Ulysses | 2 | 2020 Countdown

I have previously received PR products from Penguin (review copies of books).

Welcome to Day 23 of my 2020 Book Spotlight Countdown! For more information about this series, please read my introductory post here. Today, I’m celebrating Ulysses by James Joyce!

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Review & Recommend: Ulysses - James Joyce Episodes 16-18

Ulysses – James Joyce (Episodes 16-18): Review & Recommend | CLASSICS CATCHUPS

The final Ulysses post! (Unless I try to write a more coherent ‘review’, which seems like a rather impossible task…) The final post, the final part of the novel – the part I mistakenly earlier thought was focused on Molly. The last episode, “Penelope”, is focused on Molly, but the section as a whole is about home. Bloom returns home, and invites Stephen into his home, and Molly thinks about her day spent in the home. I enjoyed finally getting to read Molly’s episode, famous for being split into only eight — very long — sentences. Bloom’s return home isn’t quite as momentous as Odysseus’, yet this matches up with Joyce’s intention to tell a modern epic of the everyday man. I did enjoy reading this section, partly because I felt a sense of pride at having made it so far, but it definitely wasn’t quite as fun to read as “Circe” or “Nausicaa” both of which I talked about in my previous post.Read More »

Review & Recommend: Ulysses - James Joyce Episodes 13-15

Ulysses – James Joyce (Episodes 13-15): Review & Recommend | CLASSICS CATCHUPS

Where to start with this section… The second to last of my Ulysses posts, and the last episodes in part two. My love for thirteen and fifteen is almost entirely outweighed by the pain that is reading episode fourteen, “Oxen of the Sun”. These episodes are where the book really descends into the bizarre, blurring imagination, memory and reality, particularly in episode fifteen, “Circe”. The focus in these episodes seems to turn back to Bloom, and as the night draws in, the book starts to more directly address the topic of sex, with a focus on adultery and prostitution, mirroring the darker surroundings. This section is the reason that Ulysses was finally banned for obscenity, and despite the idea of books being banned for obscenity in 21st century Britain, where 50 Shades of Grey was a phenomenon, is bizarre, reading “Nausicaa” does offer an explanation as to why it was seen as so scandalous when it was published.Read More »

Review & Recommend: Ulysses - James Joyce Episodes 10-12

Ulysses – James Joyce (Episodes 10-12): Review & Recommend | CLASSICS CATCHUPS

Despite having now reached the point of having posted about two thirds of Ulysses (twelve out of eighteen episodes), in terms of pages I’ve covered roughly half. The final episodes of Ulysses are markedly longer than the earliest, and the denser episodes become more regular. I did really enjoy reading episodes ten and eleven, some of the most obviously stylistically different episodes in the novel, as they presented a unique challenge, particularly “The Sirens”. Episode twelve, however, “The Cyclops” was again far denser, focusing on politics, and I really feel like I’ll benefit from rereading this one after having done a lot of reading around it! Bloom, again, is less of a focus in these episodes, and I missed having such laser focus on a single character in these episodes that seem a lot more untied from a protagonist, instead drifting between more minor characters.Read More »

Review & Recommend: Ulysses Episodes 7-9 - James Joyce

Ulysses – James Joyce (Episodes 7-9): Review & Recommend | CLASSICS CATCHUPS

This is the third installment in my miniseries (if you could call it that) of Ulysses blog posts, and it also marks the halfway point, at least in terms of having covered half the episodes. I’m actually quite a way ahead of the posts now — about to read the penultimate episode, in fact, but I’ve not had chance to keep writing quite as quickly as I’m reading. I also didn’t decide until a bit of the way through that I was going to start writing these, and haven’t really tried to catch up. Episodes seven to nine covers “Aeolus”, “Lestrygonians” and “Scylla and Charbydis”, some of the densest episodes so far in the book. I certainly didn’t really follow “Aeolus” or “Scylla and Charbydis”, though “Lestrygonians” was a bit easier to follow. These episodes also follow Bloom, though there’s a heavier focus on the other characters than there was in the previous three episodes.Read More »