James Joyce - Ulysses

A Video Talk

It has been said that were the city of Dublin to be suddenly destroyed, it could be recreated simply from the detail of this novel, all taking place on one day in June 1904. Follow Leopold Bloom on his wanderings through the city, in what is one of the most important works of modernist literature. Millions of readers have started Joyce’s masterpiece, and soon given up. Those who have persevered have generally loved it. Will you?

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This video is about 60 minutes full of intriguing information.

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“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.”
― T.S. Eliot

Influential, ground-breaking, and controversial

Few novels published in the 20th century have been as influential, ground-breaking, and controversial as has James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was first published in serialised instalments from 1918 to 1920 in an American journal, and was then published as a book in Paris, by Sylvia Beach of the Shakespeare & Co. Bookshop on 2 February 1922, Joyce’s 40th birthday.

It caused an obscenity trial in the United States, it has been heralded as the best novel of the century and yet is also considered one of the hardest books in the world to read. In Ireland a whole tourist industry exists around the novel, there are museums in Joyce’s name, and the 16th June, the day on which the events of the novel take place, is internationally celebrated as Bloomsday. Joyce himself said that were the city of Dublin to be obliterated, it could be reconstructed from the pages of his book.

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Bloom’s ordinary day in June 1904

The novel chronicles the adventures and encounters of Leopold Bloom in the course of an ordinary day in June 1904. He eats, shops, posts a letter, frets about the faithfulness of his wife, attends a funeral, masturbates, helps a friend, dines, and goes to bed. The 18 episodes of the book roughly correspond to the action of Homer’s Odyssey (Ulysses is the Latinised name of Odysseus). There are fascinating parallels between the classic poem and the modern novel, and between the characters in each.

Ulysses is packed with allusion, parody, satire, puns, jokes, all presented in a stream-of-consciousness style, and with imitations of styles from different periods of English literature.

Dull or stimulating?

When Joyce finished writing this book, he was so exhausted he didn’t write a line of prose for about a year. For some readers it is dull, overwritten, convoluted, vulgar, or simply unreadable. For others it is stimulating, brilliant, experimental and hilarious.

It has been said there are two sorts of people in this world – those who have read Ulysses, and those who haven’t. Have you? If not, can you rise to the challenge? Join me in exploring this extraordinary novel. Just $15, purchase access here.

Purchase the complete Video Talk (just $15 AU)

This Video Talk is a real treat! In it, I reveal intriguing stories about the author to help you understand what prompted this book to be written. I identify the main characters and their roles, analyse the themes behind the story, and describe the influence that the era, lifestyle and circumstances have on the book’s setting. It is illustrated with photographs, paintings, scenes from different film versions and book covers – you’ll have plenty to look at while you listen. Buy it now and view your video immediately. Just $15, purchase access here.

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Discuss it with me

It has been said that Ulysses is one of the most important works of modernist literature. Do you agree? Let’s discuss it here.

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Featured image credit- Leopold Bloom by James Joyce, https://publicdomainreview.org/essay/seeing-joyce

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