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Ulysses Annotated

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  2,661 Ratings  ·  125 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 June 26th 1989 by University of California Press (first published February 28th 1989)
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Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: litcrit, joyce
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
Dec 05, 2015 marked it as to-read
Another mysterious message from Goodreads:
Based on your Mentions Twilight shelf, a few recommendations:

... and this is #3.
Very subtle, Goodreads! Twilight fans, take note!
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
anyone who says they understood ulysses without using this book is lying. kick them in the balls for me.
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Lada Fleur
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Superb. I am really enthused by the edition the more so as i have already reviewed Ulysses and am currently in the process ocalling it a day to the Dobliners. It is a perfect mixture of reading Ulyyes and Dobliners, this marvellousquest through the town among people who have been there with you...It reveals as a kind of new quite inconceivable experience to go through one trajectory traced over as a must to...ddo and in the act very sameness have an efffect of doing something extraordinary...som ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: criticism
The amount of information is just at the border of overwhelming.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
2016 I started "Penelope" today on my second tour through Ulysses, so I thought I would add my newest thoughts on Gifford's annotations. After better equipping myself for the reread, I only found more supplemental reading I have yet to take in. The largest portion of that is more Shakespeare. A growing concern, but not an immediate one, of mine is my dependence on Gifford. At some point, I will have to cut the cord and go it alone, and I wonder at how I'll fare without such a valuable and trusty ...more
Laura Wetsel
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ulysses reader
Necessary companion to Ulysses, which is as big as Ulysses. You won't understand Ulysses without it.
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 11, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Oct 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, modern
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
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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??
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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!
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-crit, joyce
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.
Allison Zink-McCormack
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modernist-works
An extremely used collection of symbols, references, and allusions that provide context for scenes and characters in James Joyce's Ulysses--highly recommended!
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Doubting the breadth and scope of Ulysses? Peruse this to get your head spinning.
محمود راضي
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: james-joyce
لمن يبتغي المزيد من الشروحات المفصلة حول رواية (عوليس) مع الوقوف عند الكلمات والعبارات مع كل خطوة داخل النص، سيجد هنا ضالته المنشودة.
James C
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Joyce was 40 yrs old when Ulysses was published, it is a day in the life of a husband and father of Joyce's age (at publication). Joyce loved Dublin and Ireland and though the book was written on the European continent - he wanted to memorialize his birth home (Ireland). The framework of Ulysses is Homer's Odyssey - The Roman Ulysses: 1 Telemachus, 2 Nestor, 3 Proteus, 4 Calypso, 5 Lotus Eaters, 6 Hades, 7 Aeolus, 8 Lestrygonians, 9 Scylla And Charybdis, 10 Wandering Rocks, 11 Sirens, 12 Cyclops ...more
E. C. Koch
An indispensable supplement to Joyce's novel, and an incredible work of scholarship.
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was such a great help to me in my Ulysses class in my final year at university. I thought Ulysses was very heavy reading and like many people before me I had already started reading it before the class and given up on it after a couple of chapters. However, in class with all the extra explanations given by the professor about almost every sentence, this book became a lot more fun to read. The teacher recommended us to use this companion to furteher explore the book on our own and I rea ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't think you need to understand absolutely everything when reading Ulysses, but there's line of understanding beyond which the book regularly ceases to make any sense at all, which is no fun. This reference helped me stay on the right side of that line. I'm sure that without Ulysses Annotated I would never have finished Ulysses.

It's worth noting that this will explain the references (fragmentary Irish sayings, references to the Odyssey, life in Dublin in the early 20th century, and on and o
Not that helpful for most readers in my opinion. Yes, it points out the obscure allusions, but it does a poor job of explaining their importance, and in fact most allusions contribute very little to appreciation of Ulysses. Readers would be better served by the New Bloomsday Book and the Yale Modernism Lab website. Ulysses and Us by Declan Kiberd is another useful one if you want to dive deeper into the human story. Also, the maps in this book were pretty unhelpful and they don't even trace out ...more
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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  • The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses
  • James Joyce's Ulysses: A Study
  • James Joyce
  • Re Joyce
  • A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake: James Joyce's Masterwork Revealed
  • Joyce's Book of the Dark: Finnegans Wake
  • Annotations to  Finnegans Wake
  • Stephen Hero
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  • James Joyce
  • A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel
  • A Reader's Guide to Finnegans Wake
  • The Redress of Poetry
  • The Complete Plays
  • Lectures on Literature
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  • The Pound Era
Don Gifford (1919-2000) was Professor of English and American studies at Williams College, Massachusetts.
More about Don Gifford...