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New School Classics- 1900-1999 > Ulysses -- NO SPOILERS

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message 1: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
This thread is for background information and general discussion of our 1st Quarter Group Long Read, Ulysses by James Joyce.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread.


message 2: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
Read along with us following the schedule or read at your own pace. If you have already finished, comment on the Entire book spoiler thread.

Happy 2018


message 3: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
United States v. One Book Called Ulysses

United States v. One Book Called Ulysses was a December 6, 1933 decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in a case dealing with freedom of expression. At issue was whether James Joyce's novel Ulysses was obscene. In deciding it was not, Judge John M. Woolsey opened the door to importation and publication of serious works of literature that used coarse language or involved sexual subjects.

The trial court's decision was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which confirmed that offensive language in a literary work is not obscene where it does not promote lust. But Judge Woolsey's trial court opinion is now more widely known, and often cited as an erudite and discerning affirmation of literary free expression.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reference and to read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...


message 4: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
JUDGE'S 'ULYSSES' RULING STILL A LANDMARK 50 YEARS LATER

By DAVID MARGOLICK
Published: December 6, 1983


Fifty years ago this week, the authorities removed two kinds of prohibitions from American life. The first, more celebrated, case involved alcohol. Less prominent, but perhaps even more significant, was a ruling that permitted James Joyce's ''Ulysses'' to enter the country.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/1983/12/06/art...


message 5: by Fab (new)

Fab | 6 comments Ok I had to read the first page a couple of times as I didn’t understand a thing! Hahaha I love a challenge. This is going to sound weird but I tried reading it out loud and understood a lot better, I don’t know if it was because I was rereading it or because I had to pause and pay more attention to the words. It helps to have a dictionary at hand.


message 6: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Reading out loud is a good idea. I have been doing that while reading The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, and it is frequently clarifying.


message 7: by Fab (new)

Fab | 6 comments That’s good to know, Patrick, I have the Canterbury Tales on my tbr too and I’ll keep that in mind when I get to them!


message 8: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
Here we go -- it's nice to see so many willing to try this book (some for a second or third time). Thanks for all of the support for reading this one. No guarantees I'll finish it though, but I will try.


message 9: by James (last edited Jan 01, 2018 08:26PM) (new)

James (pepecamello) | 41 comments Step 6 here is a great note for people not familiar with a certain aspect of the format of the book:
https://www.wikihow.com/Read-Ulysses
(view spoiler)

Also, this site is great for a more detailed walkthrough of each chapter if you're having difficulty (so, everyone):
https://www.shmoop.com/ulysses-joyce/
You can't really spoil Ulysses since the joy is in reading *how* Joyce does what he does so feel free to read the chapter summary and then read the chapter if you want.


message 10: by Katy, New School Classics (last edited Jan 01, 2018 08:03PM) (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
A few more sites with good information. Please be aware that there are some spoilers on these sites.

http://www.michaelgroden.com/notes/

http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/rick...


message 11: by James (new)

James (pepecamello) | 41 comments Edited my post to reflect that concern.


message 12: by Petra (new)

Petra I agree with Mark. Joyce is funny. Relax and enjoy the story. Joyce meant for it to be fun.


message 13: by KarenMc (new)

KarenMc | 24 comments I read Ulysses with a book group last spring and loved it! For anyone reading it for the first time just keep pushing through. If it doesn't make sense just keep reading. I found reading along with an audio book helped with the stream of consciousness writing. Enjoy! It is a truly unique and enjoyable book.


message 14: by MJ (new)

MJ | 184 comments KarenMc wrote: "I read Ulysses with a book group last spring and loved it! For anyone reading it for the first time just keep pushing through. If it doesn't make sense just keep reading. I found reading along with..."

Mark wrote: "My advice to all first time readers is give the book itself a chance to impress you. Avoid all outside materials, except a dictionary, until you've read the whole book once. You only get one chance..."

Mark and Karen, thanks for this! I will try to keep the advice in mind


message 15: by Gini (new)

Gini | 193 comments The copy of this I'm reading from doesn't use the chapter titles which is fine. But, I wonder why those titles for those sections. Ulysses references, yes, and ...


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

For anyone who may find it helpful to read along with the audiobook I am finding the John Lee narration entertaining enough. He does go into an Irish enough accent. If you have access to Hoopla Digital through your library it’s available there.


message 17: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments Gini wrote: "The copy of this I'm reading from doesn't use the chapter titles which is fine. But, I wonder why those titles for those sections. Ulysses references, yes, and ..."

Neither the serial reader or the kindle edition I have has the titles either and I'm annoyed by it. I'm just wondering how many other formatting liberties were taken. I've ordered the physical copy from the library.


message 18: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments Mark wrote: "I think when Joyce was having the individual episodes published serially in literary magazines in both the U.S. and Britain - for money, more than anything, and also before the book was even finish..."

Oh, did't see this so no point to getting the physical copy then! I like having a physical copy though.


message 19: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments KarenMc wrote: "I read Ulysses with a book group last spring and loved it! For anyone reading it for the first time just keep pushing through. If it doesn't make sense just keep reading. I found reading along with..."

