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Ulysses (1990)

Ulysses (1990)

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3.73 of 5 Votes: 3
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0679722769 (ISBN13: 9780679722762)
vintage international

About book Ulysses (1990)

Often considered one of the ‘greatest novel of the 20th century’, James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, is both a feat and feast of sheer literary brilliance. Reimagining Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey as the travels and trials of an everyday man through the crowded streets and pubs of Dublin, Joyce weaves strikingly versatile prose styles and varying perspectives to encompass the whole of life within the hours of a single standard day, June 16th, 1904. This day, dubbed Bloomsday, is celebrated with increasing popularity in modern times, which is a testament to the lasting greatness of the novel (and to the desire to drink and be merry of all people). Instead of taking a daily life and elevating it to mythical proportions, Joyce has taken mythology and reversed it, shrinking it into an average day, which in turn gives each character and action a heroic sense about them. In this way, even besting a drunken nationalist spewing anti-sematic sentiments at a bar can be seen as a legendary conquest. Ulysses is an epic in its own right, setting the bar for literature up to the stratosphere as we immerse ourselves in Joyce’s dear dirty Dublin.While one must have their wits about them to navigate this laborious labyrinth of literature, the task is highly rewarding. It is very understandable that so many people do not finish this novel, or just plain dislike it; this book can be downright frustrating. Combining the heavy use of cryptic and dated allusions, obfuscating narration, an enviable vocabulary and pages of dense prose to decipher, Joyce intentionally set out to create a literary odyssey of words to conquer saying ‘I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of ensuring one’s immortality.’ Readers should be warned this is a tough novel. Often times this novel inspired such frustration that it was tempting to slam the cover for good, and it wasn’t until the second half that I was finally able to recognize that this novel had written its way into my heart. Upon reflecting back after completion, only then did I realize that this truly is one of the greatest books ever written and I have come to love it. Perhaps this is akin to the feeling those who run marathons or climb mountains feel; the adventure is a long, arduous struggle where one must keep focus and positive to battle through, yet the pride and elation of completion more than makes up for the struggles. I do not wish to make this book seem like it is only for masochists though, as there are more than enough rewards to reap along the way. This is some of the finest displays of writing I have ever encountered, and offers a broad range of style. Many people fail to mention that this book is downright funny as well. There are countless little jokes, such as characters running from a bar so they can fart loudly unheard, endless sexual jokes and quips, and many funny characterizations. It should be noted as well that there is no shame in seeking aide for this book. Originally I didn’t want to, but there are so many esoteric allusions and puzzles that an annotation guide and a few essays really helped my understanding. This is a novel to teach to yourself, not just read – there are people who spent years at universities digging through this book and it is still widely debated. Even the great Ulysses (or Odysseus depending on who your asking) had to seek aide in his epic journey.The variety of style in this book is highly impressive. Each of the 18 chapters, aside from being thematically built around a corresponding episode of The Odyssey, has its own unique set of techniques and lexicon, often parodying the styles of newspapers or current women’s magazines, traditional Irish mythological styles, a chapter dissolving the world into scientific properties, the famous stream-of-consciousness, 200 pages of jocular hallucinations in play format, and a dizzying array of prose from flowery language to the language of flowers. Joyce had such a love of style that there is even an entire chapter devoted to alternating writing styles as he parodies many famous authors throughout history (calling all fans of David Mitchell or If on a winter's night a traveler) in a swirling scene of drunken debates. The language is often quite playful, lyrical and full of puns. He even uses sentence structure to convey motion, such as Gerty’s limp: ‘Tight boots? No. She’s lame! O!’. If just for the use of language alone, this is one of the most spectacular books ever written and practically killed my dictionary. Also, it is interesting that C.G. Jung diagnosed Joyce as having schizophrenia based on reading this book due to the rapidly changing styles and the use of playful rhyming and jangling speech. Joyce's daughter did in fact have schizophrenia.One of Ulysses most discussed features is Joyce's technique of placing the reader within the minds of the characters. It is not a typical first person narration, however, as the characters are seemingly unaffected and unaware they have a reader riding along in their thoughts. Information comes across in broken and random spurts, and Joyce does not bother with clarifying these thoughts to the reader. Much like William Faulkner, Joyce leaves the reader unaided to piece together his massive puzzle. Often the subject of a thought can switch between several people without any indication, as with Boylan and Bloom in Molly’s soliloquy, and many chapters take pages to realize who the person speaking is. While initially following Stephen and then Bloom second by second through their routine, the novel soon fractures into smaller chunks of concurrent narration, to further fit all of life within the day and to offer a broader, more varied perspective on the events that transpire. The idea of the ‘parallax’, which is essentially a scientific term that different perspectives will have a uniquely different view of the same object, is often on Bloom’s mind, and is a major theme running through this novel. Through the multiple points of view, the reader is flooded with alternative, and often conflicting, images of the characters. The readers must then decide themselves what is the whole picture.The various speakers are another testament to the versatility of the pen employed by Joyce. Each speaker has a drastically different tone and vocabulary, as well as structure (most notably Molly). There are times when the reader may wonder if Joyce’s opinions on the Jewish people and women may be rather