An Odyssey through Ulysses: Prelude

“It will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant.”
-James Joyce

I have started reading the 1986 Gabler edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, widely regarded as one of the most difficult (and best) novels of the 20th century, due to its stream-of-consciousness style, unstructured format, and the depth and magnitude of the allusions, puns, and pastiches embedded within the text. To help me through the book, I also have an annotation compiled by Don Gifford with Robert J. Seidman.

Obviously, there are several ways to approach a text as monumental and metaphorical a book as Ulysses. Joyce himself provided two separate “schema,” the Linati and the Gilbert, for readers to use when working their way through the text. Using them as well as the annotation, I will examine each episode separately, focusing on whatever element of the episode strikes me most. My goal is to make it through an episode a week, which would have me finishing the book roughly around Bloomsday, June 16. To be sure, this is an aggressive goal, but I think it is attainable. As I make my way through the book, I will post my thoughts and comments here.

To any Joyce scholars who happen across this article, please feel free to recommend any articles or books that you think would further illuminate my reading of the text.

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