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1. Dubliners
2. A Portrait of the Artist as a
3. Ulysses
4. ULYSSES by James Joyce
5. The Portable James Joyce (Portable
6. The Dead
7. James Joyce (Oxford Lives)
8. James Joyce's Ulysses:A Study
9. Dubliners (Norton Critical Edition)
10. Ulysses
11. Finnegans Wake (Classic, 20th-Century,
12. James Joyce A to Z: The Essential
13. Index of Recurrent Elements in
14. James Joyce and the Difference
15. The Cambridge Companion to James
16. James Joyce (Lives)
17. A Portrait of the Artist as a
18. The Art of Joyce's Syntax in Ulysses
19. Poems and Shorter Writings
20. Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James

1. Dubliners
by James Joyce
Paperback: 162 Pages (2010-06-17)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$6.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1453637745
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This is a beautifully-designed edition of James Joyce's classic DUBLINERS. Complete and Unabridged. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (142)

1-0 out of 5 stars Published on demand version full of typos!
Dubliners is a fabulous set of short stories. But SOHO Books, who published this version, let all sorts of typos get through, thus marring what would be a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.You need to do a better proofreading job, SoHo Books!

5-0 out of 5 stars More Powerful With Age
I first read Dubliners in a Joyce class I took in college in the late 90s.I'm sorry to say that at the time, it must not have made much of an impression on me, as there were several stories in the collection that I couldn't recall ever having read.Having read the book again at the age of thirty-four, I was better able to appreciate both Joyce's prose and the subject matter of the stories.I think these stories are perhaps better understood once one has been out in the "real world", worked a job (dead end or otherwise), spent some more time on romantic pursuits, and tasted a little disappointment.Perhaps these stories didn't resonate with my younger self because of my lack of experience in some of these areas.As an adult who has grappled with the notions of identity, religious values, nationality, marriage, career, financial/social status, and alcohol, I found that I was able to relate better to many of the themes Joyce explores in Dubliners.

This is not to say that the book shouldn't be studied in college lit classes, as Joyce's prose is excellent and the content of each story can provide for a rich literary discussion.This book can be enjoyed on many levels and by anyone with a love of the written word.I firmly believe though that the more life you have under your belt, the more these stories will mean to you.

In short, Dubliners is a collection of stories about everyday people doing everyday activities.It presents a slice of life look at what Dublin might have been like during Joyce's time while also presenting underlining ideas regarding religion, nationality, class, relationships, and politics.This book is worth reading and highly recommended.I would add that if you're interested in reading James Joyce, this is the place to begin.There are some characters in these stories who turn up in Ulysses for example.Dubliners is also less experimental than either Ulysses or A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and thus more accessible.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Deal, A Pleasure
Sell me a toaster with the following supplements: ten loafs of bread, a few sticks of butter, and some jam; I will call it a deal.Likewise, sell me the second half of "The Dead" with the following supplements: "A Little Cloud," "Eveline," and twelve other short selections; I will call it a deal.Unless James Joyce indited his signature in blood on your copy of DUBLINERS, it is impossible to be fleeced as a result of purchasing this book.The quality of most of the collection remains uncontested.True, every story is not as good as "The Dead"; true, every story is not as poor as "Grace."Immutability is not a trait to be found in DUBLINERS.Each piece relies on an epiphany and some stories, whether a result of craft, plot or character, achieve the desired effect better.Regardless, some of the best pieces of short fiction I have had the pleasure of reading were in this excellent collection.

But why is it excellent?For this enraptured reader, many times it felt as if he escaped the corporeal and touched spirits with all who've encountered the emotions, the situations that Joyce's characters did.It is one of the greatest joys in reading fiction: being described your very own thoughts better than you could ever hope to.And yet--and yet--it is as well one of the greatest joys in reading fiction: when a skilled writer sells you the unfamiliar as something equally palpable to your memories.For long moments, I was able to transcend the limits of the page and believe the words as I would believe seeing an old man briskly walking by, a squirrel running up a tree.

A confession: when the SoHo Book version of DUBLINERS arrived, I was repeled.The glossed cover, the long pages--it all felt amateur and lacking taste.However, the more I read, the more I found enjoyment arising from the unique presentation.In fact, by the time I was through "A Painful Case," one of the last few stories, I could not imagine what it was about the initial impression it had that I disliked.If your wont is to scribble copious amounts of notes, this version is both wonderful and terrible.Unless you've been gifted with minute handwriting, it will be a pressing task, writing observations in between sentences, writing questions on the margins.At the end of many stories, though, large blank spaces are left prior to the start of the next.

Every lover of books should buy herself a copy of Dubliners, allow himself to read it whenever the occassion strikes appropriate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
A number of short stories focusing on different aspects of life in the city. I can't speak as to it sociological value, but taken as literature almost all of the discrete pieces is very nicely done. The stories are very short--most under ten pages, and within the limited narrative scale Joyce provides a lot of punch to his depictions. There's never the space in any single story to manifest the same scale or psychological complexity afforded by novels--and right here is the basis of my main reluctance with short stories--but there is some very good plotting and characterization on display. Best of all, the fact that all these stories in some degree make Dublin a central character in the drama allow them to be read in aggregate effectively, showing with skill a wide variant of scholars, merchants, priests, sensualists and politicians. Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Review posted on The Literate Man ([...]) on July 28, 2010
I have a confession to make ... I don't really like short stories. I mean, I see their utility for teaching the elements of story structure and characterization, and I appreciate the odd twist that makes for a memorable story scene, but I never find them really fulfilling. And I generally forget them very quickly. They are, I would contend, the rice cakes of the literary scene ... universally respected as the most healthy of literary treats, but consistently failing to deliver any actual nutrition to their hungry readers. I find it hard to believe that I am alone in this. Come on, be honest. Have you really gone out of your way to read short stories since you were ten and forced to read The Lottery?

Now, when I state a dislike of short stories in the context of a review of James Joyce, I feel guilty ... and I mean seriously guilty. Even the mention of Joyce conjures for me images of the staunch Irish Catholicism that I endured as a child and have been running from ever since. It's enough to make me want to confess.

"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned ... it has been more than three years since my last short story."

Fortunately for me, Dubliners is a bit different. First published in 1914, Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories (okay, it's really 14 short stories and one novella) that depict middle class life in Dublin just after the turn of the twentieth century. The stories revolve primarily around topics that are near and dear to the Irish heart: death (The Sisters, A Painful Case, and (of course) The Dead), poverty (After the Race, The Boarding House, and Clay), alcohol (Counterparts and Grace), and politics (Ivy Day in the Committee Room). Now, even as I write it, that depiction sounds downright drab, but Joyce's lyrical skills are at their peak in these stories, and every single one manages to warm your heart just as if you yourself were standing next to a peat fire in some country pub out on the cliffs of the old sod ordering a round of pints for the lads.

Between the consistency of the Dublin scene that it paints and the beautiful effect of Joyce's lyrical prose, Dubliners is a very enjoyable read. In fact, though it was written by the same Joyce that we love and hate for Ulysses and (ugh) Finnegans Wake, Dubliners is even completely understandable! It makes me wonder what Joyce might have produced if he hadn't grown so enamored of experimenting with form and language. Not that what he wrote wasn't good ... I mean, the best ... oh there I go feeling guilty again. That's what happens when you criticize the master. Does anyone have a rosary?
... Read more

2. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce
Paperback: 192 Pages (2010-09-07)
list price: US$7.77 -- used & new: US$7.77
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Asin: 1453813004
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Classic "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (250)

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Crafted Novel of Intellect & Rebellion
Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man follows Stephen Dedalus from his childhood through his coming of age.Joyce chronicles Stephen's sexual, emotional, and intellectual awakening as the novel progresses.As Stephen ages, Joyce's writing style evolves with him, increasing in complexity to reflect Stephen's increasing awareness and intelligence.As Stephen expands his mind, it brings him into conflict with the Catholic ideals he was raised with, as well as challenging his notions of nationality.

There are far too many layers to this novel to really do it justice in an Amazon review and I'll save everyone from reading another English lit essay.Suffice to say that I found this novel challenging to read, but ultimately rewarding in its well-crafted prose and thought-provoking ideas.Stephen's grapples with his faith, his country, with love, and ultimately with expression were intriguing and compelling.For it's simple beginnings, the novel contains description and passion that sears the page.For example, the accounts of hell in the third section alone were so terrifyingly rendered that I had nightmares the evening I finished reading it.

This is one of the most powerful pieces of literature I've read in some time.I highly recommend it to any one who is or has been a seeker of knowledge and what is true.This book may not have the answers, but it's an interesting portrayal of the journey of the mind of one man.

2-0 out of 5 stars VERY poorly edited version by Soho Publishing
Buy another version--Soho's is shameful.Not only is it a non-critical edition with no annotations whatsoever (which is fine--that's what I ordered, after all), but the sloppy editing throughout the entire book is so bad it's actually distracting. A high school editing staff could have done a better job.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you don't like this book, you don't like reading.
Joyce's prose is the closest thing to a hybrid of narration and poetry that I've experienced.I read this when I was in my twenties and have never fully recovered.Bliss.

