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3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  79,359 Ratings  ·  4,647 Reviews
Originally reviled as obscure and obscene, Joyce's masterpiece now stands as one of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century. Loosely based on Homer's Odyssey, the novel traces the paths of Leopold Bloom and other Dubliners through an ordinary summer day and night in 1904 — a typical day, transformed by Joyce's narrative powers into an epic celebration of l ...more
Paperback, 752 pages
Published November 18th 2009 by Dover Publications (first published February 2nd 1922)
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Popular Answered Questions

Rene Quezada You can and should read the Shmoop Summaries of each episode after reading the episode. Understand, and accept that you will not understand…moreYou can and should read the Shmoop Summaries of each episode after reading the episode. Understand, and accept that you will not understand everything, most, or maybe even half of the text on your first reading. The Shmoop summaries are fantastic, concise, and simplify everything into the normal linear narrative style that Joyce worked so hard to avoid and reject. They're written as bullet points. Also read each episode individually, and if you can take a break in between, each episode is written in slightly or even vastly different style which makes the novel more freeform jazz than it does verse-chorus-verse pop song.

Here you go... Start Here:
Deepak Pitaliya Genius? No doubt about it.
Arrogant? Don't know.
Difficult to follow SOMETIMES? Surely you are joking, it is difficult to follow most of the times.
Genius? No doubt about it.
Arrogant? Don't know.
Difficult to follow SOMETIMES? Surely you are joking, it is difficult to follow most of the times.
You are enjoying it: Good to hear that.
So different? Completely agree with you.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
5 stars because its a work of genius, so everyone says.

4 stars because it has so many deep literary and classical references that to say one understood the book, is like saying one is very well educated.

3 stars because the words, strung together in a stream-of-consciousness mellifluous, onomatopoeic way, read just beautifully.

2 stars because it was boring as hell. I just couldn't care less about the characters, I just wanted them to get on with whatever they were doing and have Joyce interfere i
Apr 12, 2008 Jimmy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I Can't do it, It fell in my toilet and didn't dry well, and I'm accepting it as an act of god. I decided against burning it, and just threw it out.
Yes, I am a horrible person.
Jul 18, 2008 Ike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Life is too short to read Ulysses.
Paul Bryant
Each chapter is rated out of ten for difficulty, obscenity, general mindblowing brilliance and beauty of language.

Note : if you're after my short course bluffer's guide to ulysses, here it is :

But now... the real thing.


1. Telemachus. Difficulty : 0
Obscenity: 0
General mindblowing brilliance : 8
Beauty of language : 7
Stephen the morose ex-student isn't enjoying life. Lots of brittle dialogue, mainly from motormouth blasphemer Buck Mull
Apr 11, 2012 s.penkevich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Just read it!
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Ben Linus
Often considered one of the ‘greatest novel of the 20th century’, James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, is both a feat and feast of sheer literary brilliance. Reimagining Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey as the travels and trials of an everyday man through the crowded streets and pubs of Dublin, Joyce weaves strikingly versatile prose styles and varying perspectives to encompass the whole of life within the hours of a single standard day, June 16th, 1904. This day, dubbed Bloomsday, is celebrated wit ...more
Jan 24, 2014 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: celtic
Sometimes reading a Great Work of Literature is like drinking fine French wine, say an aged Burgundy or Mersault. Everyone tells you how amazing it is, and on an intellectual level you can appreciate the brilliance, the subtlety, the refinement. But really it is too refined. It is unapproachable, it is aloof, it doesn't go with that
ketchupy burger you're having for dinner. You're not enjoying it.

But then you read the label more closely and realize that although it tastes just like a fine burgund
Dan Porter
Good books should participate in a "conversation" with each other, and with us when we read them. I made the mistake of inviting Joyce - via Ulysses - to join my literary conversation. He's not much of a conversationalist. He mostly just sat in a corner mumbling incoherently to himself. Every once in a while he'd quote - or try to ridicule - something he'd read somewhere, but that's not really conversation is it? More like namedropping.

