Eric's Reviews > Ulysses

Ulysses by James Joyce
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Jan 07, 09

bookshelves: favorites, shouldreread, ficciones

Whenever I dip into Ulysses I always wonder why I'm not reading it all the time. Shakespeare is the only other writer who can make me feel that way. My first reading was probably the headiest literary experience of my life. The crotchety professor of a freshman year Russian Lit survey followed his comparison of the narrator of Babel's Red Cavalry to Leopold Bloom with a taunt that went something like: "but who of you know who Leopold Bloom is?" So challenged, I started out on a reading that would take about 3 months, with Nabokov's lecture and Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (and later, Gifford's Annotations to Ulysses) along for help. I will always associate the first three episodes with the hum of dorm basement driers (come to think of it, I associate The Master and Margarita and The Defense with that laundry room, too). Senior year I devoted two months of luxurious attention to Ulysses in class whose syllabus also included Lolita and Herzog, thus the most enjoyable fiction class conceivable. I go back it occasionally, to re-read my favorite episodes ("Hades," "The Wandering Rocks" and "Nausicaa"), but I need to do it all again.


Some things I cherish:

--Mrs. Daedalus's "tasselled dancecards, powdered with musk."

--"A young man clinging to a spur of rock near him moved slowly frogwise his green legs in the deep jelly of the water."

--Stephen's and Dilly's exchange at the bookcarts.

--Bloom's thoughts during Digman's funeral.

--The Man in The Macintosh.

--The part in Nighttown when the Nymph whose image Bloom had torn from a picture magazine comes alive thanks him for rescuing her from the vile company of advertisements and cheap stories.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

"the hum of dorm basement driers". yes! the mabinogion.


Stephen M This is such a short and wonderful review. I really love the books that have that nostalgia attached to it, especially with the detail of the driers—who can't relate to that?


matt Lovely review. By way of Bloomsday hailing, here's my piece on the "blue book of Eccles": http://artsfuse.org/108833/fuse-comme...


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