1-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely terrible.
First of all, this is not really a stream of consciousness novel. Ulysses is. This is a semi-autobiographical novel detailing the rather uninteresting youth of a turn of the century Irish boy. Perhaps if I had lived at that time this book would be more meaningful, but in 2010 there is nothing controversial about doubting the infallibility of the Catholic church or the existence of God. This question is one of the main themes of the book, as well as a sort of semi-existentialist quest for the boy to define himself as an artist or whatever. Well, the existentialist debate has been better offered by superior authors from Dostoevsky to Camus, and Joyce falls flat here. The other main subject which Joyce attempts to invoke is some of the political divisions in Ireland. He uses a few characters to try and personify the rivaling political factions of the nation at that time. However, this attempt is short-lived, and it also falls flat.
The one gimmick Joyce used which I found mildly interesting was the use of different language as the boy grows older. So the book starts off with some laughable dribble about a "moocow" and a "nicens little boy named baby tuckoo," and ends with Joyce trying to parody the "Hail Mary" (again, the played-out religious themes).
Did I mention how boring this book is? Nothing of interest happens. Terrible book. Avoid at all costs. Read Nabokov instead.

5-0 out of 5 stars The flight from family,nationality and religion
In PAAYM we have the artist-hero,given a mythical name,Dedalus.There is really only one character,Stephen himself, and we see the world through his consciousness, other characters only impinge upon his mind. The girl,E.C., whom Stephen watches on the beach provides him with the epiphany that determines him to be an artist..There is an arrogance to the title,the mythicisation,the ambition:"to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race".But this is accepted by the reader who has been taken through the developing stages of his consciousness.Stephen becomes Daedalus,the master-craftsman who in his daring and ambition partook of the Promethean.

Joyce gives a precise portrait of the artist as a young man,with the tension between his ambition and what,in the novel,he has actually achieved:the novel as dramatic poem.Like the `God of creation',Joyce is quite outside this and`remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible,refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his finger-nails.'There is a struggle against forces-family,Church and state-that threaten to stifle his development.Concomitant with the movement outward from Ireland,is the movement downward into myth.On a superficial level Stephen is dissociating himself;on a deeper level he is becoming a creature of myth.This decision-systemization-led onto Ulysses.Stephen Daly became Stephen Dedalus.Joyce was determined to emerge from the groove of previous literature.

He gives the picture of infant consciousness,with tastes,touches and smells all distinct if not yet understood.The narrative is not sequential but a hodgepodge of memories due to Stephen's fever,early schooldays,holidays at home, rendered discontinuously and with intensity.The great injustice inflicted by Father Dolan makes Stephen a victim, who becomes heroic,whose protest against unjust pandying at a Jesuit school is a prelude to larger protests against Church and State.Joyce makes his (and modernism's) 1st employment of interior monologue,the stream-of-consciousness technique,moving through a range of more complex styles,which chronicle the development of his consciousness and culminates in meditations on the aesthetics of Aristotle and Aquinas and a commitment to an art based on`silence,exile and cunning'.The novel becomes a manifesto for the task of Ulysses.

The novel brings out well that his rebellion against Irish life and R/C religion did not stop their deep influence,substituting art for religion;and turning ideas of mass and substantiation into the `epiphany' of literature,everyday life into art:'the spiritual eye seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus'.Passionate intellectual argumentation has remarkable emotional force.He renders the'luminous silent stasis of aesthetic pleasure..the supreme quality of beauty,the clear radiance of the aesthetic image..arrested by its wholeness..fascinated by its harmony..the enchantment of the heart'.That Joyce lived out the conclusion of the novel's `non serviam' vow increases his achievement of the non-juring exile of extreme self sufficiency in his encounter with `the reality of experience'.Because he is dealing with the prurient Victorian world of his adolescence the preoccupation with guilt and fear and growing sexuality play a major part:a sermon on hell,a visit to a prostitute,masturbation.

Joyce's poems are like songs,he had an auditory imagination,he was a singer:Joyce lived in a world of words,words as sounds,divorced that is from meaning,using verbal association.There is the hypnotic use of repetition,chains of association are built up,words of sensory significance deliberately used to work on our subconscious minds.The relationship develops between author and object rather than author and reader.This equates the prose with the experience or replaces the experience with the prose.This makes the work self-conscious,deliberate,stylistically akin to Flaubert.He captures subjective experience through language rather than the actual experience through prose narrative(Cf.Stephen Hero).I prefer this and Dubliners to Ulysses.
... Read more

3. Ulysses
by James Joyce
Paperback: 548 Pages (2010-01-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$13.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 142093449X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
One of the most important works of modernist literature, James Joyce's "Ulysses" was originally published in serial format from 1918 to 1920 and then published in a single edition in 1922, which this edition is drawn from. "Ulysses" chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. While the novel appears largely unstructured at first glance it is in fact very closely paralleled to Homer's "Odyssey", containing eighteen episodes that correspond to various parts of Homer's work. Filled with experimental forms of prose, stream of consciousness, puns, parodies, and allusions that Joyce himself hoped would "keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant". This expansive work is considered one of the great works of English literature and a must read for fans of the modernist genre.Amazon.com Review
Ulysses has been labeled dirty, blasphemous, andunreadable. In a famous 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolseydeclared it an emetic book--although he found it sufficientlyunobscene to allow its importation into the United States--andVirginia Woolf was moved to decry James Joyce's "cloacalobsession." None of these adjectives, however, do the slightestjustice to the novel. To this day it remains the modernistmasterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism andvulgarity to splendid extremes. It is funny, sorrowful, and even (in aclose-focus sort of way) suspenseful. And despite the exegeticalindustry that has sprung up in the last 75 years, Ulysses isalso a compulsively readable book. Even the verbal vaudeville of thefinal chapters can be navigated with relative ease, as long as you'rewilling to be buffeted, tickled, challenged, and (occasionally) vexedby Joyce's sheer command of the English language.

Among other things, a novel is simply a long story, and the firstquestion about any story is: What happens?. In the case ofUlysses, the answer might be Everything. William Blake,one of literature's sublime myopics, saw the universe in a grain ofsand. Joyce saw it in Dublin, Ireland, on June 16, 1904, a daydistinguished by its utter normality. Two characters, Stephen Dedalusand Leopold Bloom, go about their separate business, crossing pathswith a gallery of indelible Dubliners. We watch them teach, eat,stroll the streets, argue, and (in Bloom's case) masturbate. Andthanks to the book's stream-of-consciousness technique--which suggestsno mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river--we'reprivy to their thoughts, emotions, and memories. The result? Almostevery variety of human experience is crammed into the accordian foldsof a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimentalwork but the very last word in realism.

Both characters add their glorious intonations to the music of Joyce'sprose. Dedalus's accent--that of a freelance aesthetician, who dabbleshere and there in what we might call Early Yeats Lite--will befamiliar to readers of Portrait of an Artist As aYoung Man. But Bloom's wistful sensualism (and naivecuriosity) is something else entirely. Seen through his eyes, arundown corner of a Dublin graveyard is a figure for hope andhopelessness, mortality and dogged survival: "Mr Bloom walkedunheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars,family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland'shearts and hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity forthe living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybodyreally?" --James Marcus ... Read more

Customer Reviews (431)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Show About Nothing
This review is for people that have not read this novel and are frightened by it.

Greatest novel of all time, blah blah blah. Forget the academic wankery that has encased this novel like a black, shiny coffin. Joyce never meant this novel to be read with reverential nods and oh so serious frowns. This is a novel that is bursting with atmosphere and life.

In its essence, this novel attempts two major tasks: to inflate one utterly ordinary day in the life of a human being to epic proportions, and to do so by undertaking a different writing-experiment for each chapter.

The "epic inflation" aspect is absolutely fascinating. Mr Leopold Bloom spends an entire day wandering around Dublin for a bit, then comes back home. Absolutely nothing "epic", in the usual sense, actually occurs here. He encounters a spiritual son in the form of the slightly malnourished, youthful, pseudo-intellectual Stephen Dedalus...but the encounter doesn't really lead anywhere.

Rather, it is the point of the novel to inflate the simple things in life to something epic. Taking the Odyssey as its skeleton (and you really should be familiar with the Odyssey before attempting this book), Joyce turns each tiny incident during the day (in pretty much "real time") into an epic event with its own incredible atmosphere and drama. Even Bloom sitting on the toilet, going to the post-office, or drinking instant chocolate become massive epic events.

To some degree this is slightly self-mocking. However, the novel makes you see your own life in a slightly different way. Maybe there are no "dull" days in our lives; from a certain point of view even the most mundane stuff, like dropping off something at the post office, or drinking Ovaltine, becomes miraculous.