Buried within Joyce's verbosity is something similar to a pl
Jan 31, 2008 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
as a bloke with an english degree, i guess i'm supposed to extol all thing joycian and gladly turn myself self over to the church of joye. after all, that's what english grads do, right? we revel in our snobbery and gloat about having read 'gravity's rainbow' and 'ulysses' start to finish.

well, i may be in the minority when i say i didn't care for this book at all. i get that it's a complex book with innumerable references to greek mythology, heavy allegories, dense poetry wacky structures, and

Silly little kalliope, the spirally-kalliope, who had thought about entering the Labyrinth in the past but just stood outside looking at its entrance. For years. Luckily for her, the real Kalliope, the Grand, the Muse, springing out of GR where she has been dwelling in the recent past, took pity on her and after visiting the gods of literature and seeking their acceptance, decided to assist the spirally and guide her through the imposing Labyrinth.

As the Grand Kalliope-the-Muse thought that Spir
Dec 06, 2015 Fionnuala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed in August 2012

This review is my attempt to reclaim Ulysses from the academics. My edition was a simple paperback without notes or glossary but containing a preface which I intend to read after I've written my review. I'll probably look at other reviews too, as frankly, I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms from the world of this novel.

The word 'novel' seems inappropriate to describe Ulysses but at the same time, the word might have been invented specifically to describe it. Everything abou
Aug 01, 2016 William1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 20-ce, ireland
1. Reading this so late, so long after its lessons have been absorbed and modified and abandoned and resurrected (see Will Self's Umbrella), I can't imagine what it was like for a first-time reader in 1922-23. For those who both loved and hated it, it must have been a hydrogen bomb of a book. The classicists must have been fit for tying. The hubris of rewriting Homer. The classicists must have been apoplectic!

2. In the Hades/Graveyard section (6), Leopold Bloom considers the enormity of de

Some works are not written; they are lived. The authors write not with ink, but with breaths. Every breath that finds its way in, sucks in a piece of the world and releases it into the author’s being, letting it permeate, gauge, prod, absorb and contemplate, and packages it like a farewell gift onto the back of the breath being puffed out. And since the saga of this breath-taking game continues for a few years till the red starts blinking, we get a work that resembles distilled crystals, found a
Renato Magalhães Rocha
Like Odysseus was aided by his fellow men and gods on his quest to return to Ithaca after twenty years of absence, I, who feared so much tackling Ulysses all by myself, for its complexity amounted a reputation as big and powerful as the Trojan horse, I received great help from my fellow companionship from the Odysseus to Ulysses reading group, who contributed with information, different interpretations and perspectives - which without I might have failed at finishing - and that undoubtedly pushe ...more
Feb 07, 2010 Bram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2010
I wanted to start out discussing the baggage that comes with reading this book and the challenge of attempting to reach a verdict on its quality in out-of-5-star form, let alone that of trying to write a coherent response. But unfortunately, I’ve already covered that intro ground with another review. But where I succeeded in not becoming a slobbering fanboy or prickish contrarian on that occasion, I have here, much to my own surprise, failed. During the early episodes of the book I felt like I ...more
MJ Nicholls
First, about the haste. This book is a page-turner. Forget Stephen King. Joyce is the man you read in bed, furiously tongue-fingering the pages to see what seminal modernist technique he invents, masters, inverts, spins on its head like a circus freak with a whirligig in his bonce. The first five episodes set the pace perfectly, setting the reader up for the all-singing all-dancing feats of outrageous showboating that follow in the remaining thirteen chapters, each adding a few Jenga blocks to t ...more
Jan 15, 2013 Jenn(ifer) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: masochists
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: sadists

Are you ready for it? Are you sure? Okay, well here it is!!

I finished Ulysses! It took Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay 7 weeks to climb to the top of Mt. Everest. It took me 5 weeks to conquer Mt. Ulysses. After I finished, I threw the book on the table, ran out the door, down Kelly Drive, through the art museum circle, ran up the stairs, started punching at the air and raised my fists in victory!! And the world reJoyced!