negative, but then he will surprise you with a completely opposing statement. Women, and sexuality in general, are a major topic in this novel, and it is no surprise many have dismissed Joyce as a misogynist as many of the women in this novel are viewed strictly in regards to their sexuality. There are many female roles who are only used to further this idea, often by having many characters be prostitues. Through Bloom we see an unapologetic image of women as a sexual objects, and a male opinion on how women view sexuality. However, with Molly, Joyce offers a highly contrasted opinion on how women view their own sexuality, how women view men’s sexuality, and even how women view how men view women’s sexuality. Molly even fantasizes about having a penis and what it would be like to mount a woman. So while some ideas may be offensive to a reader, they must view it with an open mind and in the context of the novel and characters. Also, Joyce was aware of the overzealous censorship of novels in England and America and often wrote passages that blew past the lines intentionally to irk these censors. No wonder the novel was banned in American until 1934 when the Supreme Court over-turned the ruling in a landmark obscenity trial.Shakespeare’s Hamlet plays just as much of a role in this novel as the Odyssey. This further emphasizes the parallax, and Joyce’s goal to keep the life of his characters grounded in reality by not aligning any of the characters in a clear cut way. Hamlet is often discussed amongst the intelligentsia of Dublin, and a critical scene involves Stephen’s interpretation of the play revealing many themes of the novel at hand. From the ideas of Stephen’s role as Telemachus searching for a surrogate father in Bloom’s Ulysses as well as the ongoing thoughts over adultery all reveal themselves early on through Stephen’s lecture on Hamlet. However, this scene also demonstrates that Stephen is a Hamlet figure as well as Bloom being a figure of the deceased King, and that Molly may also fit the role of the betraying Queen as well as Penelope. There are many other roles in this novel that have more than one character that could fill them, such as how both Buck Mulligan and Blazes Boylan are both ‘usurpers’. It is interesting to note here that many of the characters, Mulligan in particular, are based from people Joyce interacted with in real life. ‘The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.’, is said at a timely manner when Stephen explores how the characters of Hamlet all correspond to Shakespeare’s own family, much like how these characters correspond to those around Bloom and to those that were surrounding Joyce. Stephen is also highly representative of Joyce himself. He was the hero of Joyce’s semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and in this novel we see him continue his quest of artistry. He even sides with an unborn child in a debate over whether a mother or child’s life is more important during birth, signifying his ideas that art, something we create, is of the utmost importance. A touch of metafiction as well as a compounding use of themes is one of the many ways this book stole my heart.Joyce avoids distinct lines anywhere he can with this novel. Characters such as Bloom are walking contradictions and a paradox to those around him. He is Jewish, but also baptized. He is a father figure, but also displays many motherly traits and desires causing the more masculine characters to harbor a bit of disdain for him for being rather ‘womanly’. He is very caring and generous, but then at times very cheap and critical of others for their generosity. Such is the enigma of Leopold Bloom, one of the most likeable everyman characters in all of literature (it was very difficult not to picture him as George Clooney from O Brother, Where Art Thou?, another wonderful retelling of The Odyssey). He is not without his faults though, as he is a shameless womanizer and has the ‘undressing eyes’ aimed at all the fair ladies of Dublin (and what is with Joyce and men masturbating in public, ie The Encounter from Dubliners? I’m on to you Joyce…). Bloom spends much of this novel on the go, trying to move forward from the sadness of his past and the weight of thoughts of his wife’s possible transgressions. ‘Think you’re escaping and run into yourself,’ Bloom mentions. His ‘coming together’ with Stephen is also grounded in reality, as there is no clear-cut bond between them. ‘Frailty thy name is marriage’ Bloom thinks, playing off of the famous line from Hamlet. The marriage of Bloom and Stephen, Bloom and Molly, and many other ‘marriages’ of characters are fraught with incompatible moments, as people just do not always get along or agree. While the union of Bloom and Stephen is alluded to through the entire novel, they often are at odds with one another or offend the other while trying to be friendly. However, this meeting is highly significant in both their lives, and as many of these ‘marriages’ are flawed, they are shown as having shaped each individual. As C.G. Jung once wrote, ‘The meeting of two personalities is like the contact between two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.’Ulysses is not an easy novel by any means, but it is well worth the effort. The prose may be daunting at first, but patients, and a bit of guidance can really go a long way and this novel will eventually bloom for any reader so they can drink the sweet language of Joyce’s pen. There are so many wonderful techniques buzzing about and puzzles to unlock. Plus, this novel is outright hilarious. For one of the more comprehensive reviews you can find, you should also read Ian's stunning review. Joyce has certainly left his mark on the face of literature with this novel, which is more than deserving of the title bestowed on it by the Modern Library of the greatest novel of the 20th century. Yes it is the greatest and yes you should read it and yes each word will blossom in your mind and Yes will I give this book a 5/5 and yes I said yes I will Yes.5/5Also, reading this book in public will make you appear smart.And even the great Jorge Luis Borges was moved by this novel:James Joyce (as translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni)In a man’s single day are all the daysof time from that unimaginablefirst day, when a terrible God marked outthe days and agonies, to that other,when the ubiquitous flow of earthlytime goes back to its source, Eternity,and flickers out in the present, the past,and the future—what now belongs to me.Between dawn and dark lies the historyof the world. From the vault of night I seeat my feet the wanderings of the Jew,Carthage put to the sword, Heaven and Hell.Grant me, O Lord, the courage and the joyto ascend to the summit of this day.

