3.8 162
by Joyce, Jim Norton, Marcella Riordan

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Ulysses takes place in a single day, 16 June 1904, also known as Bloomsday, it sets the characters and incidents of the Odyssey of Homer in modern Dublin and represents Odysseus (Ulysses), Penelope and Telemachus in the characters of Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, and contrasts them with their lofty models. The book explores various areas

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Ulysses takes place in a single day, 16 June 1904, also known as Bloomsday, it sets the characters and incidents of the Odyssey of Homer in modern Dublin and represents Odysseus (Ulysses), Penelope and Telemachus in the characters of Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, and contrasts them with their lofty models. The book explores various areas of Dublin life, dwelling on its squalor and monotony. Nevertheless, the book is also an affectionately detailed study of the city. In Ulysses, Joyce employs stream of consciousness, parody, jokes, and virtually every other literary technique to present his characters. Many consider it the best novel of the twentieth century. It is powerfully written, a book for the ages.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Ulysses is the most important contribution that has been made to fictional literature in the twentieth century. . . It is likely that there is no one writing English today that could parallel Mr. Joyce's feat, and it is also likely that few would care to do it were it capable. -- Books of the Century; New York Times review, May 1922

Product Details

Naxos of America, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged, 22 CDs
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.26(h) x 3.05(d)

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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. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:

--Introibo ad altare Dei.

Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called up coarsely:

--Come up, Kinch. Come up, you fearful jesuit.

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding country and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly.

--Back to barracks, he said sternly.

He added in a preacher's tone:

--For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all.

He peered sideways up and gave a long low whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm.

--Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off the current, will you?

He skipped off the gunrest and looked gravely at his watcher, gathering about his legs the loose folds of his gown. The plump shadowed face and sullen oval jowl recalled a prelate, patron of arts in the middle ages. A pleasant smile broke quietly over his lips.

--The mockery of it, he said gaily. Your absurd name, an ancient Greek.

He pointed his finger in friendly jest and went over to the parapet, laughing to himself. Stephen Dedalus stepped up, followed him wearily halfway and sat down on the edge of the gunrest, watching him still as he propped his mirror on the parapet, dipped the brush in the bowl and lathered cheeks and neck.

Buck Mulligan's gay voice went on.

--My name is absurd too: Malachi Mulligan, two dactyls. But it has a Hellenic ring, hasn't it? Tripping and sunny like the buck himself. We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out twenty quid?

He laid the brush aside and, laughing with delight, cried:

--Will he come? The jejune jesuit.

Ceasing, he began to shave with care.

--Tell me, Mulligan, Stephen said quietly.

--Yes, my love?

--How long is Haines going to stay in this tower? Buck Mulligan showed a shaven cheek over his right shoulder.

--God, isn't he dreadful? he said frankly. A ponderous Saxon. He thinks you're not a gentleman. God, these bloody English. Bursting with money and indigestion. Because he comes from Oxford. You know, Dedalus; you have the real Oxford manner. He can't make you out. O, my name for you is the best: Kinch, the knife-blade.
He shaved warily over his chin.

--He was raving all night about a black panther, Stephen said. Where is his guncase?

--A woful lunatic, Mulligan said. Were you in a funk?

--I was, Stephen said with energy and growing fear. Out here in the dark with a man I don't know raving and moaning to himself about shooting a black panther. You saved men from drowning. I'm not a hero, however. If he stays on here I am off.

Buck Mulligan frowned at the lather on his razorblade. He hopped down from his perch and began to search his trouser pockets hastily.

--Scutter, he cried thickly.

He came over to the gunrest and, thrusting a hand into Stephen's upper pocket, said:

--Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor.

Stephen suffered him to pull out and hold up on show by its corner a dirty crumpled handkerchief. Buck Mulligan wiped the razorblade neatly. Then, gazing over the handkerchief, he said:

--The bard's noserag. A new art colour for our Irish poets: snotgreen. You can almost taste it, can't you?

He mounted to the parapet again and gazed out over Dublin bay, his fair oakpale hair stirring slightly.--
--God, he said quietly. Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a grey sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks. I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta! She is our great sweet mother. Come and look.

