Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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“Ulysses”, James Joyce

August 10th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Literature, Owned But Unread, Unfinished

Synopsis: Leopold Bloom spends a day wandering through Dublin on June 16, 1904. Modern literature will never be the same again.

My Take: Ulysses is my literary white whale. I’ve sat down to try and read it a couple of times, but have never had the requisite endurance or appreciation. I get the feeling that I will enjoy it one day, but I’m just not ready yet.

In this regard, I think I have to endorse Gary Dexter’s observations on Ulysses “How Books Got Their Titles”:

In 2006 the poet laureate Andrew Motion recommended that all schoolchildren read Ulysses as part of their essential grounding in English literature. One can see why. To read Ulysses is to realize that the whole of twentieth-century literature is little more than a James Joyce Appreciation Society. … But in another way his suggestion was absurd. Ulysses is not a book for children. It is barely even a book for adults. The paradox of Ulysses is that one needs to read it to understand twentieth-century literature, but one needs to read twentieth-century literature to build up the stamina to read Ulysses.

I’ve no idea how long it will remain unread on my bookshelf, but I know I’ll get there one day.

Highlight: I’m sure there are many, but so far all I’ve got from my aborted attempts to finish “Ulysses” is neck strain as I watched the meaning constantly soaring over my head. Sigh.

Update: Have just seen that ANZLit Blog is having a group read of Ulysses – I might have to give it (yet) another go…