I wanted to start out discussing the baggage that comes with reading this book and the challenge of attempting to reach a verdict on its quality in out-of-5-star form, let alone that of trying to write a coherent response. But unfortunately, I’ve already covered that intro ground with another review. But where I succeeded in not becoming a slobbering fanboy or prickish contrarian on that occasion, I have here, much to my own surprise, failed. During the early episodes of the book I felt like I was in 3- or 4-star territory. But then came the Shakespearean Scylla and Charybdis sequence and I started getting excited; a few chapters later I read the Cyclops episode, which caused me to become, in my wife’s astute summation, ‘giddy’. I swallowed the rest of this book in a couple of days, foregoing the finishing of The Odyssey itself, which was purportedly my preparation for Joyce’s celebrated novel. My final, overwhelmingly positive response to Ulysses was an unexpected delight after holding the impression that Joyce's works, while enjoyable, might not be for me in the same way as those of some of his contemporaries. I wasn't completely bowled over by A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in high school or by Dubliners a few weeks back. I’d even read the first 100 pages of Ulysses back in 2008 before getting sidetracked by War and Peace, the conception of a nearly year-long Russian fever that began to abate about the time I became enamored with this website. But that initial setting down of the book was likely a blessing, as fresh Shakespeare and Homer reads go a long way toward increasing a layered understanding of and gratification from this novel. I think the primary reason that I enjoy plodding Realist epics and plotless Modernist fare is that I find human drama and psychology, realistically portrayed, to be endlessly interesting. There's no topic too boring when laid out truthfully in a prose that elevates the mundane to a realm demanding rapt attention via aesthetic alchemy. To successfully embrace and conquer the ordinary takes a special writer, but I remain easily enthralled when Proust or Woolf wax prolix on table setting rituals or when Tolstoy dallies on a hirsute upper lip. Joyce moves a step further with the whole 'make the quotidian interesting' approach and, for me, it works because it seems—to every part of my mind and experience--true. Bloom and Stephen are real people with thoughts and actions, ranging from the tedious to the generous to the despicable, that are often wincingly human. They’re presented to us in a way that’s wildly imaginative and über-detailed yet considerate of our desire to follow a well-arced human story. And this, Goodreaders, is why I read. It’s often difficult to love a book when the main characters are unlikeable, and I know this is a problem that some have had with Ulysses. Thankfully, I found myself caring more and more for Bloom, in spite of and because of his numerous flaws, as June 16, 1904 wore on. Our hero constantly dwells on his cuckolded state and occasionally even on suicide. It's clear that he's an outsider and has to make an extra effort just to remain at the periphery of his social circle. Something about the way his mind works, how it bounces around curiously from topic to topic without dwelling too much on his misfortunes, is genuinely affecting. There's little woe-is-me with Bloom; he’s just a real-life accepter, trying to get by while nursing modest bourgeois dreams. It’s this upbeat-in-spite-of-everything attitude, tinged with a degree of compassion not found elsewhere in the book, that makes him so endearing. Given that we have access to every bit of his mental processing, the transgressions of his mind (mostly sexual and adulterous in nature) seem minimal and intrinsically human. Some serious critics claim that Joyce needed an editor, but we require all of Bloom's thoughts: the irrelevant, the irreverent, the erroneous, the silly, the serious. And with these thoughts we get excellent treatments of all the themes (and more) for which I come to fiction: death, lust, love, existence, virtue, debauchery, justice, purpose. A day after finishing the book, I’m still struck by Joyce’s ability to render such a rounded character within a generic 24-hour period. By the end of the book we know Bloom intimately, but as with the people we know best in our own lives, there are aspects of him that remain mysterious and conflicted. Bloom’s strong points are often so well-connected to his weak ones that it can be difficult to conclude which is which. For instance, Bloom seems always to think the best of people even after they’ve behaved horribly. Following a man’s drunken and public cries of anti-Semitism, Bloom thinks that he probably meant no harm and was just riled up from the drink; he silently forgives him. But then he considers that he (Bloom) might have gone too far by declaring, in defense, that Christ was a Jew. He’s finally stood up for himself (in one of my favorite passages ever), but he ends up feeling guilty about it, a guilt that betrays a weakness in his character or, from a shifted perspective, a strength gone too far. He also treats Stephen’s ill-considered remarks and behavior charitably, blaming these on the detrimental influence of mean friends. Bloom sees himself as Stephen's personal 'catcher in the rye', and while he’s impotent to prevent the violence visited up young Dedalus late in the story, he does manage to salvage his money and personal effects. He goes beyond this service, however, by paying off Stephen’s brothel debt and even returning his money with interest, becoming his Good