Ulysses is, well, only a Dublin day, yes, but seven years in the writing and possibly as long to appreciatively read it.  I found some help for a delightful journey these past several weeks from several sources.

  • I downloaded a copy on Kindle (for iPhone) so I could read and mark-up.
  • I found an on-line copy marked up by Professor Michael Groden who is more immersed in Joyceana than I ever will, or hope to, be. Many of the obscure and invented words are clickable and sourced.
  •  I am listening to Jim Norton, an absolutely wonderful reader, with a fine Irish roll,  at Audible.  He knows the book well and with his pauses and emphasis helps makes sense of the written word for an uninitiated reader.  As one observer says, it’s not just a novel, it’s a long prose poem.  Sometimes I just listen, sometimes I read along, learning as I go.  Highly recommended. 
  • Lastly, and probably best of all, I discovered the wonderful Frank Delaney (recently deceased) and his 387-plus podcasts going through every sentence of Ulysses in 10 to 30 minute conversational lectures.  Here is his introduction.   I’ve subscribed on my iPhone and download five or so at a time so I don’t have to be near a connection to enjoy his Tipperary brogue, his infectious enjoyment and formidable knowledge (as have some 2.5 million others.)  Give a random listen and tell me you aren’t hooked. Luckily for me I encountered his warming voice during the struggle with Chapter 9 — “Scylla and Charybdis”– said to be among the most difficult in the book. (Not many will know that, as Delaney tells us, that Scylla and Charybdis are, for Joyce, Plato and Aristotle!)  Well, I’m not sailing smoothly but I have a good helmsman now.
  • Delaney is also the author of many good fictions, from My Dark Rosaleen (1989) to The Last Story Teller (2012), and of non-fiction from James Joyce’s Odyssey (1981) to The Undead (2011), to screenplays, collections and more.

More of Frank Delaney

More Joyce links

Print Friendly