Secondly, there is the experimentation. The fact that each chapter is a totally different experiment gives you a real sense of curiosity about the novel. What is coming next? Stream of consciousness wackiness? A play? Random newspaper headlines? The division of the book into different experiments means that, even if you don't like one chapter, you can read on in the hopes that the next chapter will be more to your taste.

Think of it as being like a concept album. Even if you don't dig Within You Without You, When You're Sixty-Four is just around the corner.

Overall, I liked the atmosphere of the novel. Even if sometimes you don't totally get what's happening, you get a strong sense of Dublin c. 1904, with people lunching on gorgonzola sandwiches and sherry at pubs, people wandering along Sandymount Strand and buying sweets, people going to the turkish bath and buying scented soap.

There is also the unmistakeable tang of the Homeric Aegean. Dublin is near the sea, like Troy, and you don't forget it. Whether wandering the sandy beach, eating headless sardines from a tin, or watching drunken soldiers wandering along the street at night, the sea is never far away.

Don't be put off this book. Wallow away in something that is truly an epic "show about nothing". Speaking of which, what is this book comparable to in the modern world?
§ "Seinfeld", with its excruciating minutiae about life in New York City being raised to the mock-epic level, whether it's George lying about his job or Elaine wondering if a rabbi is gossiping about her.
§ "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", with its exuberant, youthful experimentation with the very bedrock of music albeit with a playful unpretentiousness
§ most oddly, "24", with real time coverage of events in such a way that every single hour has something epic happening in it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A genius, yes, but one I really do not like
Joyce was a great genius, granted, but what he did with his genius is something that doesn't appeal to me. Dangling the snotgreen stuff at the beginning of the book is not what I would call an inviting beginning. Yes, it's a marvel of writing, but I do not like what it is being marvelous about, or at. It's like a beautiful women who farts a lot but doesn't give a damn, because she knows her bosoms are so fetching. Well, fetching bosoms can take a woman only so far, just as fetching writing-- even a genius's writing-- can take a book so far. (IMHO). So yes, I like Joyce's writing's beauty and I like its fetching sensations, but I do not like his artistic manners and I do not like the liberties he takes with my attention-- which he sure knows how to catch, but so what. So can Flaubert (a greater writer, imho), and so can Proust (almost ditto).

With all that out of the way I'll not-grudgingly say you probably have to read Ulysses, because, first, it sits like a dead weight in the midst of modern writing, and, second (if you are a writer), so you could steal some of Joyce's marvelous writing technique. But I would not read him more than once.


5-0 out of 5 stars TheYeats touch
This is the most beautiful book to come out of Ireland in our time.One thinks of Homer.

3-0 out of 5 stars Be careful which edition you buy.
I bought the edition with the Despite it being on the expensive side, I do not think this is a good edition to buy. (I mean the one with the plain white cover with small black text). Be careful, the text chosen in the review is not accurate to this edition - it has no map, etc. I think it is possibly the uncorrected edition which means tons of mistakes that JJ later fixed, if I have it right. Well, 1/3 of the way through it is not too late for me to switch to one of the 'corrected' editions.

There is no publication information in this book.

The novel is great, but just be careful which edition you buy.

2-0 out of 5 stars Imperfect text
I suppose I shouldn't complain much at 95 cents, but the text has a disconcertingly high error rate.There are no italics, verse is not offset, there are scattered typographical errors, and I've found a few instances where stray numbers appear in the text.Also, I'm only three chapters in.

If you are unfamiliar with this book and care about these things, you might want to look elsewhere. ... Read more

4. ULYSSES by James Joyce
by James Joyce
Hardcover: 556 Pages (2009-09-08)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$23.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1604598654
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Ulysses takes place in a single day, 16 June 1904, also known as Bloomsday, it sets the characters and incidents of the Odyssey of Homer in modern Dublin and represents Odysseus (Ulysses), Penelope and Telemachus in the characters of Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, and contrasts them with their lofty models. The book explores various areas of Dublin life, dwelling on its squalor and monotony. Nevertheless, the book is also an affectionately detailed study of the city. In Ulysses, Joyce employs stream of consciousness, parody, jokes, and virtually every other literary technique to present his characters. Many consider it the best novel of the twentieth century. It is powerfully written, a book for the ages. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Worthy Labyrinth
In this book, Joyce continually reminds his readers that this 265,000-word epic utilizing over 30,000 different words is more about his prowess, and sometimes less about your pleasure.

As athletic feat is derived from hours of repetitive drills, so too may this novel's conquest only be enjoyed after years of reading ever improving literature. This is not a book for the amateur. Precisely the opposite, this is a book continually referring to other novels, uses language of greater expanse than most others, and is written in styles which make the complexities vastly increased.

More puzzle maker than novelist, Joyce's decision to write in paradox, paradigm, pun, parody, contrarian, contradiction and more makes the reading experience as complete as one could ask in the English language. The array of writing styles is mesmerizing: simple novel; over 30 pages of newspaper column; a 180-page play; over 70 pages of questions followed by answers; and one final chapter made up of seemingly 30-40 pages in ONE sentence of rambling autobiographical sexual revelation by Molly Bloom - the protagonist's cavorting wife.

The interplay of the styles is extremely brave and enlightening. As they touch upon the same topic, but in different voices and different styles, the reader can further delve into what transpired hundreds of pages before, when the writer intentionally did not reveal it all, and definitely did not reveal it in easily decipherable verse. The interrelation between the texts would allow one to probably read the chapters in different orders and end in the same frame of mind. Nabokov asserted one could do such to his "Lolita." And, Nabokov, creator of "Pale Fire", reminds me so much of Joyce as each toys with and teases the reader with puns, parodies and sometimes outdated jokes.

The main characters, Leopold Bloom and Molly Bloom, are known to even those who have not read the novel. Their mutual philandering is the focus of much of the novel. The exploits of each are relatively revealed. But, not in black and white English. The point is taken, and from this came one great pornography trial which culminated with a 1933 United States District Court decision proclaiming, ". . . the effect of `Ulysses' on the reader undoubtedly is somewhat emetic, nowhere does it tend to be an aphrodisiac."

Such words would not be clearer. "An exquisite dulcet epithalame of most mollification suadency for juveniles amatory whom the odoriferous flambeaus of the paranymphs have escorted to the quadrupedal proscenium of connubial communion." University level English is a prerequisite to understand this alleged smut - or to use Joyce's words: concupiscence delivering induration.

And, most of the book, believe it or not, is not about sexual issues. Much touches upon other topics: philosophy, anti-Semitism, socialism . . . . But it is not always condescending; and it is much more than a 700-800-pages of dialectic prose. Because some of those topics are extremely poignant in 2009, those portions of the book apply to today's themes and can be easily (?) read today. Other topics are not for today's discussion. And, that makes reading those portions very difficult for today's reader.

In all honesty there were times when I read the novel and asked, "what am I missing?" I had to stop and reflect, "Do others really see something that I cannot?" For instance the following passage really lost me: "What do they think when they hear music? Way to catch rattlesnakes. Night Michael Green gave us the box. Tuning up. Shah of Persia liked that best. Remind him of home sweet home. Wiped his nose in curtain too." Do I need recite more? This caught my interest as much as a "White on White" painting at the museum of modern art. "I just don't get it."

And then, later I read the question-answer portion (second to last chapter), and the efficiency and beauty of the writing is both unique and unparalleled. A master of accidence and syntax, the writing is clear and artistic and most importantly - understandable. At the end of that chapter, I could only close the book, lean back and reflect on what I just read, and say one word, "Shazam."

Like climbing a mountain, the trek may be difficult - but at the journey's end, the party who endured the hardship will be rewarded with a lifetime of memories. Because of some bizarre passages of experimental prose and style, I cannot assert this is my favorite book. Not even the top ten for me. But, it is a great book. And, so well worth the read.

Few tips: Read "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man " and maybe the "Dubliners" before this. I would also recommend reading the last two chapters before reading from the beginning. And have a dictionary nearby. You will use it. Trust me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ulysses by James Joyce
I don't feel really worthy to review this book. It's Ulysses. It's the greatest modern novel in the English language. It's a love letter to it and a history of it and has a sick, twisted relationship with it's readers and has actually driven people to a lifetime of studying just a few chapters of it. I know I missed a thousand things in every ten pages I read, and if I went back again, I'd see things completely differently.

And nonetheless, I did read it, and I feel the need to mark that down because it was an accomplishment for me. And it was deeply, deeply beautiful. James Joyce, for all his ornery nature, was capable of prose that will bring tears to your eyes. Perhaps it's about a repulsive subject, or a funny one, but you'll find yourself hugging the book to you as much as throwing it across the room. Or at least, I did.

People often grow attached to particular chapters in this book, since it is so large. It is easier to connect with just one particular vignette of the day. The chapters can largely stand on their own, with some plot threads as background. My personal favorite was "Scylla and Charybdis," based off an episode in the Odyssey where Odysseus has to choose between him and all his crew going down in a black hole in the sea, or a sea monster that will eat most of his crew, but leave Odysseus alive to continue his journey. They spend it in a library, talking about theories of Hamlet and Shakespeare, while one of the main characters (Stephen Daedalus, for those of you who have read Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man) fights with himself inwardly. It's so beautiful, and in a novel of obscurity, introducing Shakespeare was my way of seeing the message.

