Joyce’s Ulysses

I not only read, but studied at length, James Joyce’s Ulysses, academically a “serious novel” though Joyce said, in 1922, “…the pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book—or worse they may take it in some more serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one single serious line in it.” More accurately, per Steven Kellman, “it elevates plebeian characters and banal actions to artistic consideration and, celebrating them, performs what [Declan] Kiberd, in an aptly Catholic metaphor, calls ‘the sacrament of everyday life.'” In Kiberd’s new book, Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce’s Masterpiece, he says

this is a book with much to teach us about the world—advice on how to cope with grief; how to be frank about death in the age of its denial; how women have their own sexual desires and so also do men; how to walk and think at the same time; how the language of the body is often more eloquent than any words; how to tell a joke and how not to tell a joke; how to purge sexual relations of all notions of ownership; or how the way a person approaches food can explain who they really are.

Makes me want to read Ulysses again, if Pynchon will let me.

Author: Jon Lebkowsky

Co-wrangler of Plutopia News Network, cohost Radio Free Plutopia. Podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. Former editor/publisher, FringeWare Review; associate editor at bOING bOING and Factsheet Five; writer at Mondo 2000, 21C, Wired, Whole Earth Review, Austin Chronicle; sub-editor at Millennium Whole Earth Catalog; blogger at Worldchanging. Digital culture maven, podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. On The WELL, Cohost of VC (virtual communities), Media, and Civil War (.ind) conferences.