That's what I've found so far. The longer you read (and listen) the more you see the humor and understand the quirks. It took me until about the 4th episode to start really liking it.


message 20: by Renee (new)

Renee | 864 comments Mark wrote: "I think when Joyce was having the individual episodes published serially in literary magazines in both the U.S. and Britain - for money, more than anything, and also before the book was even finish..."

I've heard it compared to The Odyssey before. Should we have already read The Odyssey before tackling Ulysses to get more out of it?


message 21: by James (new)

James (pepecamello) | 41 comments re: episode titles:
I'm unaware of physical copies that call the episodes the names used in the schema. My Vintage didn't do that and I don't think some of the other copies I looked at did either.


message 22: by Dan (new)

Dan Harris (dantastic) | 5 comments Ulysses is a book that is dense to the point at times of frustration, but that only gets better with a group to discuss it with, and to navigate that density. One of the most satisfying books I’ve ever read, and looking forward to another reading.


message 23: by Renee (new)

Renee | 864 comments Mark wrote: "Hi Renee! I don't think you need any pre-reading at all. I think what Joyce liked most about the Odyssey is that the cast called for a tenor, Telemachus/Stephen and a baritone, Odysseus/Bloom and a..."

Thanks Mark! I had planned to read The Odyssey last year, but never got around to it. So many books to read at the beginning of the year that I haven't read yet! Like you said, maybe I can get to it after Ulysses, because I really want to read it with the group and hopefully understand it better.


message 24: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3174 comments Renee wrote: "Mark wrote: "I think when Joyce was having the individual episodes published serially in literary magazines in both the U.S. and Britain - for money, more than anything, and also before the book wa..."

I had heard that too Renee. I read the Odyssey about a year ago and wasn't getting how it related. I think that had been part of what made me frustrated with the first three episodes. Starting with Episode 4 and on there are a lot of different literary references (especially Shakespeare). Those made me forget about the Odyssey and I think that's part of why I'm enjoying it more.

I think this is the type of book that you can get a lot out of at any point. I can already see why people read this over and over. I think Pink said that she reads it every year. I have a feeling I'm going to end up reading it at least every couple years.

It's reminding me of Shakespeare in that the audio really adds to the humor. It's been a great experience reading and then listening to each section.


message 25: by Dan (new)

Dan Harris (dantastic) | 5 comments Mark wrote: "The only people that finish the book, actually personally reading ever page, are those that fall in love with it. And if you love it, you will reread it again and again the rest of your life!"

I did fall in love with it, but I'll say this doesn't quite apply to me. It's not that I don't think it warrants being reread, but for my experience it's sort of like eating an incredibly rich cake. It's wonderful, it's delicious, it's one of the best eating experiences you might ever have, but not the sort of thing I can come back to regularly.

I will say though that I have had that experience with his less-loved final work though, Finnegans Wake. I can pick that book up and read any segment of it and feel like I'm reading something wildly new and experimental. That's one that's even less for everyone, and most people find it too frustrating to even get through once, but it's the one I've never gotten tired of.


message 26: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6556 comments Renee, I agree with what's already been said that you don't need to read The Odyssey, or any other work of Joyce first. Though it's nice to catch those references too. I done it the other way around and read The Odyssey after Ulysses and so I was picking up details in Homer's text that reminded me of Joyce!

Well done anyone that gets through Finnegan's Wake, I read 100 pages and that was enough for me.


message 27: by John (last edited Jan 03, 2018 08:58AM) (new)

John | 12 comments I stated Ulysses before it was chosen as a group read. I'm 80% through it (Kindle edition). I went into it only knowing it had been banned and that many considered it a difficult read. An understatement! Reading this book has been a humbling experience for me. I have struggled with it from day one, and I am still undecided whether I would give it 1 star or 5 stars. I do know I will finish it.

I am a slow reader and lately have been tackling one long read after another, so rereading this one seems unlikely in the foreseeable future, but I am enjoying the discussions and hoping to come away with a better understanding (or any understanding at all) of what Ulysses is all about.


message 28: by James (last edited Jan 03, 2018 09:54AM) (new)

James (pepecamello) | 41 comments If you're going to read works to "prepare" for Ulysses, this is the ranking I'd put stuff:
1. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
2. Dubliners
3. Hamlet (particularly theories on it)
4. The Odyssey
I'd say Portrait helps to know a bit about the Dedalus but it's not essential at all. Knowing Dubliners and Hamlet makes some references easier to understand but that's about it. Knowing The Odyssey parallels is much better left for subsequent readings.
I'd also say knowing religious theories and biblical stories would help about as much as some of the above since those are referenced a few times.
Knowing Irish history should be higher ranked than any of those since there's tons of discussion on it but that's even harder to look into. Find something online that talks about those if you want to; but again, not essential.
But really I'd agree with the "let the words flow" sentiment and just read it and enjoy it, particularly for the first time. It's pretty easy to get bogged down in reading analysis and all that for Ulysses so keep the focus on enjoying the book first and foremost. Do the extra stuff if you want but don't do too much that reading Ulysses becomes a burden.


message 29: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
I imagine we will have several different opinions on how well people like or dislike this book. As long as we are all respectful of each others' opinions this ought to be a great discussion.


message 30: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
Has any one listened to the Podcasts by Frank Delaney on Joyce?