Samaritan or, to stick with The Odyssey, his Eumaeus—the loyal swineherd who helps a travel-battered Odysseus upon his long awaited return to Ithaca. Regarding this story’s relationship with The Odyssey, one of the most obvious points of dissonance between the two is with the notion of heroism. In Homer’s epic, we have the quintessential manly-man whose fighting skills and wit are second to none, and who ultimately defeats his enemies via large-scale slaughter. In Ulysses, we have the effeminate, cuckolded social outsider who uses his curious and well-meaning perspective to defeat his enemies with magnanimity. And Joyce doesn’t just invert Homer's idea of a hero, but also Shakespeare's representation of a cuckolded husband. In Shakespeare’s world, the cuckold is someone to be laughed at, the butt of all jokes, and the embarrassment and even the responsibility of the man who couldn't control his wife. Joyce makes cuckolding appear tragic while not overstating its importance, at one point listing dozens of deeds that are worse, including everything from mayhem and contempt of court to criminal assault and manslaughter. The imminent cuckolding pops up in nearly every episode (maybe all of them), hounding and haunting Bloom. There’s no wool over his eyes. He knows and, in a way, allows the act to happen due to his own perceived powerlessness over the situation. In a later episode, I thought that side character Gerty (a stand in for The Odyssey’s Nausicaa) had spied out a sad-looking Stephen Dedalus on the beach, but a few pages later we find out this man with the despondent countenance is actually Bloom. When I realized that Gerty’s pity wasn’t in response to the ennui of an intellectually-tortured dilettante but to a man who was currently experiencing an intimate betrayal, the episode reached a peak of poignancy. And then in true Joycean fashion, he moves right past this moment to one of lust and masturbation, complete with a climax joined by beach fireworks that’s reminiscent of the love scene between Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. Where Bloom may get into trouble with readers (and Joyce with censors) is with his lustful, objectifying, and lecherous thoughts. And it’s this frank sexual honesty that’s still surprising and blush-inducing 80 years later. Bloom's specific lustings and yearnings aren’t universal to the male experience, but they are recognizably human in their sui generis imagining. The very specificity of his desire, at times quite blunt and offensive, is certainly what led to the charges of vulgarity and indecency. For it has been common throughout history to treat sexual proclivities not shared by oneself as strange, creepy, and even dangerous. So Bloom is, as he’s referred to in the hallucinatory Circe episode, ‘No Man and Everyman’, at once ordinary and extraordinary. Exhibiting Bloom’s fetishes so completely is what pushes this novel into a realm of reality that was at the time unexplored, and perhaps not yet bested in the fiction that’s followed. Almost as if he sensed that the reader may be building up too much sympathy for Bloom in spite of his occasional creepiness, Joyce decided to bring him down a few notches after his side of the story is finished. We’re reminded that we’ve only been getting half of the picture with his marriage and that two genuine experiences do not always add up to the same interpretation of reality. Once we get to hear Molly’s voice, we find that in certain instances the two of them are simply misinformed about the actions and thoughts of the other. Communication has been damaged, perhaps irreparably. In other cases we get the fullest realization of one of the primary themes in the book: parallax, an astronomic concept that Joyce uses metaphorically throughout the novel. One of the great misfortunes or, depending on the circumstances, boons of humanity is that because we see certain events and ideas from disparate locations with respect to context, intellect, gender, nationality, etc., we perceive these things differently, despite the fact that in reality, outside the world of perception, they are the same. Thus, Bloom and Molly feel that the other is to blame for many of the problems—recognized independently from distinct perspectives—in their marriage. Joyce also employs the concept of parallax stylistically, utilizing different prose formats for each episode and forcing us to confront the ways in which a writer’s stylistic and aesthetic sensibilities influence the way we perceive a narrative and react to it emotionally. So anyway, here we are. Living our lives; reading our books. Experiencing reality through the ineluctable modality of the visible. Does this book have anything to say about the big questions of life and how to derive some meaning from this giant mess? Yes, yes it does. The world of Ulysses revolves around a single Word, a concept that's refracted into many meanings and contexts. Each of the three main characters—Bloom/Odysseus, Stephen/Telemachus, and Molly/Penelope—ultimately recognizes its power, its necessity as the grounding of their lives. But only one of them has the bravery to weather charges of sentimentality and soft-heartedness, to utter the Word in the face of cruel mocking; that's our hero, that ‘conscious reactor against the void incertitude,’ Leopold Bloom. Here on Goodreads I haven’t his courage, and I will name it along with Stephen as ‘the word known to all men.’

Do You like book Ulysses (1990)?

