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Ulysses (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 30 Mar 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (30 Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141182806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141182803
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 5.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Ulysses has been labelled dirty, blasphemous and unreadable. In a famous 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolsey declared it an emetic book--although he found it not quite obscene enough to disallow its importation into the United States--and Virginia Woolf was moved to decry James Joyce's "cloacal obsession". None of these descriptions, however, do the slightest justice to the novel. To this day it remains the modernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. It is funny, sorrowful, and even (in its own way) suspenseful. And despite the exegetical industry that has sprung up in the last 75 years, Ulysses is also a compulsively readable book. Even the verbal vaudeville of the final chapters can be navigated with relative ease, as long as you're willing to be buffeted, tickled, challenged and (occasionally) vexed by Joyce's astonishing command of the English language.

Among other things, a novel is simply a long story, and the first question about any story is "What happens?" In the case of Ulysses, the answer could be "Everything". William Blake, one of literature's sublime myopics, saw the universe in a grain of sand. Joyce saw it in Dublin, Ireland, on June 16, 1904, a day distinguished by its utter normality. Two characters, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, go about their separate business, crossing paths with a gallery of inforgettable Dubliners. We watch them teach, eat, loiter, argue and (in Bloom's case) masturbate. And thanks to the book's stream- of-consciousness technique--which suggests no mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river-- we're privy to their thoughts, emotions and memories. The result? Almost every variety of human experience is crammed into the accordion-folds of a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimental work but the very last word in realism.

Both characters add their glorious intonations to the music of Joyce's prose. Dedalus's accent--that of a freelance aesthetician, who dabbles here and there in what we might call "Early Yeats Lite"-- will be familiar to readers of Portrait of an Artist As a Young Man. But Bloom's wistful sensualism (and naïve curiosity) is something else entirely. Seen through his eyes, a rundown corner of a Dublin graveyard is a figure for hope and hopelessness, mortality and dogged survival: "Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland's hearts and hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybody really?" --James Marcus

Review

'one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century ... this edition, complete with an invaluable Introduction, map of Dublin, notes, and appendices, republishes for the first time, without interference, the original 1922 text.'In Dublin

'After more than seventy years of editorial corrections, specialists will buy the 'uncorrected' edition for its accuracy. Others should choose it as much for Johnson's excellent introduction and notes.'Tim Kendall. Hertford College, Oxford. Notes and Queries

For anyone coming to this 20th century classic for the first time, this paperback version could well make the going a little easier. (Lancashire Evening Post (Preston))

Already got a copy of Ulysses. Well, chuck it out and get this ... this is the one, a reproduction of the original 1922 Shakespeare & Co edition ... has extensive notes at the back to explain references and correct gaffes ... Also astonishingly cheap. (Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian)

now the cheapest annotated paperback available and comes with a splendid introduction from Jeri Johnson, a map of contemporary Dublin, and a comprehensive set of explanatory notes ... As such, it should appeal both to those who are familiar with Joyce's book, and those who are approaching it for the first time. (Yorkshire Post (Leeds))

hilarious, poignant, exhilarating ... The excellent guide, editor Jeri Johnson, refuses to allow short cuts for first-time travellers ... The detailed notes are useful ... the ideal way to set off on your personal odyssey. (The Times)

For anyone coming to this 20th century classic for the first time, this paperback version could well make the going a little easier. (West Lancashire Evening Gazette)