Stephen stood up and went over to the parapet. Leaning on it he looked down on the water and on the mailboat clearing the harbour mouth of Kingstown.

--Our mighty mother, Buck Mulligan said.

He turned abruptly his great searching eyes from the sea to Stephen's face.

--The aunt thinks you killed your mother, he said. That's why she won't let me have anything to do with you.

--Someone killed her, Stephen said gloomily.

--You could have knelt down, damn it, Kinch, when your dying mother asked you, Buck Mulligan said. I'm hyperborean as much as you. But to think of your mother begging you with her last breath to kneel down and pray for her. And you refused. There is something sinister in you . . .

He broke off and lathered again lightly his farther cheek. A tolerant smile curled his lips.

--But a lovely mummer, he murmured to himself. Kinch, the loveliest mummer of them all.

He shaved evenly and with care, in silence, seriously.

Stephen, an elbow rested on the jagged granite, leaned his palm against his brow and gazed at the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve. Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart. Silently, in a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its loose brown grave-clothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of wetted ashes. Across the threadbare cuffedge he saw the sea hailed as a great sweet mother by the wellfed voice beside him. The ring of bay and skyline held a dull green mass of liquid. A bowl of white china had stood beside her deathbed holding the green sluggish bile which she had torn up from her rotting liver by fits of loud groaning vomiting.

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What People are saying about this

Edmund Wilson
One of the most remarkable features of Ulysses is its interest as an investigation into the nature of human consciousness and behavior...Joyce has studied what we are accustomed to consider the dirty, the trivial and the base elements in our lives with the restlessness of a modern psychologist; and he has also...done justice to all those elements in our lives which we have been in the habit of describing by such names as love, nobility, truth and beauty.

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Ulysses 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 162 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What people don't understand when reading Joyce's Ulysses- is that it is not so much the plot of the book that is important but way the book is written; people claim that it's boring. It is complicated but that is what makes the book the third most researched piece of literature...right behind Shakespeare's work and the bible. That alone says a lot about the work. The complicatedness was intentional. Joyce is a genius and this proves it. How many authors can claim they've parodied the greatest figures in literature--Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, and the bible? Does anyone realize that each chapter is written from a different character's point of view, each chapter is written in a different style, each chapter's is written to follow Homer's Oddyssey?