انا بحب الرواية دي من ساعة ما شوفت صورة لمارلين مونرو وهي بتقرأها , وأنا بحب مارلين بصراحة فحبيت اللي بتقرأه : لكن وأنا بقرأ الرواية دي كان شكلي عامل كدا :ت.إس.إليوت في معرض حديثه عن هذه الرواية بيقول:عن طريق استخدام الأسطورة و استغلال التوازي المستمر بين المعاصرة والقِدَم , يتبع السيد جويس طريقة يجب على الآخرين تقليده فيها ... و هي ببساطة طريقة للتحكم والتنظيم و إضفاء شكل و أهمية على مشهد العبث و الفوضى الطاغي الذي يمثله التاريخ المعاصر لو قُدر لنص أدبي أن يقدس , لكانت عوليس هي الرواية المختارة .طب بالله عليكم , دا يتقال عنها إيه , ولا تتوصف بإيه ؟ دي مش رواية مكتوبة , دا عمل أدبي منحوت , منحوت من صخر صلد , الكاتب مكنش بيكتب مجرد رواية أدبية يُخلد بها إسمه , لأ , دا بيكتب عقاب , عقاب أدبي لكل واحد تسول له نفسه إنه يفتكر فيها العظمة والابداع , ليه كدا يا جيمس ؟ ليه كدا يا حبيبي , دا إحنا غلابة والمصحف , عملنا لك إيه علشان تعمل فينا كدا , وكله بمزاجك , عايز تقرأها إقرأها , مش عايز , لا يكلف الله نفسًا إلا وسعها . الرواية اللي ممكن متفهمش منها حاجة , لكن مجرد ما تنتهي منها هتلاقيها بقت جزء منك (وكنا بنتريق على هاروكي موراكامي إن قططه بتسمع مزيكا , دا إحنا غلابة ) , الرواية المتاهة , اللي لو فلتت منك في جزئية هتظل حبيس صفحاتها وعقلك متعلق بها .بص يابني : في نوع من الأدب , حلو وسهل وظريف , والأديب من دول لا بيتعب دماغه ولا بيتعب دماغك معاه , بيقدمك العمل سهل وبسيط , يعني من الآخر بيقدم لك الأكلة جاهزة وانت تتذوق وتمزز فيها براحتك , الأدب دا حلو , حلو خالص , حلو جدا .وفي بقى نوع تاني من الأدب : هو بيتخطى مفهوم الأدب , بيتخطى كل الحدود وكل المعايير , ليصنع هو حدود ومعايير لا يقترب منها أحد (واللي عايز يجرب يقرب هو بقى ) , يعني الكاتب لا بيجيب لك أكل ولا حتى مكونات , وبيقول لك اشبع أنت يا حلو , نوع الكاتب فيه بيخترع حياة وعالم , عالم يخلقه هو , وينسج تفاصيله و أحداثه وشخصياته , كلها من خياله , كلها من ابتكاره , ابن الظالم اخترع لغة , أول لنقل إنه اخترع استخدام خاص للغة عريقة , بيعلم على الانجليز . النوع التاني قد لا يجد انتشار في زمن معين , ولا يجد اهتمام ولا حتى شعبية , ولكنه يضمن خلود وعظمة لا يقربها أي خلود آخر , عظمة الآلهة الأدبية المقدسة , كآلهة الأولمب العظماء .المهم : نحن أمام عمل وُصف على أنه الأعظم على مر العصور , وحتى هذا الوصف لا يفيه عقه من العظمة والابداع , فهذا عمل لا يشببه أي عمل آخر , ولا يقترب من عظمته أي رواية أخرى , رواية ؟ وهل هي رواية ؟ و أي رواية تلك التي تحتاج إلى كامل خلايا عقلك لكي تندمج معها وتفهمها , لا , أنت تحتاج لكامل عقلك لكي لا تفقده ويتشتت منك , فتشعر بجنون وحيرة لا يضاهيها حيرة , منطقي جدا وأنت بتقرأ الرواية دي إنك فجأة تقفلها وتبدأ من أول وجديد , منطقي إنك تقرأها بصوت عالي , ومنطقي إنك تلاقي نفسك بتضحك بصوت عالي وتعمل حركات غريبة بوشك , رواية غريبة , هتعمل علاقة معها كعلاقة حب بينك وبين فتاة , هتندمج فيها بلا أي مبرر منطقي , وهتلاقي صعوبة وتعقيد مريب لكن مش هتقدر تتركها , هي سحر البيان , وسحر الكلمة وسحر التشكيل , إيه دا , أي روح ملعونة تلبست جويس , وأي واد جن قام بزيارته ليخرج علينا بهذا النص , أي ألعاب لعينة مارسها هذا الكاتب , لكي يتسرب إلى عقولنا بهذا الشكل ويترك علينا هذا السحر .كارل يونغ كان بعت رسالة لجويس بيقول له فيها : (« يوليسيسكَ يا سيّدي قد قدّمتِ العالمَ على أنّه معضلة سيكولوجيّة مُقْلِقة، و التي قد عُنيتُ بها مرارًا بسلطةٍ مفترضة على الأمور النفسية.يوليسيس تثبت أنها مثل ثمرة جوزٍ صلبة بشكل مفرط. كتابك بالإجمال قد وهبني لانهايةً لمشكلة كنتُ قد أطلتُ التفكير فيها طيلة ثلاث سنوات حتى نجحت في أن أضع نفسي في مواجهةٍ معها. لكن، لابد لي أن أخبرك أني أشعر بالإمتنان العميق تجاهك- تماما مثل ما هو تجاه تحفتك العظيمة لأنني تعلمتُ الكثير بسببها. من الممكن أني لستُ متأكدًا لو أني قد إستمتعت بها؛ لأنها قصدتْ أن تكون محطّمةً للأعصاب للغاية، و و للمادة الرمادية(أحد مكونات الجهاز العصبي). و لا أدري أيضًا إذا ما كان سيعجبك ما قد كتبته عن يوليسيس؛ لأنه يساعدُ في أن أخبر العالم كم هو شعور الملل الذي كنتُ أشعر ) ودا يونغ , يبقى إحنا الغلابة يجرى لنا إيه ..الفكرة دائمًا في إبداع الإنسان , وعقله الغريب المعقد , ورحه المقدسة القادرة على إثارة الدهشة دائما ,وحياة الإنسان البالغة البساطة والتعقيد في آن واحد , يوم واحد , يوم واحد هو زمن الرواية دي , الرواية اللي حيرت الملايين وقامت من أجلها الدنيا ولم تقعد من يومها , زمنها يوم واحد , بكل تفاصيله وشخصياته و حكاياته , بكل الفكر المنتشر فيها , بكم المعلومات الرهيبة المذكورة فيها , كل دا في يوم واحد , يوم واحد يا مؤمن , خلانا نعيش أيام من المعاناة في مجرد قراءتها , ما بالك الكاتب ؟لازم تعيش في 16 يونيو دا التفاصيل كلها , لازم عليك تعرف ليوبولد بلوم ومراته واصحابه وافعاله , لازم تتقمص ذكرى اليوم كاملة . الخيال يا خوانا , لازم يكون عدك خيال جامح ليقترب (مجرد اقتراب من خيال الرواية وكاتبها ) تيار الوعي وسنينه السودا , ماله الأدب المبتذل ولا الأدب المريح المفهوم , اللي تقرأ له ولا كأنك قرأت حاجة , لازم نقرأ لحاجة دسمة يعني , لازم تيار الوعي دا , اللي مطلوب منك تركيز 1000% علشان الرواية لا تفلت منك , وتحاول تفهمها , رغم إن الفهم غير مهم في الأساس , لأن الرواية قبل أن تخاطب عقلك , تخاطب روحك و نفسك الدفينة .اللغة : أنا سمعت كثير عن ألاعيب جيمس جويس اللغوية , سمعت عن حس دعابته العالي المذهل , لكن مجرد ما بتواجه نص كدا بتقول إن أكيد في حاجة مش طبيعية , الكاتب أيرلندي يكره الانجليز , فأراد ان يتفوق عليهم , وهل يوجد تفوق أعلى من أن تتفوق على خصمه في ملعبه ؟ ولهذا أبدع جويس في استخدام اللغة الانجليزية ولكن ليس ذلك الاستخدام العادي التقليدي , بل هو استخدام جديد سُجل باسمه هو ولم يوجد بعد من يجيد استخدامه أو حتى تقليده , كم الدراسات اللي اتعملت على الوراية وكم المحاولات لفك طلاسيمها وفي النهاية تبوء كلها بالفشل . كل فصلة وكل حرف وكل سطر وكل جملة , لها أهميتها , ولذلك نجد أن مشاكل الطبعات لا تنتهي .الترجمه : لنا أن نتخيل مترجم مثل د\ طه محمود طه , يفني من عمره 20 عام بالتمام والكمال لكي يخرج لنا هذا النص بلغتنا العربية , لازم نشكر هذا الرجل من صميم قلبنا , ونشفق عليه لكم المعاناة اللي أكيد واجهها أثناء ترجمته , وهو في الأصل كان يخطط لعمل دراسة عن ألدوس هكسلي ولكنه وقع في سحر جويس وعوليسه ليتفرغ لها , ويقوم بزيارة الأماكن المذكورة في محاولة منه ليتقرب من روحها .الرواية العظيمة بحق , و واحدة من الروايات الفارقة في تاريخ الرواية , فنقول ما قبل عوليس وما بعدها , النص الغريب المعقد الصعب الساحر , النص الذي يسيطر عليك بكل تفاصيله , قد لا تجد فيه متعة ما , ولكنك ستجد فيه روح ادبية قادرة على الخلود .

