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How to Read «Ulysses», and Why

Dr. Jefferson Hunter

This short guidebook, written specifically for first-time readers of Ulysses by a veteran teacher of Joyce’s novel, offers a way in to one of the most pleasure-giving books ever created. After an introduction surveying Joyce’s techniques, both traditional (the creation of plausible characters and a fully realized Dublin setting) and modern (interior monologue, the Homeric parallels, stylistic experimentation), an episode-by-episode commentary leads readers through the fictional events of June 16, 1904, explaining obscurities, identifying main themes, translating foreign phrases – in short, making understandable the world of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold and Molly Bloom. An afterword looks at Ulysses as a whole, arguing that like all comic masterpieces it applies a sophisticated treatment to ordinary materials. An annotated bibliography suggests further resources for studying the novel.