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Ulysses Annotated

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  2,274 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Here substantially revised and expanded, Don Gifford's annotations to Joyce's great modern classic comprise a specialized encyclopedia that will inform any reading of Ulysses. Annotations in this edition are keyed both to the reading text of the new critical edition of Ulysses published in 1984 and to the standard 1961 Random House edition and the current Modern Library an ...more
Paperback, 698 pages
Published September 7th 1989 by University of California Press (first published February 28th 1989)
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Community Reviews

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I've just finished my first read of Ulysses, and it was a transcendent experience. I took two months, took my time, looked forward to my weekly (sometimes biweekly) visits in Joyce's Dublin.

I am not yet ready to write a review of Ulysses - I want to let the experience wash over me a bit longer before I try to capture it in words. But I do want to say a few words about the reference texts I used: Ulysses Annotated and The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses (which I will discuss in a sepa
Paul Bryant
This book is bulkier than Ulysses itself and I didn't like it one bit. I think the authors knew I wouldn't. In their preface they say

The notes may appear to labor an abundance of the obvious in order to render a few grains of the subtle and suggestive


This book is designed to be laid open beside the novel and to be read in tandem with it. Tandem reading, however, has its disadvantages.

I'll say. Especially when the front rider on the tandem is pedalling manically into the dangerous transcendent
anyone who says they understood ulysses without using this book is lying. kick them in the balls for me.
I remember so much more of Ulysses Annotated than I do of Ulysses that it's actually ridiculous (not that this is saying much, since I have a serious case of book amnesia when it comes to Ulysses, possibly because I was distracted the whole time by the annotations). For example: "French letter" was Irish slang at the time for condoms. "Pole-ax" is some kind of important verb that comes from Hamlet. I think. A "pard" -- contrary to my then-dictionary's definition, which had it as an abbreviated f ...more
Laura Wetsel
May 09, 2007 Laura Wetsel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ulysses reader
Necessary companion to Ulysses, which is as big as Ulysses. You won't understand Ulysses without it.
The amount of information is just at the border of overwhelming.
Very usable, an encyclopedic approach to the arcana of Ulysses.

An important facet of this volume is that it is not a summary, nor is it a condensation or analysis of what happens in the novel. If you want something that explains, "here Bloom's question reveals more than he is saying and indicates ..." then you want another book.

This book is all about translating the Latin, the Greek, the Dublinisms, the limericks, the popular song and riddle--- and the millions of strange little phrases and wo
Jul 18, 2007 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone reading or planning to read Ulysses
This book is wonderful, and I don't think I could make it through Ulysses without it. The (admittedly unfair) reason I give it only three stars is because of my dislike for having to read two heavy, bulky books at once. I loved the introduction to the annotations with the thoughtful suggestions on how to manage the task of simultaneous reading and the concise, engaging summary of events in Irish history that surround the day Ulysses takes place. I had never read a thing before about anti-semitis ...more
This supplementary book of annotation and background info is indispensable if you are giving Ulysses a go. Keep in mind that the annotations themselves are somewhat intimidating -- averaging a page of notes per page of Joyce's writing. Including the background and plan for each section (for example, Joyce has a character from the Odyssey, a set of colors, an organ, a theme, a time of day, etc. for each of his sections, and this is included before each section of notes), this book is actually lar ...more

Excellent guide to Mister Joyce's big book of the daytime...Only quarrel is the page references are for an edition that isn't mine own, my beloved Vintage version, but ah whatever. It's not hard to look stuff up when you need to.

It's a Rosetta Stone, skeleton key, church key, Key to All Mythologies, Concordance, Atlas, Microscope, Unmoved Mover, Getaway Driver and textual spaceship. By having it around, it enhances your reading experience of Ulysses and, by extension, your experience of readin
This book provides amazing support for the reader (esp. first time reader) of Ulysses. I don't think I'd recommend this as a SOLE guide for a reader, but instead paired with The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses you will have both the macro level guide you need combined with this, the micro guide to each and EVERY reference. Very highly recommended.
This book was a shock to me. It's not just a book of annotations, it's also a history of Ireland, literature, language, and damn near everything else Joyce decided to allude to in his masterpiece. I never would have guessed that just reading the annotations (without the source text) would make good reading, but that is certainly the case here. You do not by any means need this book to enjoy Ulysses, but it does give remarkable insight into the mind behind it.
May 14, 2007 Connie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Die-Hard lit scholars
Shelves: classics
If you're going to read Joyce's Ulysses, then ignore all those who will ask you why. It's funny, beautiful, desperate, and well worth the effort - but not without this guide. This encyclopedic volume takes you line by line through every allusion, symbol, and reference in Joyce's book and really will heighten your experience of Ulysses. This Herculean work must have taken years and years of research, but thank God for it!
Indispensable for a close reading of Ulysses; a hindrance for its enjoyment. It is a trustworthy and useful reference, but don't make it your constant companion.
Essential to anyone who cares about this book. Ulysses has been creeping back into my life in weird ways recently. Perhaps an epic rereading in the near future??
Allison Zink
An extremely used collection of symbols, references, and allusions that provide context for scenes and characters in James Joyce's Ulysses--highly recommended!
Doubting the breadth and scope of Ulysses? Peruse this to get your head spinning.
Indispensable for a thorough reading of Ulysses.