On Not Reviewing this Book*this review has a lot of swearing in it and for that I apologize. drinking requires apologies*I have about thirty pages, front and back, of notes on this book, I swear. My intentions for the review were epic in proportion: multiple Ian-Graye style headings, a dissertation level of analysis, and a wealth of puns scattered throughout. But of course, books leave their impact in complex and frustrating ways and initially, any semblance of a review was far too intimidating. Then, there arose other reasons—that are personal and embarrassing—as to why I did not even want to look at the damn thing ever again. Certain emotions cling and others fade away and I feel quite fortunate for the ones that have departed and the ones that have yet to leave. I look back on this book with warm nostalgia and a longing for the past.So, perhaps I can write about this book now. Perhaps.On Reviewing this Book: a Personal AnecdoteI read this over the summer of 2012, reading about 100 pages a week. When I fawn over my hardcover copy and admire the eye-patched picture of Joyce, memories spring up, automatically. I reminisce about the swimming pool my friend manages and my free-access to it summer-long. The months of June and July were probably the hottest I’ve ever experienced in Colorado. So in between the days I worked—outside, wedding services, black clothes, 13 hour shifts—I would waste an entire day at the pool, reading Ulysses and jumping into the cool, refreshing water every thirty minutes. This is life, I tell you. Beautiful warmth, great literature, and water slides. But most of all, at the end of each week, I got to meet with the most beautiful girl I’d ever met at a coffee shop and talk about the book. The first day we met to read the book was June 16th, 2012. Every conversation hit the “standing-up and nearly screaming” type of excitement that only I achieve when talking about the things I love the most. Only with literature have I experienced that epiphanic, everything fits together type of religious sensation. Ulysses delivered that in droves. Nearly every page is its own work of art that deserves to be read and cherished. My Joyceful friend knew a staggering amount about the Bible and Greek Myths, so the over-abundance of references that I missed, she would point out and the over-abundance of theories that I spun, worked in tandem with information we gathered. Imagine a 20 year old, slightly pretentious-looking college student, leaping out of his chair, exclaiming his excitement for all the coffee house patrons to hear and imagine the blonde-hair girl opposite, laughing and smiling at the response.Joyce Has So Much Fucking Swagger, Jay-Z Ain’t Got Shit on HimI remember reading a line in Ulysses that proclaims that Ireland doesn’t have its masterpiece yet. . . yet! The book went airborne and crashed against my wall. That pretentious and self-satisfied fuck! I had never been so pissed at an author for intruding on the text. I finally got over myself and continued reading. It took maybe three pages of Siren’s section to realize that yes, Joyce totally earns that intrusion about masterpieces. The writing is so frequently virtuosic and dazzling and well-written that it’s hard to not to think about how much of a genius Joyce was and wonder how the hell he ever got so good at using the english language.He does just about every imaginable thing a person could do to the language while still managing to make you laugh/cry/scream in joy.EmpiricismI had, at the time, what I thought to be some brilliant reading of the whole book and how Joyce incorporates sense experience in his writing to create a continuous stream-of-consciousness that is always correcting itself and rewriting itself, as the act of conscious experience is an act of writing and rewriting narratives to make sense of the outer world, an idea that I copped from Daniel Dennett’s Consciousness Explained who copped it from Derrida or something. There are jaw-dropping scenes that incorporate the characters’ sensual experiences, their thoughts about that experience and the memories that constantly inform their interpretations of those original experiences all in a single moment. The third chapter of the book constitutes what I deem to be (actually my literature teacher deemed it so but I will just use it to sound smart) one of the few true stream-of-conscious-thought pieces of writing. Loves loves to fucking love loveWhat a classic line. And bully for Joyce for pouring such sentimentality into his masterpiece of high-brow literature. Did you know there’s essentially a romance novella written in the middle of this book? I bet you didn’t know that. And goddamn if it isn’t better than any romance novel I’ve read. Joyce probably made a list of things that he wanted to “take care of” as far as writing the book was concerned. And over the seven years (?) it took him to write the book, I’m sure Joyce ticked off several items off the list, and with each, he chuckled to himself and went back to fucking shit up with his typewriter.The Nightmare of HistorySpeaking of classic lines. I thought a lot of about the history being a nightmare. You know, towards the end, Joyce described Bloom and Stephen as somnambulists (sleepwalkers) and my mind exploded—i.e. the whole book was the nightmare the characters were trying to wake up from.Then I thought about how much Joyce references works of other literature (especially Shakespeare, holy shit there’s a lot of shakespeare in this thing). And Stephen struggles to be a writer because he can’t stop thinking about how his work resembles works from the past, from history. And my mind exploded.I think about how history is a nightmare, yet the ending, the beautiful, bittersweet ending, jumps into the past. Joyce embraces the past at the end, but not after making the present moment so beautiful.The Present, The Everyday, The EpiphanyMy modern short story teacher once described narratives with “epiphanic realizations” as Joycean. I think I know why. Since history is what haunts Joyce’s novel, he tries to show the present moment for all the beauty that it is. This is why the book takes place over one day. He is trying to show how much beauty and meaning is packed into the everyday mundane. People drink at pubs, people go to funerals, people flirt with other people. People give birth. Don’t even get me started on the Oxen of the Sun aka “the greatest thing done with the english language, it’s fucking demonstrable, it is”. Okay, here’s the deal. There’s a girl giving birth upstairs, so Joyce decides to give birth to the english language. He writes in Angelo fucking Saxon and then works his way up through all the evolutions of the language until he returns to modern day vernacular. No one had ever even gotten close to doing that kind of ventriloquistic madness and no one ever will. David Mitchell is a pussy.Okay I’m sorry about the D. Mitch comment. That was messed up. I still love him.Anyway, nearly everything in the novel is connected by this idea, that the present moment ought to be celebrated. It gives justification for all the literary tricks within. All the literary