Okay, so I didn’t really do
(Geneva, late 2012. Plainpalais market, a riotous display of phallic vegetables, ill-smelling cheese and trash literature. THE REVIEWER and his GIRLFRIEND walk through the stalls hand in hand. Polyglot conversations around them.)

THE REVIEWER: Now here's a significant quote.
"My methods are new and are causing surprise
To make the blind see I throw dust in their eyes."

STANISLAW LEM: Mogę to rozwinąć.
MICHAEL KANDEL: I can give you more details on that.

SWEDISH SHOPPER: Hej! Jag kommer ifrån Bollestad
Oct 16, 2013 Hadrian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland, fiction
Yes, yes, we've all heard the hype and sniping. Ulysses is one of the greatest books ever written, it is a masturbatory piece of tripe, it is a triumph of modernism and the culmination of Irish literature, it's an unintelligible prank on literature professors, and so on. You can read the other reviews here or volumes of critical analysis elsewhere.

So this is the very first time I have read Ulysses to its completion. I tried once as a pockmarked adolescent and quit in the chapter composed almost
Jun 11, 2016 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The singer asked the crowd - how many of your have read James Joyce?

He had just sang Whiskey in the Jar and was queuing up to sing Finnegan's Wake, he was setting the stage for his next song. A few hands went up, mine among them. We were in The Merry Ploughman's Pub in South Dublin and the crowd was having a good time, singing and drinking Guiness from pint glasses.

Now, how many understood what you read? The crowd laughed and half as many hands stayed up and I realized my extended arm wavered
Stephen M
Feb 17, 2013 Stephen M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alien Anthropologists Who Want to Learn About the English Language
Recommended to Stephen M by: EG
On Not Reviewing this Book

*this review has a lot of swearing in it and for that I apologize. drinking requires apologies*

I have about thirty pages, front and back, of notes on this book, I swear. My intentions for the review were epic in proportion: multiple Ian-Graye style headings, a dissertation level of analysis, and a wealth of puns scattered throughout.

But of course, books leave their impact in complex and frustrating ways and initially, any semblance of a review was far too intimidating.
Emily May
I did it. I finished it. And it was everything everyone said it would be: difficult, infuriating, brilliant, insane, genius, painful, etc. You get the idea, I'm sure. I can't even rate it. How do you rate a book that left you wide-eyed with awe at the author's brilliance, yet simultaneously made you want to bring him back to life just so you could kill him?
Jul 31, 2016 Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
انا بحب الرواية دي من ساعة ما شوفت صورة لمارلين مونرو وهي بتقرأها , وأنا بحب مارلين بصراحة فحبيت اللي بتقرأه :

لكن وأنا بقرأ الرواية دي كان شكلي عامل كدا :

ت.إس.إليوت في معرض حديثه عن هذه الرواية بيقول:

عن طريق استخدام الأسطورة و استغلال التوازي المستمر بين المعاصرة والقِدَم , يتبع السيد جويس طريقة يجب على الآخرين تقليده فيها ... و هي ببساطة طريقة للتحكم والتنظيم و إضفاء شكل و أهمية على مشهد العبث و الفوضى الطاغي الذي يمثله التاريخ المعاصر

لو قُدر لنص أدبي أن يقدس , لكانت عوليس هي الرواية المختارة
Ian "Marvin" Graye
100 Words in Search of a Precis (For Those of Us Who Prefer the Short Form of Stimulation)

“Ulysses” is a snapshot of one day’s life, with us watching from our couch as if we were watching the Simpsons.

Its meaning is a creative joint venture between author and reader and, equally likely, other readers.

Bloom sees sex as procreation and a continuation of himself, his journey, his culture, his legacy into the future.