Ulysses is not made for people who want to sit back and just read and not think. It is not made to entertain people. It is written for people who APPRECIATE LITERATURE.
Speedball More than 1 year ago
A first reading of Ulysses can be daunting, if not downright frustrating. Take it in bite-sized chunks and keep an excellent description (such as The New Bloomsday Book by Blamires) by your side and you'll be on your way. A previous reading of The Odyssey, though useful, is by no means required, as Joyce draws on myriad sources in addition to Homer. Subsequent readings will come much more easily and reveal a mastery of the language that cannot be compared to any other book or author. Once you get the hang of it, you'll realize it isn't nearly as opaque (or pretentious) as it's made out to be. It's actually laugh out loud funny in many places. Even better, find an audio version of the book or read it aloud (especially the Penelope chapter -- the last in the book). It's a book to be heard as well as read. Also, there are DVDs of a walking tour of Joyce's Dublin that I found enormously useful in adding context to the book -- the city is itself a character.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This IS the greatest and best book ever written, but casual readers beware, it is also the most difficult to read book ever written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This IS a great novel--probably the high-water mark of the art form. Brilliant by any measure, it caries so many layers of meaning that one feels like Krishna's mother, when she saw all the universe in her son's open mouth.... Tenzing--I strongly suggest you consult one of the excellent works that break down some of the stickier themes in Ulysses. My favorites are Joseph Campbell's Mythic Worlds Modern Words (which has an amazing section on that very weird word, CONTRASMAGNIFICANJEWELBANGTANTIABILITY, along with much else); and Blamire's wonderful Bloomsday Book, which I think came out in a revised edition a few years back.
K-Star More than 1 year ago
It is not formatted at all, just blocks of text and dialogue with no spacing between. It's already a tough read without trying to figure what is being narrated and what the characters are saying. Do not buy the New Century Books edition. This was my first e-book purchase and I am totally disappointed. I am obviously going to have to spend more time previewing copies if just anyone can publish an e-book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most readers probably won't be able to approach this famous novel without some outside aid, but don't let that deter you. I've read parts of it many times and still haven't any idea what the central theme is supposed to be, yet it remains a fascinating work. The book is less about plot and character as it is about the creative use of language - stream-of-consciousness, changing narrators, parodies and other rhetorical devices are some of the techniques Joyce uses to the fullest. This is one of those rare books that can be read over and over and something new understood each time. For that alone, I recommend this to curious readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While skimming this book a few minutes after buying it, I found two errors in the text: a misspelled word on one page and a paragraph accidentally repeated on another. A line-by-line comparison would probably find many more. This kind of sloppiness might be acceptable in some cheap digital reprints, but not in a book like Ulysses, whose precise wording is an important part of its meaning. Unfortunately, Barnes & Noble offers multiple versions of Ulysses for the Nook but tells you nothing about how they were prepared, so the other versions might be just as bad. But definitely don't buy this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is the best novel but also the most demanding one. In order to properly read it it took me four months and a course in Columbia University but every single minute I´ve spend with it couldnt be more intense and fruitfull. It takes a lot of work but the reward is inmense. Now I'm reading finnegans wake and each page is so full with connections, references, etc.. that it will take me at least 4 or 5 months, I can wait!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ulysees can be a bit inaccessible at times but well worth the initial confusion. Perhaps the finest work of modernist literature I have read, Joyce's stream of consciousness technique is often imitated but has never been equaled. I WOULD however, suggest reading Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man BEFORE tackling this difficult work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to confess to being torn concerning this book labeled by many as the best of the 20th Century. I can appreciate the achievement: paralleling Homer with each chapter while employing just about every literary device available is to be commended. Bloom is truly a creation fit for modern literature. On the other hand, I get the feeling Joyce is toying with me as I read, flaunting his genius. Perhaps he has licence to do so. When a book is able to generate such potent responses, it is great. Several readings are needed to appreciate this book. My professor in Joyce seminar poured over this book for years and found new insights each time. The Cliff's Notes to Ulysses are not very good. For a better reading aid, opt for the Bloomsday Book instead (yes, you will need an aid of some sort).
BoysRGreat More than 1 year ago
My son and I are reading Joyces' Ulysses.  Superb experience!  Oct 15, 2008 review is spot-on.
Seghetto More than 1 year ago
I read this book twice, and it still stands out in my mind as the most creative use of English in the history of the language. Taking the plot of a classic work is not unique, the way it was executed in this book was. Ulysses doesn't explore any of the great secrets of life. It doesn't seek to take on some great social issue. It is just a great work of art. It is difficult to understand, but with such an ambitious work this is no surprise. Any fan of English literature needs to read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've tried, but I have not been able to finish this. It's not easy reading, so it may just be that it requires longer spans of reading time than I am willing to give.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carl Jung 'diagnosed' this book as 'schizoid,' and it's a fact that Joyce's daughter Lucia had the disease schizophrenia. I studied this disordered work fifteen years ago as a senior in college, and two years later I had my initial episode of the dreaded mental illness schizophrenia. I believe that my illness would have happened anyway - but, just in case, I would strongly caution those who are already diagnosed away from not only _Ulysses_ but also _Finnegan_ and anything by Ezra Pound (especially _The Cantos_). I love the fact that Joyce rips anti-Semitism to shreds in _Ulysses_, but the schizoid language in places is just too much for me and I suppose others like me to handle. If you do get an overdose of Joyce, a pretty down-to-earth antidote is Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This e-edition claims to have helpful annotations. There were none that I could see. Caveat emptor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits in his throne.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not a place for personal chats and solicitations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok. I think we'll be back. Bye Dad! Guys, say bye to your parents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bye dad. And remember.... my name is payton:)
venjuemagi More than 1 year ago
A challenge for most (myself included), but the trick is not to expect a plot driven story (something we're all too expectant of these days). Just read it for the insights and the interesting use of words.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you, and goodbye.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deliver the wine too! *tosses him a bag of drachma and races after Vic.*