tricks are meant to make the mundane, beautiful. Is that Bloom walking into a bar? Or is it a retelling of Odysseus sailing past the sirens, being pulled in by their beautiful song (transposed *(pun fucking intended)* in Joyce’s poetic prose). The entire section is first of all, really beautiful and second of all, filled with music imagery. Then there’s this blind character who keeps “tap tap tapping” around as we, the reader, “tap tap tap” around the prose to get our bearings, trying out sounds in order to orient ourselves in a setting, reinterpreting the sense data to create narrative and Joyce uses the sounds of music to convey this in order to show how a blind person creates a narrative out of life with sound. And now we’ve gone full circle, connecting back to one of my first points. Boom bitch!James Joyce is the Original Based God and Lil ‘b is just his Lowly FollowerSwag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag Swag SwagPuns out the WaazooI won’t even pretend to make any puns in this review. I would just fail under the punning prowess that is the Joyceman.There’s a part where Bloom orders a sandwich and he thinks about how the ham sandwich ended up on his plate with the ingredients “bred and mustered there”. Obviously to talk about the deplorable state of factory farming. Because, obviously Joyce was a vegetarian and animal-rights activist. Only in my deluded readings of his book probably.A Failed Love PoemThe fair, misses that I met with was named Erin Greenhalgh. I only say this because flip to page 123 and you’ll understand.Erin Green(halgh), gem of the silver sea,so inadequate to depict you as merely pretty—you leave far behind the likes of Remedios the beauty—confounding my inane iambs and cleverly-metered trochee.Trying to capture the experience of your being with me,renders all dewey-eyed ideals into weakening words in atrophy.Such is the attempt to capture every single quiddityof the deft, green beauty in the gem of the sea.Still as I navigate thru currents and against the breezeI succumb to the inevitable tide, ineluctable in its emotional pleas.Waves crashing within, any any sight, they screamin a sense, blinding all thoughts, its power must be.So to pen down these things, only things it relieves,still remains the wonderment inherent in thee.Unable to continue in second-person flattery,I’ll retreat back to third, with what I remember, a story.Once intoned in her words so suffused in poetry,that in the search for meaning, language is a commodity.But I hope this is not any purchase, in dollar or penny,of the uncommodifiable desires of human feelings, plenty.So to the face of a thousand ships, here’re my words, not many:I worry about the eventual demise of our proximity.Winding towards its end, our summer Odyssey,on the cusp of being too trite and not cliché hopefully!Never let it die; our interactions are so lovelyand let’s keep this skiff abreast the waves chatting literature and life over coffee.-SM
—Stephen M

“You should approach Joyce's Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.”William FaulknerJoyce considered writing a hard work and not just a form of expression. You can compare the complexity of his work to that sought by architects, in the structures of cathedrals. But an author, some people may say, can not and should not write exclusively for the world of artists, but must base his work solidly in reality. And it's exactly what Joyce wanted to do, think that he wanted to write 'for' the people as well as 'the people', because Joyce, described himself as a "socialist artist". I want to mention the fact that one of the first people to receive a free copy directly from the author was François Quinton, a waiter of his favorite restaurant in Paris, and not some professor. And there's a funny episode when a young man comes up to him and says, "May I kiss the hand that wrote Ulysses?" Joyce replies, ‘No – it did a lot of other things too. In Ulysses,(that in Finnegans Wake is described as "uselessly unreadable blue book of eccles") the difficulty of text doesn't aim to avoid ordinary readers, nor to apply only to the experts; instead the intention is to talk about the complexity of life itself, of an existence that is not and can never be taken lightly. It's not by chance that in chapter 3 a voice seems to question us :You find my words dark. Darkness is in our souls do you not think?The difficulty of Ulysses is not due to snobbery, but from the desire that anyone who reads it can declare himself an expert "just like anyone watching a sport event will have the right to form a valid opinion on what he sees."Don’t you think there is a certain resemblance between the mystery of the Mass and what I am trying to do? I mean that I am trying... to give people some kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of everyday life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own... for their mental, moral, and spiritual uplift.– James Joyce in a letter to his brother Stanislaus.Why read it?Ulysses can be read with passion without intellectually understanding the text. In this case, we identify ourselves completely with the character, our imagination lays hold of his sensation, his pleasure, his reminiscences, and we live with him, we dream with him. The prolonging of the interior monologue in our imagination will provoke pure reverie…Because the interior monologue in its fragmentary incoherence includes, as we have seen before, all the logical structure and grammatical armature of thought.–Emeric FischerSome other good reason are that it will definitely change you as a reader. It's frustrating yes, but the language is amazing. And another thing, don't listen to anybody who says there's no plot, that the story is a man just walking across Dublin. There is everything in this book, that's why it's so frustrating. You can find yourself transported from a walk on a beach to the dilemmas about death or to a contemplation about the origins of man. It teach us how to be frank with such dilemmas and it also remind us how men and women have their own sexual desires. Anyway, I prefer writing over plot.Ok, is this book so amazing? No! you can hate it, you want to throw it away at some point, you can also have a slight headache. Read well the warnings and contraindications or discuss with a doctor before taking Joyce's products. So, for anyone who wants to read other bad opinions, take a look below of what Virginia Woolf thought about Ulysses. And for the fans of Marcel Proust there is also a scene in Paris where he gets rid of Joyce.......Virginia Woolf confided to her diary her own withering assessment of the two hundred pages she had read so far... "I...have been amused, stimulated, charmed interested by the first 2 or 3 chapters--to the end of the Cemetery scene; & then puzzled, bored, irritated, & disillusioned as by a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples. And Tom, great Tom, thinks this on a par with War & Peace! An illiterate, underbred book it seems to me: the book of a self-taught working man, & we all know how distressing they are, how egotistic, insistent, raw, striking, & ultimately