1-0 out of 5 stars Duplicates others
Typical straight-from-Project-Gutenberg textfile conversion: no ToC, no italics, no chapter breaks. See comparative review here: Ulysses

3-0 out of 5 stars Comparison of Ulysses ebooks
Looking at the sample chapters of the 99c MobileReference edition, I notice an entire missing paragraph (after "and chanted:"). The chapter breaks are poorly formatted, and other typos include a small 'i' for 'I' and a period for a comma.

The $1.29 edition touted as "w/ Active Table of Contents and Chapter Navigation" is blatantly false advertising-- the 18 chapters aren't indicated in any way, just the three 'books'. The indentation of paragraphs is inconsistent. (Why is there no publisher listed?)

The anonymous $3.99 edition (ASIN: B0019NGLNC) has unreadably awful formatting, and no TOC.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful reading experience
One of the drawbacks of reading Ulysses is the size of any printed text.This makes for a wonderful reading experience.The text isn't any less complex or shorter. This is a book that has to be absorbed. I'm starting my 4th reading of the book.This time on my Iphone.This is a massive work, but all I can see at any one time is what is on the screen.This book isn't for everyone. If it is to your taste, it will draw you back over and over again. ... Read more

5. The Portable James Joyce (Portable Library)
by James Joyce
Paperback: 768 Pages (1976-11-18)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$8.48
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Asin: 0140150307
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect, for a Joyce fan who owns Ulysses and Finnegans Wake

This is a very impressive sampling of one of the greatest manipulators of the English language, the member of the great trimverte of modern prose writers, who stands tall with Marcel Proust (1871-1922) and Thomas Mann(1875-1955).

I was very surprised that it not only contains his great collection of short stories which convey a great sense of Dublin, Dubliners (1914), but it has the complete novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). Not only that, it has all the poetry the man ever wrote (or at least all that sees the light in our modern times). AND...if that is not enough for you, it also contains his 1918 play Exiles. It also contains a sampling of his more complicated great stream of consciousness novels from his mature period and they are the great masterpiece of stream of consciousness writing which established it as a modern art form, Ulysses (1922) and the incredible, controversial, mind boggling epic that is Finnegans Wake (1939).
To read the latter is hard and to understand it is just about impossible. Think of it as a final statement of Joyce's art, sort of forging a new language, going beyond the constricing limits of the English Language or, if you're like most of it's "victims," think of it as a prelonged and rediculous practical joke. Whatever you think about this guy, you can't help but remember the writings of James Joyce (1882-1941).

5-0 out of 5 stars A good sample of Joyce
In a way all of Joyce'sthemes are contained in miniature 'Dubliners' and ' Portrait of an Artist'. Both of these are included in this anthology. There are also in the anthology chapters from ' Ulysses' and from ' Finnegan's Wake'. One of the distinguished Joyce scholars of the previous generation Harry Levin writes the introduction. The reader of this volume will get in miniature the collective portrait ofthe city Dublin, the story of the artisticquest of the Joyce alter ego Stephen Daedelaus ( including the renunciation of church, homeland, and family) the attempt to transform all of life and history into a new language which the reader is required to read ' all the years of the nights of his life'. The vast Joycean ambition and enterprise, the magical lyrical verbal art, the maker - remaker - creator the giant of twentieth century and world literature is the lyrical taddycarrying us along to one of the most brilliant of all literary toy fairs.
Enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Laptop Joyce
Laptop Joyce

This is an admirable effort that includes all of "Dubliners," "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," the play "Exiles," a collection of poems, including "Chamber Music" and "Pomes Penyeach," five chapters from "Ulysses," and three from Finnegan's Wake. The entire volume is introduced briefly (16 pages); each major work has a short preface as well. Not surprisingly, such brevity omits the many interpretations of Joyce's works, and much background material.But this is a good get-your-feet-wet volume: An introduction to the major themes and styles of Joyce that can be approached by readers of varying experience.

"Dubliners" is easily comprehended at first reading (although the reader may choose to pursue its many layers by reading books that focus on interpretation), and may encourage the extra effort (and resulting pleasures) sometimes required for the other material.The inclusion of a few chapters from "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake" afford a sampling of the author's more "difficult" books.I don't think the reader will come away with an appreciation of the total book (how could one?), but will gain some familiarity with Joyce's more complex works.

Should you buy this compact, thick, version, or the works individually?I think there are two groups to whom the book will appeal: The reader who wants a fairly comprehensive introduction to Joyce, and the Joyce-fan who knows he or she would like a portable collection. Both types will forfeit some ease of reading (the print is small, but surprisingly clear), the complete text of the longer books, and literary "decoding" and criticism for the convenience and savings of one volume.For these readers, this volume is highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars For a little more money, get a lot more JOYCE!
I was out on a shopping venture intending to buy a copy of Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" when I stumbled on to this Joyce volume.For only $4 more, this is well worth it.Not only does thisinclude "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", but it alsoincludes Joyce's revolutionary short story collection,"Dubliners".Levin also includes samples of other Joyce writingsincluding pieces of "Ulysses" and "Finnegans Wake". The writings of Joyce speak for themselves; therefore, anyone serious aboutliterature already knows they should read Joyce.Since it is not necessaryto tell the literary public to read Joyce, I just wanted everyone to knowthat this volume contains a lot more Joyce for not too much more money.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic collection of Joyce's major works
Within the pages of the Portable James Joyce the reader will find two of the greatest works of all time, his Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.Additionally, Levin has included exerts from Joycs's epicstream of consciousness works, Ulyssis and Finnegan's Wake.But what Ifound the most pleasant was the inclusion of some of Joyce's lesseracclaimed poetry, including Chamber Music and his three act play Exiles. Harry Levin has strung together all of what has made Joyce the worldsprominent literary artist while also providing for alternative perspectivesof his voice and genius.Truly a must for any Joycean and students of thewriten word. ... Read more

6. The Dead
by James Joyce
Paperback: 80 Pages (2008-10-17)
list price: US$7.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
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Asin: 0979660793
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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“The Dead is one of the twentieth century’s most beautiful pieces of short literature. Taking his inspiration from a family gathering held every year on the Feast of the Epiphany, Joyce pens a story about a married couple attending a Christmas-season party at the house of the husband’s two elderly aunts. A shocking confession made by the husband’s wife toward the end of the story showcases the power of Joyce’s greatest innovation: the epiphany, that moment when everything, for character and reader alike, is suddenly clear. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Complex college course book.
Talk about a hard read, this book is not for the literary amateur or someone looking for a fast paced and exciting read. Although it is rich with descriptions and definitely one of Joyce's better works, the story itself is tedious and hard to follow. The actual physical book quality was standard and the price is decent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wrong date in description
The description says that the events of "The Dead" took place on New Year's Eve.They did not: the most likely date for the events (I'll spare you all the reasons and details) is the evening of January 6th, also know as "the Feast of the Epiphany."

This review was written for the Setlock spoken word recording entitled the Dead but which also includes Ivy Day in the Committee Room.

Unfortunately amazon tends to reprint reviews for items of equal title, even across formats. Please do a search of The Dead, with commuter's library in the parameter and you will discover the correct item and an excellent unabridged recording of the Dead which you may soon grow to love and appreciate.

I have several different recordings of these stories, none done better than Setlock.

Ivy Day is my favorite tale for its complexity of "dialogue" (really octologue) which Setlock skillfully and subtly and in a lowered key relates. I have heard more dramatized and individualized readings, but Setlock gives a proper subdued, not quite melancholic tone, with quiet respectful humor, like a dear friend telling an ancient great tale at an old firplace while seated upon comfortable chairs before a gentle turf fire with adequate and appropriate beverage of an evening.

Ivy Day from Dubliners is truly a great story which stands up to multiple listenings, even after the initial jokes grow familiar ("and be glad he has a country to sell!"). Like rereading Ulysses several times, one's understanding and appreciation of the profounder universal themes only grows more acute upon each listening.

In fact I find in the profundity and conversational conflicts of Ivy Day the germ of the technical skills Joyce required to write the multiple conversations in the Cyclops and the newspaper office episodes (the latter I will not risk mispelling here).

The grace and gentle approach of Setlock bears up even under repeated and constant listening. I only wish these were transferred to CD before my tapes run out!

Joyce is made to be heard, not read. Hear him truly here.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Evocative Christmas Evening
Set in early 20th century Dublin this short story was the last in a collection called The Dubliners by native son, James Joyce.Despite the mournful title there is no murder nor mysterious death involved in this seemingly simple piece, set in an old-fashioned Society home during the Christmas season.Instead this proves an introspective tale from the viewpoint of middle-aged Gabriel, favorite nephew of his respected aunts who host an annual dinner party.The role of music and performers is debated among their many lively guests.

