 16 "Eumaeus" and Episode 17 "Ithaca"
August 20th (Tuesday) Episode 18 "Penelope"
Since the group is small there's no reason the meetings can't be flexible!
I 100% believe this audiobook will enrich your reading experience with Ulysses. I recommend following along in the physical book while listening to it.
I don't think you need a guidebook to get through Ulysses,7 but it is certainly helpful. Here's a list of books I have and would be more than happy to share with the group:
Ulysses Annotated by Don Gifford
The New Bloomsday Book by Harry Blamires
Ulysses Unbound by Terence Killeen (which my old professor highly recommends)
James Joyce's Ulysses by Stuart Gilbert
Re Joyce by Anthony Burgess
A Reader's Guide to James Joyce by William York Tindall
Ulysses (Guidebook) by Hugh Kenner
Dublin's Joyce by Hugh Kenner
The Gabler edition of Ulysses, the greatest 20th-century novel written in English, contains corrections to more than 5,000 errors in earlier editions.
Don Gifford's annotations to Joyce's great modern classic comprise a specialized encyclopedia that will inform any reading of Ulysses. The suggestive potential of minor details was enormously fascinating to Joyce, and the precision of his use of detail is a most important aspect of his literary method.$62.44ISBN: 9780415138581Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Routledge - September 26th, 1996
Since 1966 readers new to James Joyce have depended upon this essential guide to Ulysses. Harry Blamires helps readers to negotiate their way through this formidable, remarkable novel and gain an understanding of it which, without help, it might have taken several readings to achieve.$35.00ISBN: 9780813064727Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: University Press of Florida - March 6th, 2018
Ideal for readers new to Ulysses and written with a depth of knowledge invaluable to scholars, "Ulysses" Unbound is a clear and comprehensive guide to James Joyce's masterpiece from one of the foremost Dublin-based Joyce experts. Terence Killeen discusses the novel's eighteen episodes individually.$15.95ISBN: 9780394700137Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Vintage -
With the passing of each year, Ulysses receives wider recognition and greater acclaim as a modern literary classic. To comprehend Joyce's masterpiece fully, to gain insight into its significance and structure, the serious reader will find this analytical and systematic guide invaluable.$16.95ISBN: 9780393004458Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: W. W. Norton & Company - June 17th, 2000
Arguing that "the appearance of difficulty is part of Joyce's big joke," Burgess provides a readable, accessible guide to the writings of James Joyce.$19.95ISBN: 9780815603207Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Syracuse University Press - March 1st, 1995
First published in 1959, William York Tindall's Reader's Guide is still considered to be the best introduction to the complex writings of James Joyce. From Dubliners to Finnegans Wake, Tindall's knowledge is as comprehensive as it is authoritative.$37.20ISBN: 9780801833847Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Johns Hopkins University Press - March 1st, 1987$50.00ISBN: 9780231066334Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: Columbia University Press - December 15th, 1987
One of the most important books ever written on Uylsses, Dublin's Joyce established Hugh Kenner as a significant modernist critic. This pathbreaking analysis presents Uylsses as a "bit of anti-matter that Joyce sent out to eat the world." The author assumes that Joyce wasn't a man with a box of mysteries, but a writer with a subject: his native European metropolis of Dublin.$19.95ISBN: 9781608684175Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 DaysPublished: New World Library - March 8th, 2016
In 1927, as a twenty-three-year-old postgraduate scholar in Paris, Joseph Campbell first encountered James Joyce's Ulysses. Known for being praised and for kicking up controversy (including an obscenity trial in the United States in 1920), the novel left Campbell both intrigued and confused, as it had many others.