Plan for Action, Suggested Reading List, Note on Editions



We’ll read the first page of Ulysses on June 16 (to commemorate the date upon which Ulysses takes place…June 16, 1904). I’ll lead the discussion with a post on that day. Then we’ll rotate…alphabetically? age-wise? arm-wrestling contest-wise?…and the next person will decide how much we read and what we’ll discuss next. And we’ll try to do it on a weekly basis.

Before June 16th, do what you can to at least familiarize yourself with Homer’s Odyssey. It’s not essential to reading Ulysses, but it does help. The Odyssey is the framework used by Joyce to give shape to the encyclopedic mass of allusions and plot, and it does add deeper significance to your own reading experience to be familiar with the tradition Joyce set his tale in. Maybe we can do some preliminary postings on the Odyssey before the 16th?

And you are absolutely encouraged to invite anyone you think might be interested in participating. 


Suggested reading before June 16th, in order of importance:

  • The Odyssey, Homer
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce
  • Joyce, Ellman
  • Hamlet, Shakespeare
  • Dubliners, Joyce
  • Divine Comedy, Dante
  • Faust, Goethe (I dare you.)

Suggested Films: Hamlet, Nora (based on Joyce and Joyce’s wife), Michael Collins, Wind That Shakes The Barley (these last 2 films are set more than a decade after 1904, but they give a good depiction of the political tensions in Ireland…and Joyce wrote well after these events took place), and Red Dawn


Finally, for Ulysses, I’ll be reading from the “Complete and Unabridged Text, as Corrected and Reset in 1961” put out by Vintage. There’s also the infamous “Gabler Edition” put out by Knopf Doubleday (with the lame modernist rendering of the title on the cover). I strongly recommend the former, for reasons I’ll give if you really want. Reason 1: Gabler’s a douche.

FC9780679722762Get this one!

16 Responses

  1. Initial Thoughts:

    1. Are we sure we don’t want to have a discussion group around “17 Again” starring Zac Efron? I just saw it with some friends and think there’s a lot to unpack.

    2. “Wind that Shakes the Barley” made me sad. Yes, Cillian is dreamy a la Zac, but that one kid–man, times were rough.

    3. My sister Ellen said Joyce can eat my poo.

    4. I’m excited and flattered that you’d include me in your Joyce adventure. However, I suspect you only want my company so that everyone else can appear smarter.

    5. Scooter-Thomas wants to join.

    6. Ben has warned me about the intensity of your love for Joyce.

  2. 1. Given the absolute flop that this online reading group is shaping up to be, a “17 Again” scene-by-scene dissection would have received far more enthusiasm and attention. Maybe we can alternate weeks, do a Joyce chapter, then an Efron scene. I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised how they may inform each other.

    2. Yes, sad. But “Ulysses” is set over a decade before the troubles, so it’s not that bad yet in the text. But the rumblings are there. Cillian, dreamy? He gives me the jeebies.

    3. Yes, Ellen. She must be relieved that “Angels & Demons” has been made into a film. Under the sure and nuanced direction of Ron Howard and acting of Tom Hanks, all that complex ambiguity will finally get cleared up.

    4. Of course you’re part of *our* adventure. And you’re not the weak link. There are no weak links. We’re like the Avengers here. Each one of us is bringing their own special super-power. We may not know what that super-power is, but each one of us will have a time to shine. I am certain of this. And I am certain of not much. Except that “Angels and Demons” is terrible.

    5. There’s actually a great cat scene in the book. I would love the feline perspective. My cats can’t/don’t read.

    6. The intense love has since been watered down by the years to a mild enthusiasm. I’m not too sure what’s driving me here. I could potentially have a complete meltdown.


  3. We like your banner picture and your template.

    To kick off this group, can we schedule an “Angels & Demons” screening together. Perhaps in Gary, IN?

  4. Listen, I’ll have my MBA in a week.
    And like cats, business school kids don’t read.
    I take my info in bullet form, so please brief me on the Ulysses via .pptx every Wednesday at our weekly staff meeting.

  5. Nobody said anything about a weekly staff meeting. Will these be teleconferences? Once again, I (Ben) am getting cold sweats.

    Gabler drunk dialed me last night. He was a mess. He always thought you liked him.

  6. Brooke–
    If we need to t-con, we’ll t-con. “Oxen in the Sun” may require one. We’ll at least web con at the end of each quarter.

    Gabler knows how I feel. Why is he calling you? Is he going to recklessly republish your senior thesis?

    Watch the cold sweats. Are you sure you’re not just sick?

  7. Gabler said you keyed his Mazda Miata. When did you become a monster?

    The cold sweats have passed. Now it’s dry mouth, blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, vomiting and urinary incontinence.

    You guessed it! Botulism!

  8. What other blog would have the chutzpah to propose not just a reading of Joyce’s Ulysses, but as a proper propaedeutic, a quick breeze through Homer, Shakespeare, Dante & Goethe?? Why leave out the Bible and Aquinas’ Summa?
    What a promethean enterprise!
    In other words, count me in.

    I have to admit I always thought Gabler’s controversial emendation of Joyce’s last word in Ulysses (“No” for “Yes”) was ballsy, to say the least.
    But nobody deserves to have their Miata keyed.
    And I want extra credit for using the word propaedeutic.

  9. Yeah, in retrospect, some hefty reading to do in 34 days. It took me 10 days alone to get through “The Divine Comedy.” But to my credit, 5 of those I spent achieving fluency in Italian (specifically, Alighieri’s 13th century Florentine dialect).

    No pressure to finish (or even begin) this list before the 16th. Just a suggestion if you want prioritize your prep.

    Didn’t have the heart to add the “Theologica.” But if you’ve read it, we’d love to have you.

  10. […] order to get AMPED for day 1 of our Ulysses reading project (launching in 26 days!) Ben Vore and I thought it would be pretty rad to […]

  11. […] We Read Page 1 of Ulysses in 24 Days! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Must Have: “Ulysses” AnnotatedGet Ready for Odyssey Funmaries!…Beginning May 28th!Book Review: Ulysses by James JoyceEven I get my feelings hurt […]

  12. […] books Joyce uses to structure Ulysses…culminating in day 1 of our reading of Ulysses, when we read page 1 on June 16th, Bloomsday (we’re starting slow, so no […]

  13. To help with the “Odyssey,” I actually recommend the film “Troy”… it is seriously not that bad. (Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt can eat it, but Brian Cox is delicious as Agamemnon). It portrays events from the “Iliad” which are also relevant to the “Odyssey.”

  14. […] * = If you are considering developing a possible addiction to drugs of any sort, may we recommend you watch Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For a Dream? Doing so would also enhance your critical understanding of the Lotus Eaters episode as a whole. Maybe make it a twinbill with Red Dawn! […]

  15. […] still time to go out and buy your WR-authorized edition of Ulysses and join us for this life-changing experience. (It changed Colum McCann’s […]

  16. […] think it would be helpful to hear what method everyone is using to read Ulysses. I took Jerry’s advice and purchased Ulysses Annotated (which has proved to be quite a life preserver thus far). But now […]

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