Gabriel's required speech during dinner praises the Irish tradition of warm hospitality.But something causes his wife, Gretta, to hark back to her girlhood and her first love--whose poignant memory threatens his plans for connubial bliss in their hotel room.Delicate as the snowflakes which blot out the city landscape, barely plotted with delicious hints of unexpressed emotion, The Dead transports readers to a different gas-lit age, where beauty and grace are subtly exhibited and passionately sought after.Joyce reminds us that music possesses the power to evoke the past and serve as a catalyst both for pain and pleasure.This may be read in one sitting, but don't miss the author's other reminiscences.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful Case Study Collection of Literary Masterpiece
I've found this to be the most useful of all the "case study" texts I've tried from both St. Martin's/Bedford and Norton.The primary text is sufficiently contained and the representative critical methodologies presented clearly enough to introduce students to both literature and literary theory without overwhelming them.Moreover, "The Dead" is capable of repaying the close and observant reader with a Joycean "epiphany" perhaps not surpassed by any other literary text (the last several paragraphs, especially, require attention to the developing, altering meanings of each and every word).

I have one caveat: the essay representing feminist criticism I frankly find baffling.The writer, apparently trying to have her cake and eat it too, manages to indict Joyce as a sexist while applauding the story as a critique of sexism and patriarchal hegemony!It does not "seem" to occur to her that Joyce may be removed from his central character, Gabriel, or that her evidence for Gabriel's male arrogance may actually be Joyce's idea from the start.A close reading of the character certainly suggests an ironic portrayal--everything that appears to be in Gabriel's favor is exposed through Joyce's subtle language as self-delusion.The feminist critic, however, impugns Joyce by suggesting that his "intentions" are less honorable than the meaning of the text itself!

Perhaps the writer is overstating a point in order to provide a better example of the type of critical approach she was asked to represent for the purposes of this anthology. I know that I will suggest as much should I again have occasion to use this particular essay. ... Read more

7. James Joyce (Oxford Lives)
by Richard Ellmann
Paperback: 887 Pages (1983-10-20)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$15.00
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Asin: 0195033817
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Richard Ellmann has revised and expanded his definitive work on Joyce's life to include newly discovered primary material, including details of a failed love affair, a limerick about Samuel Beckett, a dream notebook, previously unknown letters, and much more.Amazon.com Review
Although several biographers have thrown themselves into the breach since this magisterial book first appeared in 1959, none have come close to matching the late Richard Ellmann's achievement. To be fair, Ellmann does have some distinct advantages. For starters, there's his deep mastery of the Irish milieu--demonstrated not only in this volume but in his books on Yeats and Wilde. He's also an admirable stylist himself--graceful, witty, and happily unintimidated by his brilliant subjects. But in addition, Ellmann seems to have an uncanny grasp on Joyce's personality: his reverence for the Irishman's literary accomplishment is always balanced by a kind of bemused affection for his faults. Whether Joyce is putting the finishing touches on Ulysses, falling down drunk in the streets of Trieste, or talking dirty to his future wife via the postal service, Ellmann's account always shows us a genius and a human being--a daunting enough task for a fiction writer, let alone the poor, fact-fettered biographer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best literary biographies ever written
Not only is this a great biography of Joyce (as the many other reviewers point out), but it stands as one of the best literary biographies ever written in English. I've read dozens of bios of authors, and this one stands well above all the others (with Robert Richardson's bios of Emerson, Thoreau and William James close behind).

The only thing, though, is that this biography is so good that no one is writing a new one. As this book is 50 years old (yes, it was updated in 1982, but I don't think much was changed), a lot more is known about Joyce than when this was written. While this has the advantage of being written close to Joyce's time, it is time now for someone to step in and write on that takes into account new discoveries and new information that Ellmann didn't have. In the meantime, however, even if you're not a fan of Joyce, or if you don't like biographies, do read this. It reads like a novel, and is hard to put down.

5-0 out of 5 stars James Joyce comes alive
Biographies frequently fail to convey the personality of their subject but not this one.James Joyce jumps off the page in all his vainglorious, self-centered, generous, mooching, fearful and beyond brilliant glory.

Richard Ellman is particularly good at giving us an unvarnished Joyceand neither lionizes or demonizes him.Ellman lets him simply exist with all his varied moods, opinions and behaviors.The lesson here is that a biographer doesn't need to editorialize about a subject's life but simply bring to the reader evidence of the person's varied nature.

I can't say enough about the power, subtlety and elegance of Ellman's prose.Every sentence is engagingly written, telling us something important to Joyce's life, work, millieu without calling attention to itself or Ellman's bias.If there is a bias to the book it is that Joyce's work is his life and his life is his work.

The only Joyce I've read is "Ulysses" and I found Ellman particularly good at showing how so much of that book come out of Joyce's life and not his imagination.The book gave me the insight that a great work can come from one who has no idea how to create an alternative world but who does know how to take the stuff of their life and re-imagine as something completely new.

My only criticism is that the creative process so well described with "Ulysses" didn't come across as well for "Finegans Wake."But that might be me, having not read the later book, I was unable to connect with his discussions about Joyce and that book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest book on Joyce's life and writings
This ia a "must-have" book for any Joyce lover. The book goes into every relevant detail of Joyce's life and to my taste is written in an incredibly vivid style. Many aspects of Finnegans Wake become clearer once you get to know about how it was being created and especially once you get to understand a bit what Joyce himself was like. Amusing meetings with Proust and Gertrude Stein are also inside there...
Another great feauture of this edition are numerous photografs.
Anthony Burgess called this "The greatest literary biography of the century" and Tom Stoppard got so inspired that he wrote "Tarvesti", while reading this book.
To put it short - GREAT BOOK on a GREAT MAN.

5-0 out of 5 stars Groovy chronicle of an eccentric and groovy cat
Puts all of his work into a far more enlightening context. When most scholars are reading Joyce for the interplay of signs and signifiers and deeper questions about what can and can't be said in words, Ellmann returns us to the days when Cyclops was written because he though Michael Cusack was absurd and Penelope was a homage to his wife (as was all of Ulysses). There's something very endearing about this book and, like Bloom himself, incredibly humaine.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Extraordinary
I just cannot praise this book enough. Ellman's biography of Joyce is amazing, bewildering, daunting (at least in its length) and wonderful -- not coincidently, just like James Joyce. One caveat: I imagine a reader might be quite confused if s/he read this before reading any of Joyce's major works (Ulysses or Finnegans Wake). I am kicking myself that I didn't read this biography years ago! Truly a marvelous work -- and a must for readers of Joyce. ... Read more

8. James Joyce's Ulysses:A Study
by Stuart Gilbert
Mass Market Paperback: 448 Pages (1987-01-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394700139
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With the passing of each year, Ulysses receives wider recognition and greater acclaim as a modern literary classic. To comprehend Joyce's masterpiece fully, to gain insight into its significance and structure, the serious reader will find this analytical and systematic guide invaluable. In this exegesis, written under Joyce's supervision, Stuart Gilbert presents a work that is at once scholarly, authoritative and stimulating. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

2-0 out of 5 stars very happy with Stuart Gilbert 's book!
This book has been very useful to understand James Joyce masterpiece, "Ulysses":the main interest of the book is a very thorough analysis of Joyce style, and detailed explanations about the connections of the novel with the last studies about the "Ulysses" of Homer.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not the actual novel
I bought this thinking it was the actual novel, not a study.Admittedly, simple ignorance that I did not read the description more thoroughly, but still I am not happy that the Amazon title at the top of the page says "James Joyce's Ulysses" without a mention that it is "A Study by Stuart Gilbert."

4-0 out of 5 stars Service and valuable.
Quick shipping and book condition very good.This work is dated from 50's, but author had met Joyce.I couldn't make one more stab at Ulysses w/o this book's guidance:background, interpretation.

4-0 out of 5 stars Works if given a chance
Four stars, not five, if only because I do agree somewhat that this study can be as complex as the novel itself. I think that the reason for this is that Joyce's work is, indeed, so rich and allusory that a full-length treatment like this is demanded. Ulysses is to the novel what Jorge Borges's short stories are to that literary art form.

By the way, 12 years ago I took a college course on Joyce and spent seven weeks of the twelve-week semester on Ulysses alone. Believe me, that wasn't nearly enough time. Yet, the presense of a knowledgeable mentor was invaluable in understanding this wonderful novel.

Stuart is the next best thing to having such a person nearby, but be forewarned--you will still need all of your analytical skills. Ulysses is a complete education, and as such entails a lifetime journey.