For anyone coming to this 20th Century classic for the first time, this paperback version could well make the going a little easier. (Yorkshire Evening Post (Leeds) Midweek section, 9 July 1997) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 177 people found the following review helpful By Depressaholic on 27 July 2004
Format: Paperback
So much has been written about this book in the past eighty years that its reputation alone is enough to dissuade some readers. I think that the reviews printed here reflect the balance of opinion about it, both why it is so revered and why some describe it as being unreadable. For what it is worth, 'Ulysses' is, for me, one of the most sublime monuments in world literature, a book unlike any other, and one that deserves a place among the very small number of classics that should be enjoyed for centuries to come. However, I do understand those that have struggled and failed with it.
Firstly, to like this book is not 'pretentious'. It is perhaps my pretension that made me read it and want to understand it to begin with, but certainly not my pretension that made me enjoy it. These are not to be confused. Secondly, it is 'difficult'. If someone tells you otherwise, I would like to know what they are comparing it to. Joyce's language is convoluted and obscure, and often important events are referred to so obliquely that they bypassed me if my attention was wandering. I have read the book twice and realised that I missed much the first time round. However, the rewards for sticking with it are huge. Thirdly, don't let the scholarly dissection of the book put you off. There are a lot of themes underpinning the book, not least the explicit parallels with the 'Odyssey' and the slightly more implicit theme of the relationships between fathers and sons (paralleled by a reference to Hamlet that runs through the book). However, it would be wrong to view 'Ulysses' as some sort of puzzle to be solved. It is, very simply, a book about a man (Bloom/Daedalus/Joyce) and about Ireland in 1904. For all its scholarly overtones it is about a day in the life of an everyman.
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106 of 113 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
Nearly everybody knows about Joyce's extravagant depiction of one day in early 20th century Dublin, and almost nobody has actually read it (unless forced to do so at school).
The length of the book, the legendary "difficulty" of the English, even the lack of punctuation, all serve to make most potential readers queasy. This perception is enhanced by the enormous volume of secondary writing on the book and Joyce himself. Everything about the text seems to be a license for academics to be pretentious and superiour. Read Ulysses for pleasure? Are you mad? Have you been down the pub with Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus?
As far as I am aware, I am neither mad nor drunk, but I do recommend holding one's literary breath and plunging into this masterpiece.
This book is truly an extraordinary novel. Joyce is a master at depicting and analysing mankind. His ability to describe human emotions on both a concious and sub-concious level is amazing. I am not saying it is easy. To be honest, there are large parts of the book that even after re-reading are way over my head, but too many believe that the book is beyond them. One should not focus on the bad, but the good, and the overall effect of the novel is nothing short of awesome.
So go on, ignore the stigma and the prejudice.
Read Ulysses, for fun.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By KevinH on 7 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a person from Irish immigrant stock, I had to read some Joyce. The man is a genius, but I am not, so I didn't understand a word of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Cornel on 11 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading Ulysses is an experience, an odyssey if you like.
It is the heroic tale stripped bare from any misguiding suggestion of glory. In Ulysses life is not glorious, it's trivial. Should there be anything close to heroism, look for it in the muddy context of ordinarity. For heroic deeds emerge from everyday life.

Like Nietzsche dismantled the existence of a living God, and encourages us to confront the seeming horror of His death in order to set ourselves free, Joyce in Ulysses fillets our delusional hope for The Exceptional. Whether struggling with Olympians, searching for a Holy Grail or just out on the town for the length of one day, we all think our silly, disturbing, unrelated thoughts. We can be generous, compassionate, involved and inspired. And we know violence, prejudice, narcissism, envy and a whole range of petty egotistical and shortminded sensations from within; we all need to relieve ourselves in more than one way and we all just go on with whatever it is we were doing once we were finished. Joyce is the first to wonder why all the trivialities were left out from the stories of old. How can anyone ever really relate to a hero lacking the most primal human idiosyncracies, let alone live up to his standards?

I noticed that a lot of people who've read it encourage us to read Ulysses as a sort of literary comedy. I disagree with that. Yes, it can be quirky, it has wit, irony and sarcasm, funny, creative wordplay and it is not hard to find something to smile about on every page if that's what you're looking for (just looking at yourself struggling to make sense of it all should crack you up), but in it's core this is a profound book about compassion and love for mankind. With all its flaws.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By William Shardlow on 4 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Wordsworth Classics)and was very impressed with the notes. I found they gave just enough information to help me understand the text, but not enough to interrupt the flow of reading. I can't imagine a better version for the everyday reader. I have had similar experiences with many other novels that Wordsworth publish.

Ulysses is probably more in need of notes than any other novel, so I thought, "Wordsworth are bound to have their usual nice notes...", when I ordered it. Imagine my disappointment when I found they provided no notes at all! I'd held off buying another version with notes until this was published because I like the Wordsworth price & font. But, for Ulysses, notes are by far the most essential attribute!

I will now have to buy either Ulysses: The 1922 text (Oxford World's Classics) or Ulysses (Penguin Modern Classics). These are the only versions I know of that have notes. They also have 'look inside' enabled. I recommend that anyone start reading at page 1 in 'look inside' and see which one has the most helpful notes for them. Try and see them in a bookshop or library if you can, so you can judge their physical layout -- Oxford use a small print size, which I can just about manage, but it's definitely a negative.

The average reader (i.e., readers like me!
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