U is for Ulysses by James Joyce

U is for Ulysses.

For this year's A to Z I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.

Today's book is a book with a one-word title: Ulysses by James Joyce. I've blogged about Joyce twice before, including him in a list of intimidating books and noting that his works are now public domain (which seems scary!) and that the first book of his I read was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I first read it in my early teens. I had a sweatshirt that featured Joyce and jokingly referred to Samuel Beckett going out in the middle of the night to get pizzas.

I mentioned then that I've read Ulysses! It took me a year - I read a chapter each Sunday (or so). After each chapter, I read the corresponding chapter in Stuart Gilbert's James Joyce's Ulysses: A Study. Is it really possible to read Ulysses without any help at all? I haven't tried Finnegan's Wake yet... A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is still my favourite of his writing.

Of three Joyce-related parts of Europe, I've visited Dublin and the James Joyce Centre, Paris and the Shakespeare and Company bookshop and am hoping to visit the third -- which is in Switzerland!

The James Joyce Foundation in Zurich which "was established in 1985 with a view to keeping alive the memory and work of the Irish writer James Joyce for the literary world in general, and above all for Zurich, where he spent some important creative years and where he died."

I hadn't realised he was buried in Switzerland. Not only that, but there are all sorts of houses and pubs associated with him to visit!

Screenshot of photos from the James Joyce Foundation page

Which difficult books have you tackled?


Hi Deniz - I suspect none - as I've not even attempted them .. I did the read the Bronte sisters books - Villette by Charlotte ... Emily's Wuthering Heights ... but really struggled and wish I hadn't. Jane Eyre .. I've seen tv programmes etc ..

I must make an effort to read - perhaps one chapter at a time ..

Enjoy finding the James Joyce Foundation and seeing what's there - what a great find now you're living in Switzerland .. cheers Hilary
I've never read one where I had to read the study guide with it. You tackled something major.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks, Alex!
Oh, Hilary, I never finished Wuthering Heights. I just couldn't take the woman locked in her room -- I kept yelling at her to get out there and *do* something about what she wanted!

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