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Ulysses guide?

After reading several RAW books, I’ve finally decided I want to read
Ulysses. Since most people consider it a literary heavyweight, I’m
looking for guides that steer me through Joyce’s world. I already own
"Coincidance" which many find very illuminating regarding Joyce’s
work. Additionally, I would like to get another guide to Ulysses,
though. I’d be very grateful if someone could recommend me one (or

Thanks in advance.


posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (7)

7 Responses to “Ulysses guide?”

  1. admin says:

    I think some but not all elements of _Ulysses_ parallel _The
    Odyssey_.  I recommend just plowing through _Ulysses_ on a first
    reading.  I’ve read two short guides which I found very useful:
    _Ulysses: The Mechanics of Meaning_ by David Heyman and _Ulysses_ by
    Hugh Kenner.  Bob Wilson really liked Kenner’s writing about Joyce and

  2. admin says:

    I agree with Bandito about the Kenner recommendation.  I also liked
    _Ulysses: The Mechanics of Meaning_ by David Heyman.

  3. admin says:

    I forgot about _James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses. With a Portrait
    of James Joyce and Four Drawings to Ulysses By the Author_ by Frank
    Budgen.  Both Hugh Kenner and Harold Bloom considered this the best
    book on _Ulysses_.  I enjoyed it and found it very worthwhile.

  4. admin says:

    I found Ulysses Annotated by Don Gifford very useful along with a copy
    of the Cliff Notes when I read the book.

    First reading a section and then reading the Annotations, I would go
    back and re-read the section again. It took awhile but was very


  5. admin says:

    Skooter and 1132 gave pointers I find sound. Here’s my recommended
    Course for study of Ulysses:

    1. Read it all the way through on your own, and don’t get vexed by the
    parts that seem overwhelming. (Like Circe…)

    2. Read Homer’s _Odyssey_ and Billy Shakes’s _Hamlet_ again, closely.
    After that first reading of Ulysses you can see why they’re muy
    importante. If you’re madman enough to look into St. Thomas Aquinas or
    some fat book on medieval philosophy – or the egregious and damned
    Vico – bully for you, but the secondary sources mentioned in this
    paragraph ensuing will probably suffice for now. Re-read Ulysses
    again, this time with the books 1132 and Skooter cited. And also check
    out the parts on Ulysses in Wm York Tindall’s _A Reader’s Guide To
    James Joyce_, Stuart Gilbert’s book _James Joyce’s Ulysses_, Kain’s
    _Fabulous Voyager_, and _The Art of James Joyce_, by A. Walton Litz. I
    can see you now, all those books in one 37" pile to your right, your
    copy of _Ulysses_ on the table in front of you, while you watch Joseph
    Strick’s 1967 film _Ulysses_, starring Milo O’Shea as Leopold Bloom.
    Hey, watch all the films based on Joyce’s life and work.

    3. Read – if you haven’t already – Dubliners and POTAAAYM. Read
    Ellmann’s famous bio of JJ. Check out Stanislaus’s book on his
    brother, and Brenda Maddox’s on Nora. Have you read the collection of
    Joyce’s little articles, usually titled something like _Occasional and
    Critical Writings_? Thumb through a book of his letters, too. If you
    manage to obtain the 3-vol set, I’m jealous, officially. All I have is
    _Selected Letters_. Did you get all that money dealing dope?
    Anyway…_Exiles_ is a play JJ wrote. It may shed some light. Finally,
    here’s a gem of a source, at least as much fun as the fat bio by
    Ellmann: _Pound/Joyce: The Letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce_ "with
    Pound’s critical essays and articles about Joyce/Edited and with a
    commentary by Forrest Read." Trust me on this! All this secondary,
    tertiary, and peripheral reading/skimming under your belt and down
    your crotch, and you’re now ready to…

    4. Read Ulysses again. Gifford and Siedman are always good to have on
    hand, and also get hold of _James Joyce A to Z_ for reference and
    reminders. By now you’re becoming a true Joycean, and yet we haven’t
    even begun to talk about FW. This may seem like a lot of Ulysses
    reading – and it is. But RAW read it about once a year since 1948,
    so…If you want an idiosyncratic index to RAW on Joyce, I can give it
    to ya piecemeal, if ya want.

    5. Report your findings here.

    -rmjon23 da Berkeley

    "I went through my annual re-reading of Joyce’s _Ulysses_. To my
    astonishment, it now appeared that Joyce had not only written a great
    Freudian-Jungian ‘psychological novel,’ but had also written the first
    novel based entirely on Relativity. In _Ulysses_ every narrator (or
    ‘narrative voice’) acts like an instrument recording a different
    reality-tunnel, and the reader, like a mathematician, gradually
    intuits an abstract structure that seems to ‘contain’ all of these, or
    at least allows them to co-exist as Existential Reports from various
    psychological ‘inertial systems.’"
    -Robert Anton Wilson, _Cosmic Trigger Vol 2: Down To Earth_, p.174
    (later edition)

    "I am not dealing with Mr. Joyce in this volume. I have small doubt
    that no reader will have taken this book, up to this moment, for
    anything save an universal receptacle, yet it has its limits, and its
    edge is a demarcation. In 1912 or eleven I invoked whatever gods may
    exist, in the quatrain:

            Sweet Christ from hell spew up some Rabelais,
            To belch and…..and to define today
            In fitting fashion, and her monument
            Heap up to her in fadeless excrement.

    ‘Ulysses’ I take as my answer. Yet ten years later when Brancusi
    inveighed against the ‘monumental’, I did not grasp his meaning.
    ‘Ulysses’ is the end, the summary, of a period, that period is branded
    by La Tour du Pin in his phrase ‘age of usury.’"
    -the astonishing mad genius Ezra Pound, _Guide To Kulchur_(1938), p.96

  6. admin says:

    What a nifty post, Mr. Johnson.  Thank you.  I also prefer the 1961
    Random House edition of _Ulysses_ (still available in a variety of
    editions) to the 1986 "The Corrected Text" version.  Bob Wilson also
    prefered the 1961 edition.  If you already own "The Corrected Text," I
    would say go ahead and read it, but if you haven’t purchased a copy
    yet, I would go with the earlier text.