RE: Joyce

Some information here: http://blog.frankdelaney.com/re-joyce/


message 31: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6556 comments I haven't listened or heard of it. I took a quick look, there's 368 of them! That should cover a lot of topics!


message 32: by Gini (new)

Gini | 193 comments So far I've been pleasantly surprised how much I'm enjoying this book. I anticipated a real slog and it's not. Got a kick out of meeting
Leopold Bloom. Lots of little tidbits about him. And it's even fun to read. But I totally expect that to change given some of the comments by those further along. Maybe I'll be surprised again.


message 33: by Katy, New School Classics (last edited Jan 04, 2018 03:24PM) (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
Gini wrote: "...I anticipated a real slog and it's not..."

Me too! I am pleased that the intimidation factor disappears as I read.

Mark wrote: "..Sorry. Didn't mean to have an opinion different than yours, Katy. ..."

Don't know that we do. Haven't read far enough to know if I love it or not.


message 34: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1220 comments James wrote: "re: episode titles:
I'm unaware of physical copies that call the episodes the names used in the schema. My Vintage didn't do that and I don't think some of the other copies I looked at did either."


The introduction, by Sam Slote, to the edition I'm reading (Alma Classics) says that Joyce made a point of not including the titles in the finished book. Slote also points out that Joyce used the Latin name 'Ulysses', not the Greek 'Odysseus', and that Ulysses is Medieval Latin to boot. Virgil and others spelled the name 'Ulixes'. Slote continues "This suggests that Joyce is not simply hearkening back to one single epic tradition, but to an entire history of epic that stands between Homer and our own."

He also says that "while important, the Homeric correspondences can be overemphasized; they are not so much the key to understanding Ulysses, but rather one of many patterns Joyce works into his novel.

Amusingly enough, for an edition that contains over 300 pages of annotations, the Introduction points out that the annotations only give factual information and it is much more important for the reader to focus on their own interpretation. And rather than finding all the literary references, the most important thing is to be familiar with Dublin. For those who aren't, he recommends James Joyce's Dublin: A Topographical Guide to the Dublin of Ulysses


message 35: by Petra (new)

Petra Another booklet about walking Dublin along the routes taken in Ulysses is Joyce's Dublin: A Walking Guide to Ulysses. I thought this one was interesting for anyone wanting to know about modern day Dublin and walking the paths taken by the characters in Ulysses. Each chapter corresponds with an episode in Ulysses.


message 36: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 9 comments First time reading Ulysses, and I am so grateful I have this group to accompany me on this journey! This is also my first time attempting to participate in the discussions, so I am praying it goes well!

Ulysses does get some getting used to and I am still wrapping my head around it. So far, I am enjoying the ride.


message 37: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9431 comments Mod
I think most of us first-timers are feeling the same as you.


message 38: by siriusedward (last edited Jan 14, 2018 01:46PM) (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2051 comments Me too.Kimberly.
You are right,Katy.
It helps a lot to read with this group. And also the advice of not analyzing too much but to just have fun reading was a very sound advice.


message 39: by J_BlueFlower (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1507 comments I started reading today. First in English. After looking up many word with the result “no result”, I switched to the Danish translation. Here there were a lot of not-real-words too. I understood a bit, but realised that they are not to be fully understood. I switch back to the English, and will try to stick with that.


message 40: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 1865 comments last night I watched the BBC Four prog on Joyce presented by Angelica Huston (who was in the film version of The Dead) - it was excellent, and has me keen to start on Ulysses... :oD
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09mb966


message 41: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6556 comments Thanks for posting the link, I'll watch that later :)


message 42: by Gini (new)

Gini | 193 comments Darren wrote: "last night I watched the BBC Four prog on Joyce presented by Angelica Huston (who was in the film version of The Dead) - it was excellent, and has me keen to start on Ulysses... :oD
http://www.bbc...."


I can't watch this!!! Waaa! Something about all those licensey things. Now I'm sad, but I'll carry on.


message 43: by Carlie (new)

Carlie | 2 comments This book has been sitting sadly on my shelf for the past 10 years. I've been too intimidated to read it. I've read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man back in college, and I loved it once I finally finished it, but I struggled the whole way through. It's kind of like how I love running only after I've finished my run. Joyce is not easy, but he's a good workout for the brain. I feel like I'm about to start a marathon that I haven't trained for.


message 44: by J_BlueFlower (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1507 comments Oh, that explains a lot. That why it fells so long. I am walking a marathon!

(Actually, I am stating to get a bit into it now, and stating to believe that I will finish it this time. The challenge will be finishing not too late in March, so I can join Faust. )


message 45: by Mark (new)

Mark André "gentle as a mushroom" (FW 618)


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