This is a reference book, with entries arranged in order of their occurrence in the text. Originally compiled to help students in Gifford's own classes on Ulysses, it sets out to answer just about anything you might want to "look up" while reading Ulysses--which is a lot, and this is a big book.

For example: you're reading the Lestrygonians episode, and you come across a mention of "lemon platt". What's that? Look it up in the Lestrygonians chapter
It's been about two years since I read Ulysses, and reviewing it today I had to go back and add an extra star for this "greatest novel of all time". I had to add it, not because I found the book itself any more enjoyable. Having read the monstrous text three times now, I completely recognize its literary merit despite loathing every moment I've spent trenching through its thick, over-analyzed language. But that was what got the book its first three stars -- I knew it could not be ignored. Howeve ...more
Extremely useful, but can be dangerous. Don't be tempted to sit it side by side with your copy of Ulysses and read them in tandem (as it suggests in the foreward). You really don't need to know every annotation here. Look, I love minutia. But some of this is beyond minutia and will contribute nothing to your appreciation, and constantly switching back and forth between the two books will ruin the flow of the work and your enjoyment of it. Instead, keep it nearby and if something in particular co ...more
Solid annotations. The one issue is there are too many! It would have been good for the author to signal which ones were quite key and which ones were incidental (e.g. yes, person X really did exist and have this profession in Dublin).
Tom Schutt
This is an extremely useful companion to Ulysses. Explains every reference to Homer, Irish history, previous Joyce works, and anything else mentioned in Joyce's masterpiece.
Alix Sandomir
I found these notes excellent help in understanding Ulysses. I know that it can be annoying to have to consult a massive book every two or three lines but doing so can dramatically alter your reading of the text.

The geographical annotations are particularly useful. I have spent my whole life in Dublin and wasn't familiar with many of the places mentioned. Some might think it trivial but in sections such as Wandering Rocks, you can't appreciate what Joyce is doing if you can't recognize it. The
Ulysses Annotated was a great supplement to my first,second, and [eventually] third marathons through Ulysses this year. (I'm writing an extended criticism on Joyce and Modernism. Why? Because I hate myself, and I have low self-esteem. Voglio e non. I wonder if I'm saying that right. Volgio. Queer word. Who's getting it up? Poor Dignam! Poor Papa! Poor brutes. Letter. Soap. Potato.) The work includes samples from both of Joyce's schema, a scene-for-scene comparison to Homer's Odyssey, and a line ...more
Anna Cain
I wouldn't have survived my Ulysses course without this book. On behalf of my entire class, thank you Mr. Gifford.
Simply the best - arm yourself with this while you make your way through early twentieth century Dublin.
Used this while writing a paper on Ulysses in the 1990s. A great help!
Mar 30, 2014 Erich rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2001
It is a shame that this isn't available in ebook format.
Miguel Salgado
A enciclopédia do enciclopédico Ulisses.
Certainly made the difference in helping me understand the many world/Irish history, literature, musical, biblical references in "Ulysses", along with the 1904 Dublin people, places and language.

At the beginning of each chapter, gives a brief summary of the chapter in Homer's "Odyssey" that it follows. Gifford also gives brief description of the chapter, and symbolism to look for. As the chapter goes along - thousands of references are provided.

I had this opened and referenced to while I read
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  • The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses
  • James Joyce's Ulysses
  • James Joyce
  • Re Joyce
  • A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake: James Joyce's Masterwork Revealed
  • Annotations to  Finnegans Wake
  • Stephen Hero
  • Nora
  • Inventing Ireland
  • A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel
  • James Joyce
  • Literary Essays of Ezra Pound
  • Lectures on Literature
  • In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English
  • The Complete Plays
  • A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms
  • Proust's Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time
  • The Redress of Poetry
Don Gifford (1919-2000) was Professor of English and American studies at Williams College, Massachusetts.
More about Don Gifford...
Joyce Annotated: Notes for Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man The Farther Shore: A Natural History of Perception, 1798-1984 Zones of Re-Membering: Time, Memory, and (Un)Consciousness An Early View of the Shakers: Benson John Lossing and the Harper''s Article of July 1857 The Delegated Intellect: Emersonian Essays on Literature, Science, and Art in Honor of Don Gifford

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