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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  58,992 ratings  ·  3,420 reviews

Written over a seven-year period, from 1914 to 1921, this book has survived bowdlerization, legal action and controversy. The novel deals with the events of one day in Dublin, 16th June 1904, now known as "Bloomsday". The principal characters are Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom and his wife Molly. Ulysses has been labelled dirty, blasphemous and unreadable. In a famous 1933

Kindle Edition, 1040 pages
Published (first published 1920)
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Petra X
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...more
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.
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...more
Life is too short to read Ulysses.
Apr 11, 2012 s.penkevich rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
Jan 15, 2013 Jenn(ifer) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...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
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...more
Stephen M
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....more
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...more
Ian Paganus
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...more
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...more
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 means of expression. You can compare the complexity of his work to that sought by the 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 its work solidly in reality. And it's exactly what Joyce wanted to do,...more
K.D. Absolutely
May 01, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
My third attempt to read this book and this time, I succeeded. It stayed 2 years in my currently-reading shelf. I read it intermittently because there were other books that came along the way. First, I read this page by page until a quarter of it. I did not understand where the story was going and what Joyce was trying to say. So, for the third time, I stopped. My brother asked why. I told him how arduous, dragging and difficult this book was so after he commented "straining your eyes is not the...more
Jun 16, 2009 Kelly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Ulysses may, in fact, be the greatest trick ever pulled on the literary world. It is dense and virtually incomprehensible, and yet, somehow, it manages to maintain its reign as prom queen of the classics shelf. I’m telling you right now that this is a farce. We’ve all been bamboozled. Underneath all of the praise, hiding behind the sparkles and the makeup, is a snarky Chess Club captain. And she’s snickering at all of us for being such dumbasses.

Now, just hold on a moment. Before you jump all ov...more
(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.

(No one pays them any attention)

The rest of this...more
Michael Kneeland
Jun 23, 2012 Michael Kneeland rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone unafraid of 768 pages and hear-say
You can always tell a book will be timeless when it's got a story all of its own:

Joyce first tried shopping the colossal Ulysses manuscript around Paris in 1920, but was turned down by nearly everybody. Then 1922 came along and an adventurous young entrepreneur named Sylvia Beach--who owned a little bookshop called Shakespeare and Co., which attracted the likes of young Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald and even our anti-Semitic poet-at-large, Ezra Pound--managed to have it published by taki...more
Jul 08, 2014 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The frozen deathspew of the slain
Recommended to Brian by: Mother's milk

Is this seat taken? I’ve only just arrived. No, third time, truly. First was in my early twenties. Over there I can see my old plate of good intentions piled high, barely touched. On that other table marked Centennial I spy my second visit. A single bite worth fifty pages missing from the entrée; mossy, ten years gone. This time, I stay.

Lovers of lit orbit like satellites of a dark and inscrutable planet. If we lift our gaze to the borders we can see them peering into this celebration. Intimidat...more
Sarah (Warning: Potentially Off-Topic)
I loved Ulysses so much that I'm sad it’s over. Sad also that if I want to read more Joyce, I have to read Finnegans Wake, and that’s not likely to happen any time soon. I’ve been curious about this book since I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in high school years ago. My teacher went on at length about Leopold Bloom’s journey through a day in Dublin as a parallel to Odysseus’s journey home to Ithaca, how a bar of soap in Bloom’s pocket had its own journey to mirror Bloom’s and Odys...more
Dec 16, 2012 Rowena rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Jared Busch
Mar 22, 2007 Jared Busch rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not everyone
Maybe my favorite book and definitely a strange obsession of mine. I knew next to nothing about Irish history before reading this but had a masochistic streak of reading insanely difficult books, so that was enough to get me going. If you read "The Bloomsday Guide" along with it, it's actually not so hard, but Joyce is definitely an acquired taste, and I would recommend NOT starting here with him. The logical order in which to read him would be chronological: Dubliners, Portrait, then Ulysses, a...more
Things that surprised me about Ulysses:

1. It wasn't just a bunch of victorian prissy hyperbole, it really is pornographic.
2. It's about an ad man.
3. It was only hard to read for the first 100 pages.
4. It is NOT about a man just walking across Dublin. Why does everyone always tell me that? What a bad description!
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Compendiusly Nipping Pastiche. Clearseeing.

Yes, I am a horrible person. This book damaged my self-esteem. Sally Kellerman sat and read Ulysses to me. If anyone tells you how ‘marvelous’, ‘daring’ or ‘revolutionary’ this book is just throttle them with a stick because they’re stupid ponces. Bloody unreadable. Joyce was naturally on the list. What a waste of time and effort. He did not deserve to earn a penny for writing this cryptic, abstruse, impenetrable monstrosity. I found my short interactio...more
Ashley Smith
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
May 10, 2012 Steve marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
(Now with an addendum)

If you’re one of those technologically hobbled types who doesn’t yet have a time machine, I highly recommend one. I also suggest spending the extra to get the “place” setting. Then you could do like I did and put yourself in a pub in Dublin in 1904. Last night, after transporting myself in space and time, I sidled up to a loquacious young fellow who seemed, at times, either drunk or crazy, but even as he rambled he was preternaturally well-spoken. He was at his coherent bes...more
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  • Ulysses Annotated
  • In Search of Lost Time  (À la recherche du temps perdu #1-7)
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  • James Joyce
  • Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
  • The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses
  • U.S.A.
  • James Joyce's Ulysses: A Study
  • Gravity's Rainbow
  • At Swim-Two-Birds
  • Studs Lonigan
  • Doctor Faustus
  • American Boys Handy Book
  • The Man Without Qualities
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 2nd Movement
  • Zuleika Dobson
  • The Young Man's Guide
  • The Ambassadors
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Joyce (1882-1941), 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 s...more
More about James Joyce...
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Dubliners The Dead Finnegans Wake A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man/Dubliners

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“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” 1627 likes
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