3-0 out of 5 stars I hope there's better out there
I am reading Ulysses for the first time, and, yes, this book helps tremendously in understanding Ulysses.I'd be lost without it much of the time.BUT it's not a wonderful book.Gilbert quotes extensively from Ulysses -- for those people who don't actually want to read Ulysses, he says in the intro. -- but doesn't bother to translate quotes that are in French or Latin or Greek.The quotes from Ulysses often aren't introduced or explained well -- there just there.In fact, most quotes, from Joyce or from other sources, aren't well explained -- some chapters seem to have none of his own words, just quote after quote -- and because of that, I certainly wouldn't call this book a "good" text.Certainly, it is useful, and I don't regret the time spent reading it, but I am sure that there are more-accessible studies out there. ... Read more

9. Dubliners (Norton Critical Edition)
by James Joyce
Paperback: 412 Pages (2006-01-23)
-- used & new: US$7.85
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Asin: 0393978516
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Dubliners is arguably the best-known and mostinfluential collection of short stories writtenin English, and has been since its publicationin 1914.Through what Joyce described as their"style of scrupulous meanness," thestories present a direct, sometimes searing view of Dublin in the early twentieth century. Thetext of this Norton Critical Edition is based on renowned Joyce scholar Hans Walter Gabler’sedited text and includes his editorial notes and the introduction to his scholarly edition, whichdetails and discusses Dubliners’ complicatedpublication history."Contexts"offers a rich collection of materials that bring the stories and the Irish capital to life fortwenty-first century readers, includingphotographs, newspaper articles and advertising, early versions of two of the stories, and asatirical poem by Joyce about his publicationwoes."Criticism" brings togethereight illuminating essays on the most frequently taught stories in Dubliners—"Araby,""Eveline," "After the Race," "The Boarding House,""Counterpoints," "A PainfulCase," and "The Dead."Contributors include David G. Wright, HeywardEhrlich, Margot Norris, James Fairhall, FritzSenn, Morris Beja, Roberta Jackson, and Vincent J. Cheng. 8 maps; 20 illustrations ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars "a collection of short stories" or a single coherent masterpiece?
When I read and reread Joyce, I feel like I can come back to it a million times plus one and still find something new and enriching in it. Using "Two Sisters" as an example, this chapter signifies so much more than simply the death of a priest, but hints at corruption, staleness, and essentially, a metaphoric death of the Church, in Joyce's opinion. Or how about Mrs. Mooney as "The Madam," associating her dealings with her daughter in "The Boarding House" to a brothel. Powerful.

Dubliners is truly an amazing collection of short stories. The book follows the lives of various persons living in Dublin, Ireland (hence "Dubliners") around the turn of the century. For instance, it opens with two nuns mourning the death of a priest in "Two Sisters." As usual, symbolism is huge in this Joyce work--whether by choice of names or recurring images--and contributes an unparalleled richness to the overall text.

And yet, the description of "a collection of short stories" seems utterly inadequate for such a coherent and interconnected piece.

If you're interested in finding more excellent read, please check out my blog: ReaABookReview DOT Blogspot DOT com
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5-0 out of 5 stars his earliest, my favorite Joyce
I love this book:the stories are succinct, clearly written, and moving.I also found the characters much more approachable and less high-fallutin artistic than the later novels.Perhaps this marks me as a mediocre aesthete, but that is what I felt.

Despite their simplicity, the stories are extremely textured.You get an idea of what it was like to live in Dublin when it was poor and what the people were like.It simply isn't about some weird self-important artist with a lust for personal power, whose concerns are so obscurely out of this world.You get lonely people who recognize their situation by their failure to help another who would have loved them; politicians lamenting the past choices; and a middle-aged man realizing he is shallow when confronted with the memory of his wife's first love (The Dead, which is surely one of the greatest short stories I have ever read).

These stories are so rich that I have read them many times, always seeing more.It is very fun to get a new edition that is supposed to be the way Joyce wanted them, which inspired me to read them yet again.Warmly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Personal Favorite
Generally speaking, I don't particularly care to discuss superlatives, but I must say that this [Dubliners - James Joyce] is perhaps my favorite book(even more probable: my favorite collection of short stories). I thought that I had a decent understanding of the stories after simply reading (and re-reading) a Vintage Trade Paperback edition, but I must say that the extra materials provided here are absolutely illuminating. I won't get into the facts one can simply overlook, but I will say that most of the essays are wonderfully written and brilliantly thought-provoking. The footnotes will come in handy for anyone who is not Catholic and anyone who does not know much about the currency values and gradations in Ireland. The annotations and critical writings will allow almost anyone to develop an understanding of Joyce's prose, which is doubtless some of the most beautiful prose in history.
As most people say, this is Joyce's most readable work. This is an undeniable fact, though to anyone who has enjoyed it, I would recommend taking the next step into "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."

5-0 out of 5 stars college textbook
This book was ordered for a college course.It was cheaper than the bookstore price and arrived in excellent condition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic
What can I say? This classical work is very accessible and I recommend it if you liked 'A Portrait'.
It is written so that you can almost touch, smell, hear the disconcerting atmosphere lingering in every corner of Dublin's houses. ... Read more

10. Ulysses
by James Joyce
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-04)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002RKT6QK
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Missing the Ballad of Joking Jesus
The eBook is missing text. I also have a print edition, but I wanted a copy I could read on my phone when i had the time. The part I noticed is missing is the Ballad of Joking Jesus. It's probably missing other text as well.

1-0 out of 5 stars Missing pieces of text
I picked this up for a group read of Ulysses. I figured it would be convenient to have it on the computer so I could look up all the references I didn't understand, and the price was certainly right. Unfortunately, as I came to realize, this edition of the book is missing pieces of text. I probably wouldn't have noticed this, except that when I googled one of the references that I didn't get, I came up with a preview of a book called Ulysses Annotated, which describes in detail the meaning of all the references. As I read, I noticed that in several places there were references noted that I hadn't seen in the text. Finally, I got annoyed and googled the exact line that preceded an area of missing text, and found that some lines of verse had been omitted from my edition of the book. It's a shame, since I was enjoying the clear formatting and the ease of use that the Kindle edition was giving me, but since it's not really a book that I want to spend money on, I guess I'll be giving Project Gutenberg's version a try. ... Read more

11. Finnegans Wake (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
by James Joyce
Paperback: 672 Pages (1999-12-01)
list price: US$21.00 -- used & new: US$11.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141181265
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Follows a man's thoughts and dreams during a single night. It is also a book that participates in the re-reading of Irish history that was part of the revival of the early 20th century. The author also wrote "Ulysses", "Dubliners" and "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (212)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wipe Your Own Glosses
Virtually any prep you are given for Finnegans Wake amounts to this: misdirection. Sometimes, the pretentious will tell you that you need decades of study before even glancing at the first page of text, or times, it's the assertion that a dry gloss of wounded-hand heroes and other Joseph Campbell-style tropes of myth are the required lens; that the sexuality, humor, and apparent spontaneity are all illusory because this is a serious book. Of course, it is a serious book, because sex, jokes, and the moment are all serious things. Serious enough for great consideration and extended rumination, serious enough to include one truly tragic and one genuinely funny moment per page, at a minimum. But, never so serious the ribald excitement, the childish humor, the elegant puns or pretty wrecks should be locked up and kept from everyone.

One strain of Finnegans Wake's story is just that, the locking up for fantastic elements of our everyday wonderful existence, ostensibly because we aren't educated enough, serious enough, or blessed enough to have and appreciate nice things like that, and throwing away the key into a fastrunning stream of rhetoric. But the rest of the Wake is set in opposition to that strain, makes a mockery of those empty stabs at repression, those silly trite bouts of selfish self-congratulatory elitism pretending to be knowing concern. Finnegans Wake has little need to obfuscate for any reason but to entice, as a beautiful scene beyond a parting veil or a what-the-butler-saw peep machine. It makes a burlesque of life, and teases away while giving forth just as that, but it is not malicious in its restraint or its flourishes; it wants us to come along!

Foremost, Finnegans Wake is fun and wants us to have fun. Anyone tells you different, is lying or misguided. Lilting leaning longing lunging lusting and lasting, the Wake wants us all along. It wants us to keep up. I say it, because it does escape the commands of authors and the demands of readers. The book lives extant, it reacts to us as we react to it, and its self-reflexive nature allow the read of the book, the text(s) and the gloss(es) to grow and change as we grow and change, as the world, its history present and future change.

You understand Finnegans Wake. Go in knowing that and let no one convince you otherwise. What you understand, reading it, may not be what someone else understands, but neither need by incorrect or immature. You understand Finnegans Wake. It may fall on you as a happy wreck's debris hits the street or is sucked out to see, it might rule over you as queenly puns or prestigious parents, but parents are always progeny, too, queens are moved about quite easily when you are playing the right games, salvage has charms to muse as sooth (or something similarly reaching).

