Ulysses by
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Please don’t think I’m an insufferable literary snob if I tell you I’ve read Ulysses several times.   But in fact I have,  and I think it’s indeed a masterpiece,  and not at all as hard to read and understand as you may have been led to believe.  (See My Love Affair with James Joyce)

Now I must I confess I first read James Joyce’s celebrated novel in a college course with  a wonderful professor guiding us through it – and I became addicted.  I went on to read all his works –  although I couldn’t get through his experimental novel  Finnegan’s Wake – that one IS near impossible to read!

Ulysses,  as you may know,  follows a fictional Jewish Dubliner named Leopold Bloom through a June day in 1904 as he makes breakfast for his wife Molly; attends a funeral;  works as an advertising canvasser;  buys a bar of lemon soap;  eats lunch in a crowded pub;  visits a maternity hospital,  a church,  and a museum;  watches a fireworks display;  almost meets his wife’s lover;  does meet a young history teacher named Stephen Dedalus,  the son of an acquaintance,  and invites him home;  and finally gets into bed with a sleepy Molly.

But Joyce does more than walk us through the plot of the novel  – he brings us inside the hearts and minds of Bloom and the other characters he meets in his Dublin wanderings.   And Joyce constantly astounds us with his wit and his encyclopedic knowledge of languages,  and philosophy,  and science,  and history,  and so well understands the complexities of human nature.

Ulysses inspired me to read more great literature and to write more stories myself.  Called  the best book of the 20th century,  it‘s been in print since its publication in 1922,  and has been translated into over 20 languages including Icelandic,  Chinese,  and Arabic – a testament to Joyce’s skill and vision,  and to the universality of the story he tells.

If you haven’t read Ulysses,  I urge you to get a copy and be inspired!

St Stephen’s Green,  Dublin

Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Ulysses, James Joyce, books, literature
Characterizations: moving, right on!, well written


  1. Jim Willis says:

    OK, you’ve got me hooked! Ulysses it is and, unless its memory has faded from my sometimes-forgetful brain, I was never assigned it as school reading. I do remember Beowulf, though, hard as I might try to forget it. Reading the classics I’ve missed is on my bucket list and I hope it never transfers over to that similar sounding list that begins with an “F.” Too many pending things have already wound up on it!

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    Nudge, nudge! I still have not read Ulysses, but your enthusiasm still burns brightly and I am even more tempted after this description.

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