Thursday, 27 September 2007

"Ulysses" a novel by James Joyce

1922 first edition cover
Author : James Joyce
Country : France
Language : English
Genre(s) : Novel
Publisher : Sylvia Beach
Publication date : 1922
Media type : Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages : 644-1,000, depending on edition
ISBN : ISBN 0-679-72276-9
Preceded by : A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Followed by : Finnegans Wake

Ulysses is a novel by James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. It is one of the most important works of Modernist literature[1].

Ulysses chronicles the passage through Dublin by its main character, Leopold Bloom, during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. The title alludes to the hero of Homer's Odyssey (Latinised into Ulysses), and there are many parallels, both implicit and explicit, between the two works (e.g., the correspondences between Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus). June 16 is now celebrated by Joyce's fans worldwide as Bloomsday.

Ulysses totals 250,000 words from a vocabulary of 30,000 words, with most editions containing between 644 and 1000 pages. Divided into 18 'episodes', as they are referred to in most scholarly circles, the book has been the subject of much controversy and scrutiny since its publication, ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual 'Joyce Wars'. Ulysses's groundbreaking stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring, and highly experimental prose—full of puns, parodies, and allusions—as well as its rich characterizations and broad humour, have made the book perhaps the most highly regarded novel in the Modernist pantheon.

In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.[2]

Joyce's first acquaintance with Odysseus was via Charles Lamb's Adventures of Ulysses - an adaptation of the Odyssey for children, which seems to have established the Roman name in Joyce‘s mind. At school he wrote an essay on Ulysses as his 'favourite hero' (Gorman, p. 45). He thought about calling Dubliners Ulysses in Dublin (Borach, p. 325), but the idea grew from a story in Dubliners in 1906, to a 'short book' in 1907 (Ellmann, p. 265), to the vast novel which he began writing in 1914.

Structure and themes

See also: Linati schema for Ulysses and Gilbert schema for Ulysses

Ulysses is divided into eighteen chapters or 'episodes.' At first glance much of the book may appear unstructured and chaotic, but the two schemata which Stuart Gilbert and Herbert Gorman released after publication to defend Joyce from the obscenity accusations make the links to the Odyssey, and much internal structure, linkable.

Every episode of Ulysses has an assigned theme, technique and, tellingly, correspondences between its characters and those of the Odyssey. The episode titles and the correspondences were not included in the original text but are known from the Linati and Gilbert schema. Joyce referred to the episodes by their Homeric titles in his letters. He took the titles from Victor Bérard’s two-volume Les Phéniciens et l’Odyssée which he consulted in 1918 in the Zentralbibliothek of Zürich. Bérard’s book was the source of Joyce’s idiosyncratic rendering of some of the Homeric titles: 'Nausikaa', the 'Telemachia'. It is believed that Joyce wrote some of the novel in The Mullingar House In Chapelizod.

More about Ulysses, plot summary, theme, etc, click here

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