[RGC 316.] Ulysses by James Joyce

[read: can you believe I read that?!]

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» Must haves: Irish History for Dummies works. I started reading this in Dublin, yes this weird copy I got for 3€ at a small bookstore (it’s now definitely worth a lot more with an autograph by Senator David Norris, hairflip) so go for making it feel as Irish as possible. » Pairs well with: a pint. {Of Guinness, obviously.}


Yeah, that’s right, I read Ulysses. You better believe it. There aren’t enough words really to describe it; it took me four months and I still definitely don’t get most of it. But, for my first time reading it, it really has been an experience. One of my peers said, “The fact that I’d like to read this again is the final nail into my coffin and a testament to my ultimate masochism.” Well said.

Since I don’t really know what to say about it, except that everyone should attempt to read it once to get what the fuss is all about, I’ll just say you should read it and find out. A lot of it won’t make sense. You’ll have to make sense of it. And there’s a lot of fun in that.

Ulysses is so many things. It’s profane, hilarious, sad, dangerous, obscene, relatable, and the loftiest of novels. It fulfills that pressure to be recognized and read about. Joyce is probably as written about as Shakespeare, for good reason. There are times when you want to throw it off the T as you’re riding the Orange Line underground. And there are times you’re writing about how beautiful some of the sentences are (namely the last words of Ithaca and Penelope). But in the end, it’s worth trying and reading and thinking about.

A more accessible first Joyce read is Dubliners, the collection of short stories written about the city he loved (at least it’s confirmed because there’s a Joyce quote in Love Lane, Dublin that says “When I die, Dublin will be written on my heart.” #swoon) and left. My next Joyce read? I’ll be taking on Finnegans Wake in the spring; stay posted for the slow deterioration of my mind and spirit as an English major. In that time, you could probably read Ulysses, so get to it!


10 out of 10 would recommend.

(not for the faint of heart though; for you, 4 out of 10 would recommend out of the kindness of my heart)

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