The book is about a mountain and a river and as anyone who has played king of the mountain or water games knows, if you take the games too seriously, the conquest as more important than the play, you probably end up having a miserable time every moment you aren't on top. Give up the conquest and go for the play! Jump in, splash about, climb to see what you can where you can, and to jump that much further and make that much bigger a splash when down you crash! And ignore anyone who tells you, you can't backstroke along a mountain or climb up water; "Any landing you walk away from," they say, "is a good one," and that includes the landing at the top of the stairs, the height where you're king of the hill, or the muddle of the river rushes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Influenced Ashbey, Lennon, rock in general
John Lennon put out a book while the Beatles were still together, titled IN HIS OWN WRITE. That title is a Joycean pun (it's even "bad" and ungrammatical in the way of Joyce's puns) and the entire book and its sequel is written in the manner of FINNEGANS WAKE, slightly simplified (fewer foreign words).

John Ashbery also writes in a simplified form of FINNEGANS WAKE's style, and some people think he is the greatest living American poet.

Thornton Wilder based his 1942 Broadway play THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH on WAKE, and was "found out" by Joseph Campbell and by Edmund Wilson.

There are several other writers who have been influenced by WAKE in this way, including several hit rock lyrics. Lennon's book was not only popular among Beatles fans, it demonstrated to lots of them how Lennon was a very special and intelligent writer -- yet he couldn't have written it without the example of Joyce behind him.

All this is no particular reason to think WAKE is good or great. But it did create a new way of writing, and that new way has led to success for other writers beside Joyce. That in itself suggests that WAKE is an important book. It can also be thought of as a "failure" or a "mistake." Even so, with that kind of influence, it would still be important.

Of course it didn't spring up out of nowhere: the Humpty Dumpty chapter in THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS covers a lot of its techniques. And there's a lot of writing from the nonsense writers of the nineteenth century that is (deliberately) harder to understand than WAKE, or even impossible to understand, because the authors wanted it that way. Those writings were also popular and influential. Some people enjoy nonsense. And of course language specialists study nonsense, because it shows how complicated language can get and still be interesting (and worth the price of a book) to some people.

Joyce was a very thorough comic craftsman and he had a lot of fun with his works. He is not part of a conspiracy and readers like John Lennon liked him from Day One. The negative reviewers on this site honest to goodness don't get it.

1-0 out of 5 stars OMG GREATEST BOOK OF ALL TIME!!!
I can't understand why this book wasn't rated the greatest novel of the 20th century!My God!I read this book every night before I go to bed.The words flow easily across the page, and the characters are incredibly rich in development!The story itself is so engaging that whenever I read it, my hands literally begin to tremble in anticipation of what is going to happen next!Here is an excerpt from the book and one of the more famous passages from this MASTERPIECE OF MODERN LITERATURE!

"Orkman ribpop easily cross arrows.Flaunting wissam on narrow shoulders opens me. opens me. Pilly saw Roman do the tiger on ruskpappy for Flynn.Squiggles on canvas slapped brightly on Easter fippoon aiktart.Common man sees field sorry fart on apple."

How can you not enjoy such an illuminating example of prose?Of course this is only one of the many BRILLIANT passages found within this CLASSIC novel!I could give you some more examples which show the GREATNESS of Joyce's pen; however, I seriously believe you should invest wisely by purchasing your own edition of this GARGANTUAN work!I assure you that you will not be disappointed!Happy squiggles!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Why this is a work of genius
Finnegans wake is a written out dream. It took 17 years to write, it was a labor of love. Upon release it polarized critics, with its sampling of 60-70 different languages, its use of multi-lingual puns, portmanteaus, it reads more like a word puzzle than a book. It has no discernible plot upon first inspection. The first sentence is the middle of the last sentence making it an endless cycle, and upon first read it looks like a load gibberish. And you friend reader may wonder why one would read such a work? Simply put: It is one of the most brilliant works of the 20th century (or any time for that matter). Here is the reason why. It is highly inter-textual, upon closer inspection you can see the level of detail Joyce put into this work. Every page is layered with meaning upon meaning upon further meaning. If you calculate it, 17 years, 628 pages, thats about a sentence or a little more a day. With that said. How can anyone say (like these many one star reviews) that it is just gibberish. if someone wrote that little a day, it should be apparent that this is the exact opposite of gibberish. Gibberish is to imply that it is nonsense and lacks meaning altogether. This couldn't be farther from the truth with this work. Each word or group of words or sentence is so packed with meaning that one could spend a week analyzing one page. That is the complete opposite of gibberish in my opinion. but also, this work is a hilarious tome of comedy and beauty. its use of language can make you laugh on every single page. but I digress. this work as previously stated is a work of genius and there is the reasoning. (i'm also fairly sure it is a microcosm of the universe which contains the meaning of life and other things).

5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Wake
This is an abridged reading (about 1/4 of the orginal) of a very long book that is probably the most notoriously difficult thing to read in literature.This may be the best way to taste the waters.

It is often said that you must hear the text in the spoken "oirish" to appreciate the music of the words.Well here you have two Irish actors very experienced in dramatic readings of Joyce.

The set includes a 110 page booklet with the text of what is read out.Thus you can follow and listen simultaneously, and this may prove your key to understanding just what the book is really all about.If you are at all curious you should give it a try.

A note of clarification:This set released in 2009 is marked as the "70th Anniversary Edition", the book having first been published in 1939, but this set is in fact a re-release of a recording made by Naxos in the 1990s and re-released once before in 2003. ... Read more

12. James Joyce A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Writings (Literary a to Z's)
by A. Nicholas Fargnoli, Michael Patrick Gillespie
Paperback: 320 Pages (1996-11-21)
list price: US$39.99 -- used & new: US$18.77
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Asin: 0195110293
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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These encyclopedic companions are browsable, invaluable individual guides to authors and their works. Useful for students, but written with the general reader in mind, they are clear, concise, accessible, and supply the basic cultural, historical, biographical and critical information so crucial to an appreciation and enjoyment of the primary works. Each is arranged in an A-Z fashion and presents and explains the terms, people, places, and concepts encountered in the literary worlds of James Joyce, Mark Twain, and Virginia Woolf.

As a keen explorer of the mundane material of everyday life, James Joyce ranks high in the canon of modernist writers. He is arguably the most influential writer of the twentieth-century, and may be the most read, studied, and taught of all modern writers. The James Joyce A-Z is the ideal companion to Joyce's life and work. Over 800 concise entries relating to all aspects of Joyce are gathered here in one easy-to-use volume of impressive scope. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wide-ranging, well-written browsing material!
Presents, in alphabetical order, brief (one paragraph to about 2 pages)synopses and explanations of people, places, themes, and phrases formseveral of Joyce's works, including his major novels and his poetry. Wonderful as either a tool for decoding Joyce, or as "skimming material." It's a treat to just wander through these pages, seeing explanations for`Finnegan' across from those for "Dubliners," a biography of T.S. Eliot onepage after a description of the fictional "Earwicker."

Includes over 800entries, illustrations, synopses of books and chapters, biographies ofJoyce and his contemporaries, bibliography, a very useful index, as well asthe text of Jude Woolsey's ruling to lift the ban on "Ulysses." The writingis clear, wide-ranging, and complete without bogging the reader down inminutiae. Not as thorough as the encyclopedic "Ulysses Annotated," but veryuseful in disentangling Joyce and his works without great effort! Writtenby a Professor of Theology and English at Molloy College (and vicepresident of the James Joyce Society), and a professor of English atMarquette University.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tons of fascinating information, plus guide to Ulysses!

Elvis, the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe have received the A to Ztreatment in which every aspect of their lives and works have beenreordered alphabetically, so it was only a matter of time that the maniawould spread to lesser figures in our popular culture, in this case MarkTwain, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.

This series of three books,originally published by Facts On File and now updated and reprinted byOxford University Press, combines facts culled from the writers' lives andworks, shakes them up thoroughly, and recasts them into easily locatableentries. The result is an addictive pleasure, a page-turning odyessy foranyone interested in learning more about their favorite writer.

At 304pages, the Joyce volume is the smallest of the trio, but what it lacks insize it more than makes up by offering extensive commentaries on"Ulysses" and "Finnegans Wake." Those who have tried toread these modernist (or post-modernist, the argument still rages) classicshave quickly recognized the need for assistance. For "Ulysses,"the Joyce volume reprints Joyce's chart that lists each chapter's timeframe, location, symbols, technics, organs, art and correspondences to theoriginal. Each chapter is given its own entry, which describes the action,Joyce's intentions, and clairifies points of Dublin's history. As one whoattempted "Ulysses" solo, and suffered for his sin, I can speakwith authority that this volume would have saved me a great deal of agony.I only wish they had abandoned their schema and combined the chapterdescriptions into a single, lengthy appendix.

No detail is too small toescape the editors. There are also entries on Gustave Flaubert, aninfluence on Joyce's writing style; Throwaway, the race horse whose victoryin the Ascot Gold Cup figures in "Ulysses," and the Volta Cinema,Dublin's first movie theater, which Joyce helped to open.

In short,this guide can help the Joyce reader move through the complexities of hiswork without feeling like you've earned a Ph.D in comparative literaturewhile you're doing so.

