on May 4, 1999
There is no doubt that James Joyce is a master of the english language, with an endless knowledge of western culture. He takes a postmodernist stream of consciousness method of writing to its highest limits...but is that saying much?
_Ulysses_ meanders about like a day dream. I, for one, hate the postmodernist approach to writing. You may consider me biased on this count. Give me a logical plot any day!
on February 28, 1999
I don't know if I understood Ulysses as a 'classic' except in the sense that it is an exercise for 'erudition'. Nevertheless, with the assistance of a Cliff Notes edition I was able to go through the whole length of the book and actually understand what was going on. In all, it wasn't too bad. I know this is a seminal work and has influenced a lot of writers, as a novel itself it cannot get 5 stars though.
on February 26, 1999
James Joyce turn a left turn from Tolstoy's idea of elegantly revealing the stream of consciousness, unto pouring it by the bucket on the reader's head. Unfortunately, thousand of less competent hacks have followed in his footsteps making the latter half of the 20th century the garbage dump of literature.
on December 22, 2003
Ah, Ulysses. What can one say that has not already been said? It seems that everyone who has read it, and indeed even those who have not, has an opinion regarding Joyce's seminal work. And now, after finally turning over the last page, I hereby add my own name to the long list of critics who have attempted to analyze this novel, and who, although perhaps unwittingly, have also added to the length of the grin on the face of its author--that eloquent literary trickster, that infuriating kicker-of-the-wheels of language, old double J himself.
What immediately strikes you upon reading the first few pages of Ulysses is that, despite the cloud of mystique surrounding it, it is only a novel--a collection of words written by one man. It is not, as some would have you believe, some sort of prophetic vision of mankind, a work of art so highly conceived and perfectly executed that it transcends all space and time. No, it is only, as all books are, a story. And thereby it can be reduced to this: a man wakes up, walks around, and then goes to sleep. If you're looking for anything more than that, then keep looking--because you won't find it here. It is simply the story of one long (and I do mean long) day.
But the plot is of little importance in this book. What the author wants you to focus on is style and meaning; and there is plenty of both to go around. In fact, there is too much. When Joyce attempts to reconstruct the evolution of the english language in a mock birth of modern speech and literature, he crosses the line that separates amusing people from annoying ones. In passages throughout the book--too numerous to mention in this limited review space--you often get the urge to say to its author, "Okay, that's enough; we get it already." But on and on he goes, confusing you, irritating you, making you wish you had never started reading this damn book in the first place. So why keep reading, you ask? Because there are parts of the book, again too numerous to mention, that for sheer beauty and clarity of description rival anything ever written. Joyce's portrait of a grizzled old sailor in a scene towards the end of the book quickly comes to mind as a shining reminder that there are rewards for making the long and sometimes frustrating journey on which he wishes to take you.
And that, I suppose, is what Ulysses is all about. You love it at times, you hate it at times, but by the time you reach the end you feel, well, something. And no more should we expect of our authors.
on July 28, 2012
I knew this wasn't going to be the easiest book to read when I ordered it, but it certainly is an interesting one! I wasn't sure if I would get anything from this tome or not. But as it turned out, thanks to Mr. James Joyce, it led me to discover a distant descendant. He,(James Joyce),made mention of his name, Dr.Lucas of Dublin, in the novel. I googled Dr. Lucas only to discover that he (Dr. Lucas) is a distant cousin of mine! His father was my Great, great, great, great, great, great Uncle! Thank you, Mr. Joyce!