Ultimately, "Ulysses" is Joyce's gift to his wife, Nora, the mother of his son (Ge
Barry Pierce
That’s it. I love Joyce. I’ve said it I can’t take it back. Ulysses is great. Like, really great. And its difficulty it so ridiculously overhyped that it makes me want to stab something. I enjoyed this so much I read it in two sittings, both in less than 48 hours. God. It’s just so good. Joyce is a master and you all should read him. Now.
Emilian Kasemi

“You should approach Joyce's Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.”
William Faulkner

Joyce considered writing a hard work and not just a form of expression. You can compare the complexity of his work to that sought by architects, in the structures of cathedrals. But an author, some people may say, can not and should not write exclusively for the world of artists, but must base his work solidly in reality. And it's exactly what Joyce wanted to do, thin
Jun 16, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who have a lot of time on their hands and a masochistic streak
I don't feel really worthy to review this book. It's Ulysses. It's one of the greatest modern novels in the English language. It's a love letter to it and a history of it and has a sick, twisted relationship with it's readers and has actually driven people to a lifetime of studying just a few chapters of it. I know I missed a thousand things in every ten pages I read, and if I went back again, I'd see things completely differently.

And nonetheless, I did read it, and I feel the need to mark that
Cindy Newton
Sep 04, 2016 Cindy Newton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Okay, I'm revising my original one-star rating of this book. I'm caving. I admit it--I'm a weak person. I cringe every time I do a book comparison and see the other person's five stars staring accusingly (and a little contemptuously) at my forlorn lone star. My solitary star is looking furtively over its shoulder, wondering if anyone has noticed that it belongs to an English teacher. So I'm caving. I'm giving this linguistic freak-show of a book five stars, for precisely that reason. It is a lin ...more
Oct 17, 2015 Ellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apr 26, 2015 11:05PM
Ξεκίνησα τον Οδυσσέα δειλά δειλά - χρόνια τον φοβόμουν- στα τέλη του Μαρτιου. Αφού διάβασα τα τέσσερα πρώτα κεφάλαια και εχοντας πολλή πληροφόρηση για το βιβλιο όλα αυτά τα χρόνια, αποφάσισα να πάρω τον οδηγό ανάγνωσης του Μαραγκόπουλου, όπερ και εγένετο. Ξαναδιάβασα τα κεφάλαια παράλληλα με το βιβλίο του Μαραγκόπουλου το οποιο ξεκαθαριζει κάποια σημεία, εχει πολύ καλή δομη και δίνει πληροφορίες που βοηθούν πολύ την ανάγνωση. Φυσικά, αν ειχα περισσότερο χρόνο, θα ηθελα να δι
Dec 16, 2012 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love language and don't mind being confused and frustrated.
Wow. I guess this is the sort of book that people either love or hate. In all honesty, I didn't know what to expect when I picked up Ulysses. I had just read "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" some months back and I thought Ulysses would follow a similar format. Well, Ulysses didn't even follow any clear format!

Why I enjoyed this book so much is because I'm a lover of words and of the English language in general, and this book used such a wide variety of words. I don't think I even under
Ashley Smith
Dec 21, 2007 Ashley Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book not only ruined a week at the beach but also damaged my self-esteem. After years of hearing that this was such a difficult work to read, I confidently and pridefully picked it up in an effort to prepare for a trip to Ireland. I finished it out of nothing but determination and the last shreds of my dignity. I have no idea what any of it meant, and I could not find coherence in more than 10 pages at a time. Did I have the thoroughness to investigate literary criticisms to try to understa ...more
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  • The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses
  • Ulysses Annotated
  • James Joyce
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 4th Movement (A Dance to the Music of Time, #10-12)
  • The Way of All Flesh
  • Nostromo
  • Remembrance of Things Past: Volume III - The Captive, The Fugitive, & Time Regained
  • Molloy
  • U.S.A., #1-3
  • Re Joyce
  • James Joyce's Ulysses
  • At Swim-Two-Birds
  • Zuleika Dobson
  • Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
James Joyce, Irish novelist, noted for his experimental use of language in such works as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce's technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions ...more
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“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” 1955 likes
“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” 602 likes
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