James Joyce's astonishing masterpiece, Ulysses, tells of the diverse events which befall Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus in Dublin on 16 June 1904, during which Blooms voluptuous wife, Molly, commits adultery. Initially deemed obscene in England and the USA, this richly-allusive novel, revolutionary in its Modernistic experimentalism, was hailed as a work of genius by W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway. Scandalously frank, wittily erudite, mercurially eloquent, resourcefully comic and generously humane, Ulysses offers the reader a life-changing experience.
Let's set the scene...
I read Ulysses all because of this!
This was (clearly) a struggle for me. But unlike Don Quixote (may you rot in hell), it wasn't a challenge due to lack of interest or even... apathy. I wanted to know what happened to Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. I wanted to finish this book. I just had a hard time getting to that point because James Joyce.
Ulysses takes place during a single day... but in reality, it seems to encompass the entire lives of two men on opposite journeys. We learn, at a rather intimate level, the stories of Bloom (and to a less extent, Dedalus). And while the story of their lives is a necessary precursor to understanding what landed these characters here on June 16th, Joyce does it in a way that makes it obvious that the the stories themselves are the central focus and that he's not just giving you the backstory for the sole purposes of setting the scene. And I feel okay with that run-on sentence... I mean, if it's good enough for James Joyce!
My biggest lesson from reading Ulysses is that it is a book that needs to be re-discovered throughout ones lifetime. It was clear in my reading that, while I was getting a surface level understanding of the work, your thirty-fourth reading will still only leave you with a small portion of what Joyce intended for you to learn about the characters and the world in which they live. Ulysses was just crossed off my TBR list and now... will go back right on. While I know I wont have the opportunity anytime soon to pick it up again, it's my goal to read it at last once more in my lifetime. It demands and deserves a re-read.
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?
Ulysses has that epic, iconic cache that strikes me as being a Logan book. And as people tend to forget, Logan actually is brilliant in his very own right. He may have been born into money and enjoyed being a cliche of a trust fund kid, he also is highly intelligent, analytic and appreciative of great art.