Jousting with Joyce…we’re off!
Today is the start of our Ulysses readalong (it’s never to late to join in!), so I thought I’d post some info on Joyce and his novel:
- Ulysses takes place entirely on one day, June 16, 1904, which is the day that Joyce had his first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle.
- It was first published in 1922, by Sylvia Beach, owner of Shakespeare and Company. Prior to that it was serialized in an American journal (and also partly in a British journal). Until the smutty stuff showed up…
- …and the book was later banned in the US and England due to charges of obscenity.
- The main character, Leopold Bloom, is a modern, everyday version of the Homer’s great hero Odysseus. Bloom’s day mimics Odysseus’s adventures. Check out the Gilbert Schema, which maps out the chapters, their themes and connections to Homer’s Odyssey. I have this puppy printed out and stashed in my book. And no, I don’t consider it cheating. Also, this short essay describes how the schema works, as well as Joyce’s intent behind some of the symbolism.
- Bloomsday is celebrated each year on (of course) June 16th. The day is a celebration of both Joyce and his famous novel, and many people walk the route Bloom takes through Dublin in the book.
- This site will take you on a chapter-by-chapter photo tour of Ulysses and Dublin.
- It’s been said that Chapter 3 (Proteus) is the stopping point for many a reader. However, it’s also a short chapter, and if you make it past this roadblock, there’s a good chance you’ll make it through the book.
- A list of characters in the novel might come in handy.
- And finally, here’s an overview of the whole shebang, including themes, style, and chapter summaries.
Leopold Bloom, as drawn by Joyce
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