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Ulysses by James Joyce
By: (1882-1941)

Banned in the United States and United Kingdom throughout the 1920s, Ulysses turned conventional ideas of the novel inside out with its bold new form, style and theme. Deeply rooted in the Greek myth of the hero of the Trojan War, Joyce bases his novel on Ulysses or Odysseus, who is doomed to voyage for ten years before returning home to Ithaca. Joyce had been deeply influenced by the Iliad and the Odyssey, which he had read from Charles Lamb's adaptations as a child. In fact, he considered him the epitome of the heroic ideal and constantly thought of giving the myth a new dimension in modern literature.

However, the reader must be cautioned that it is not an easy book to read. It was also burdened by a strange and complicated publication history. Joyce's original handwritten manuscript was typed by a number of less than competent typists who made a series of grammatical and spelling errors, leading to great confusion. It went through 18 different versions, each of which was full of more and more mistakes. Attempts to “correct” the text were being made as late as 2010 but the appeal of the book lies in its overall theme and in its rich symbolism.

Ulysses is divided into 18 chapters, or episodes, each one referring to a Homeric character or episode in the Greek myth. Though Joyce did not originally title the chapters, he did refer to them by such names in private letters to his friends. He also gave them obscure titles from his researches in French translations of the Homeric sagas.

Joyce himself understood the significance of his work. He is reputed to have remarked to the effect that he had stuffed the book with so many enigmas and puzzles that it would keep academicians buzzing for centuries! The names of each character are rooted in the deep symbolism and every episode sets the reader harking back to the Homeric myths. Apart from Greek legend, Joyce also used aspects of Celtic traditions of storytelling.

Essentially, the plot deals with many ideas that have found echoes throughout human history. Paternity, the idea of the everyday hero, regret and personal conscience, the paradox of individual perspectives all conveyed through a plethora of symbols and motifs makes Ulysses a compelling if difficult read.

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Reviews (Rated: 2 Stars - 10 reviews)

Reviewer: - April 8, 2014
Subject: Ulysses
Many of the books on this site are well worth downloading. This one definitely is NOT worth it. The first chapter sounded like college frat boys making a joke of the site and the book. I couldn't listen to any more!
Reviewer: - February 15, 2014
I understand that Ulysses can be a mouthful. but the guys who recorded the first chapter are not even trying.
Reviewer: - December 24, 2013
Subject: Ulysses
I couldn't get more than 15 minutes in. Maybe practice or at least read the book before recording it. Also, on one of the (many) bumbles, the reader swore and it was audible, which was very distracting, and complimented the tone deaf fiddler beautifully.
Reviewer: - December 7, 2013
Subject: Ulysses
The first few chapters are not that good, but they get better as the book progresses. Some in fact are professional and have many voices, particularly ch 16. well worth it.
Reviewer: - September 17, 2013
Subject: September 2013
Could not make it through the first chapter. Way to many pauses, interruptions, laughter etc.
Reviewer: - June 8, 2013
This is awful! I can't even get through the first chapter. It sounds like a joke. Children could do a better job and at least their voices would sound cute...... seriously, it's not that hard to edit or re-read a section after you mess it up from laughing or getting every second word wrong.
Reviewer: - March 27, 2013
Some chapters are better and less distracting then others.
Reviewer: - March 27, 2013
This is the worst audio book I have ever heard. The people should practice and edit out the horrible parts. Why did you record this if you didn’t want to do a good job?
Reviewer: - March 10, 2013
Subject: My first experience and it wasn't a good one!
I had to stop listening when the fiddle player proceeded to play while someone was reading, that was very annoying. Was he trying to drown him out, or have a laugh? Either way, the fiddle playing as a whole was a poor addition. It might be a suggestion for the readers to practice their parts so they know the words and for those in the background not to laugh, interrupt, click glasses, etc. it's disrespectful and distracting. I hope all readings aren't like this!
Reviewer: - January 22, 2013
The laughing and interruptions can be annoying at times.

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