nauseating. When one can have cooked flesh, why have the raw? But I think if you are anaemic, as Tom is, there is glory in blood. Being fairly normal myself I am soon ready for the classics again. I may revise this later. I do not compromise my critical sagacity. I plant a stick in the ground to mark page 200. " Having begun to suspect - as noted above - that Joyce was probably beating her at her own game she tells her diary: "I dislike Ulysses more & more--that is think it more & more unimportant; & don't even trouble conscientiously to make out its meanings. Thank God, I need not write about it." Eight days after last reporting that she had read just 200 pages, she tells her diary, “I should be reading the last immortal chapter of Ulysses.And three days later she tells her diary, “I finished Ulysses”.Just what does this mean? That she had finished with it--not that she had read it all, let alone tried “conscientiously to make out its meanings.” She does what she can to justify her dismissal of it: "I finished Ulysses, & think it is a mis-fire. Genius it has I think; but of the inferior water. The book is diffuse. It is brackish. It is pretentious. It is underbred, not only in the obvious sense, but in the literary sense. A first rate writer, I mean, respects writing too much to be tricky; startling; doing stunts. I’m reminded all the time of some callow board [sic] schoolboy, say like Henry Lamb, full of wits & powers, but so self-conscious and egotistical that he loses his head, becomes extravagant, mannered, uproarious, ill at ease, makes kindly people feel sorry for him, & stern ones merely annoyed; & one hopes he’ll grow out of it; but as Joyce is 40 this scarcely seems likely. I have not read it carefully; & only once; & it is very obscure; so no doubt I have scamped the virtue of it more than is fair. I feel that myriads of tiny bullets pepper one & spatter one; but one does not get one deadly wound straight in the face--as from Tolstoy, for instance; but it is entirely absurd to compare him with Tolstoy." Ps: Tom, great Tom is T. S. Eliot who said : "I hold this book to be the most important expression which the present age has found; it is a book to which we are all indebted, and from which none of us can escape". I'm going back in time as with Virginia Woolf, to meet another rival of Joyce...Proust.The two are widely regarded as rivals; their works are often compared - though accounts vary widely, one thing is for certain: neither had read the work of the other (or neither admitted to it).Marcel Proust Gets Rid of James JoyceHôtel Majestic, avenue Kléber, ParisMay 19th 1922For some time, the British art patrons Sydney and Violet Schiff have been plotting to gather the four men they consider the world’s greatest living artists – Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce and Marcel Proust – together in the same room.Picasso and Stravinsky arrive in good time. The less dependable James Joyce arrives after coffee, drunk and shabby, swaying from side to side. ‘I cannot enter the social order except as a vagabond,’ he admits. He sits to the right of his host, places his head in his hands, and says nothing.Proust, is placed between Igor Stravinsky and Sydney Schiff. Stravinsky notes he is ‘as pale as a mid-afternoon moon’. Proust tries to pay Stravinsky a compliment by comparing him to Beethoven.‘Doubtless you admire Beethoven,’ he adds.‘I detest Beethoven.’‘But, cher maître, surely those late sonatas and quartets …?’‘Worse than the others.’Encounters at parties are subject to the vagaries of memory, and further obscured by layers of gossip and hearsay and inaudibility, the whole mix invariably transformed even more by alcohol. So it is unsurprising that the Proust/Joyce exchange should be related in at least seven different ways:1) As told by Joyce’s friend Arthur Power:Proust: Do you like truffles?Joyce: Yes, I do.2) As told by the Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre:Proust: I have never read your works, Mr Joyce.Joyce: I have never read your works, Mr Proust.3) As told by James Joyce many years later to Jacques Mercanton:‘Proust would talk only of duchesses, while I was more concerned with their chambermaids.’4) As told by James Joyce to his close friend Frank Budgen:‘Our talk consisted solely of the word “No”. Proust asked me if I knew the duc de so-and-so. I said, “No.” Our hostess asked Proust if he had read such and such a piece of Ulysses. Proust said, “No.” And so on. Of course the situation was impossible. Proust’s day was just beginning. Mine was at an end.’5) According to another friend of Joyce, Padraic Clum, Joyce wants to undermine the Schiifs’ hopes for a legendary occasion, so tries to stay as silent as possible:Proust: Ah, Monsieur Joyce, you know the Princess...Joyce: No, Monsieur.Proust: Ah, you know the Countess...Joyce: No, Monsieur.Proust: Then you know Madame...Joyce: No, Monsieur.However, in this version, Joyce clearly wrong-foots himself, as his silence becomes part of the legend.6) As told by William Carlos Williams:Joyce: I’ve had headaches every day. My eyes are terrible.Proust: My poor stomach. What am I going to do? It’s killing me.In fact, I must leave at once.Joyce: I’m in the same situation. If I can find someone to take me by the arm. Goodbye!Proust: Charmé. Oh, my stomach.7) As told by Ford Madox Ford:Proust: As I say, Monsieur, in Du Côté de chez Swann, which without doubt you have –Joyce: No, Monsieur.(pause)Joyce: As Mr Bloom says in my Ulysses, which, Monsieur, you have doubtless read...Proust: But, no, Monsieur.(pause)Proust apologies for his late arrival, ascribing it to malady, before going into the symptoms in some detail.Joyce: Well, Monsieur, I have almost exactly the same symptoms.Only in my case, the analysis...And from then on, for a number of hours, the two men discuss their various illnesses.According to Schiff, who has a leaning towards accuracy, the party ends with Proust inviting the Schiffs back to his apartment, and with Joyce squeezing into the taxi too. Joyce then starts smoking, and opens the window, causing upset to Proust, an asthmatic who hates fresh air. In the brief journey, Proust talks incessantly, but addresses none of his remarks to Joyce.When the four of them alight in rue Hamelin, Joyce tries to join the others in Proust’s apartment, but they do their best to divert him. ‘Let my taxi take you home,’ insists Proust, before disappearing upstairs with Violet Schiff, leaving Sydney Schiff to bundle Joyce back into the taxi. Free of Joyce’s company at last, Proust and the Schiffs drink champagne and talk merrily until daybreak.* Proust’s handshake lacks vigour. ‘There are many ways of shaking hands. It is not too much to say that it is an art. He was not good at it. His hand was soft and drooping … There was nothing pleasant about the way he performed the action,’ writes his friend Prince Antoine Bibesco. Joyce’s right hand is another matter. When a young man comes up to him in Zürich and says, ‘May I kiss the hand that wrote Ulysses?’ Joyce replies, ‘No – it did a lot of other things too.’
—Emilian Kasemi

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