5-0 out of 5 stars A to Z and then some!
This is an outstanding reference for readers ranging from those havingcasual interest to serious Joyceans. All of Joyce's works are covered insome depth and the material on Ulysses and Finnegans Wake is fantastic. Itincludes chapter outlines and summaries. The book is also very good atproviding concise summaries of people, places and things in or connected toJoyce's work. I wish I had discovered this book much earlier in my academiccareer. ... Read more

13. Index of Recurrent Elements in James Joyce's Ulysses
by William M. Schutte
Hardcover: 440 Pages (1982-02-01)
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Asin: 0809310678
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A reference tool designed for two distinct audiences: those who, having read Ulysses once, want to explore the complicated web of allusions that form a major element in the text; those more experienced Joyce scholars who wish to locate quickly all allusions to a particular element.


The Index is organized by page and line number from the 1961 Random House edi­tion of Ulysses. When readers find the name “Bob Doran” in that edition, for example, they can check the Index for all further ref­erences to Doran. Almost 100 pages later in Ulysses (167.29) Doran appears again. Here, as in all subsequent references to Doran, the In­dex refers readers back to 74.01.


Scholars tracing image patterns or check­ing the recurrence of certain elements for any reason will find this book immensely useful: through the alphabetical index at the end they will be able to locate easily any re­current element in which they have a partic­ular interest. No longer will they have to hunt through 800 pages to find each refer­ence to whatever interests them.


In working with the Index, scholars using British editions or the 1834 Random House Ulysses may want to consult a conversion table, such as those provided by Clive Hart or Leo Knuth in Topographical Guide to James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and The James Joyce Dictionary by Shari and Bernard Benstock.

... Read more

14. James Joyce and the Difference of Language
Paperback: 248 Pages (2007-04-30)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$41.63
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Asin: 0521036593
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This collection of essays offers an original look at Joyce's writing by placing his language at the intersection of various critical perspectives: linguistics, philosophy, feminism, psychoanalysis, postcolonialism and intertextuality. Combining detailed textual analysis and theoretically informed study, an international team of leading scholars explores how Joyce's experiments with language repeatedly challenge our ways of reading. Drawing on current debates in Joyce scholarship, literary studies and critical theory, this volume comprehensively examines the critical diversity of Joyce's use of language. ... Read more

15. The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
Hardcover: 312 Pages (2004-07-05)
list price: US$93.00 -- used & new: US$75.90
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Asin: 0521837103
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Including several new and revised essays, reflecting increasing emphasis on Joyce's politics, this Companion focuses on the importance of his engagement with Ireland, and the changes wrought by gender studies on criticism of his work. The second edition features essays by an international team of leading scholars geared to provoking thought and discussion. Supplementary reading lists and an extended bibliography will offer readers the necessary tools for additional informed exploration of Joyce.First Edition Hb (1990): 0-521-33014-9First Edition Pb (1990): 0-521-37673-4 ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Broad review
A broad, interesting critque, which as a beginner to Joyce's works, I found extremely helpful.

4-0 out of 5 stars A thread for entering the labyrinth: 3.5 stars
This second edition (2006) adds essays by Garry Leonard on "Dubliners," Joseph Valente on sexuality, Jennifer Wicke on consumer culture, and colonialism & nationalism by Marjorie Howes. The others mostly carry over, with minimal revision if lightly updated bibliographies, from the 1990 book. The earlier essays often are barely revised, however; Seamus Deane manages to have his earlier, then-innovative "Joyce the Irishman" essay offer no bibliography with any works later than his own 1987 book. Deane fails to revise what could have been a widely read entry for a new generation of readers and critics following the scholarship that he and his colleagues in the 1980s had pioneered. Deane offers no new thoughts on Joyce to the considerable and innovative criticism of the past fifteen years, somewhat disappointingly. The post Field Day surge in critical debate in Irish Studies seems ignored.

Christopher Butler gives you a lot on modernist counterparts to Joyce but less of Joyce himself within this daunting context. Joseph Valente manages to make a solid point about how Joyce took on all of sexuality as if it transgressed the norm in the Irish Catholic ethos gone haywire, as if universally any sexual manifestation was tainted by its very existence. Unfortunately, from this enticing observation the essay descends into jargon that vitiates the juice out of this potentially engrossing topic.

The heavy hand of the academic interpreter does weigh down many of these essays, new and old; too fusty and theory-bound, they reflect not only the potential of younger Joyceans to suggest fresh readings but the tendency of the recent scholars minted and tenured to fall back into dense, dull, and deadly polemics that drain the vigor out of the texts they analyze. The enlightened non-professoriate for which Joyce also sought to write here lacks its contribution. The Joycean industry churns on, its own productions as the books listed at the back ironically notes-- none of the secondary listings annotated are judged as essential!

Therefore, given that they are the results of devoted toilers on the Joyce assembly line, the essays vary in quality. This was in 1990 the first "modern" Companion to follow only Shakespeare & Chaucer. Now, there are dozens, and no professor let alone educated reader can keep up with even one author or genre among those Cambridge carries. The recommended reading should guide you to the best of the past few years that's been published, nonetheless. But few of these books (however necessary are guides to Ulysses and the Wake) will provide the verve of the original texts. Also, the excitement I recall that linked all of those in the Joseph Conrad Companion is here vitiated by the combination of more mundane lit-crit merged with au courant theory and polysyllabic verbiage that has made the Beckett, Irish Drama, and Irish Poetry Companions more plodding in parts.

But, the best essays here deserve singling out. I rounded this up from 3 to 4, more or less, based on four or five entries whose strengths overshadow most of their competing peers. Editor Derek Attridge's encouragement in "Reading Joyce" reminds us of the multiple possibilities latent and apparent in the texts that have taught us how to understand modernism even if we have had little exposure to Joyce! His few pages should be required reading for anyone encountering the author for the first or fiftieth time. Garry Leonard's "Dubliners" chapter makes me want to read the professor's other works, for he reminds us of the care with which Joyce crafted his stories, and how much a few sentences from "Clay" can serve to illustrate the manner in which we can unlock the treasure of these enigmatic, pared-down, and endlessly suggestive tales. Similarly, Jennifer Levine beckons the nervous neophyte into the mysteries of "Ulysses" in a way that reassures the reader of the vastness of the novel, yet also grounds the ambitious narrative within a humanist, approachable, and sensible grounding in quotidian experience.

Jeri Johnson gives a spirited rejoinder to any student skeptical of feminism within the texts; Jennifer Wickes reminds us how even academics forget that they too are a targeted market envisioned by Joyce himself, and how his books encompass all of the world, mass culture managing to snare us all to our evident delight (as you read about my contribution to mass-cult here on Amazon in turn) rather than any retreat into elitist retreat (even for the Wake?) or recondite experimentation.

In summary, Attridge, Levine, Wickes, and especially Leonard remind us of the potential excitement that the texts hold for beginning or advanced readers. Joyce cannot exhaust, as Leonard admits in his classroom experience (about the only critic who acknowledges this crucial mode of transmission and continued reception of Joyce that surely enters the uncredited thoughts of every scholar here contributing), our ability to comprehend him. This Companion, for all of its shortcomings, does attest to the depth that great literature can offer us, the re-readings that carry us deeper into the labyrinth made by the inheritor of Dedalus. ... Read more

16. James Joyce (Lives)
by Edna O'Brien
Paperback: 192 Pages (2000-08)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$28.98
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Asin: 0753810700
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this volume in the "Lives" series, Edna O'Brien relates how she shares a love for the music and precision of words with the writer she has seen as guru for all of her life.Amazon.com Review
Although Edna O'Brien has never trafficked in James Joyce's head-over-heelsbrand of high modernism, she does have a couple of characteristics incommon with her great predecessor. After all, both authors engaged in aprofoundly ambivalent excoriation of their native Ireland. And whileO'Brien's sexual politics can make Joyce seem like a fusty Edwardian bycomparison, both novelists got a certain amount of flack for their eroticfrankness. So this latest match from the Penguin Lives series seems like agood one--and largely lives up to its promise. O'Brien makes no pretense ofcompeting with Richard Ellmann's immense, magisterial portrait. Instead she hasconcocted in James Joyce something that resembles one of her ownnovels: a spirited, lyrical, and acerbic narrative that just happens tofeature the author of Ulysses in the starringrole.

Having experienced the constrictions of Irish life firsthand, O'Brien isparticularly good on Joyce's downwardly mobile childhood. Was his resultinghatred of his native land exaggerated? Apparently not:

No one who has not lived in such straitened and hideous circumstances canunderstand the battering of that upbringing. All the more because they hadcome down in the world, a tumble from semi-gentility, servants, a nicelylaid table, cut glasses, a piano, the accoutrements of middle-class life,relegated to the near slums in Mountjoy Square, the gaunt spectral mansionsin which children sat like mice in the gaping doorways.
The author also gives a vivid sense of her subject's devotion to his art,an altar upon which he happily sacrificed his family, health, friends, andeven his eyesight. She is stubborn in her defense of Joyce's sublimeirresponsibility, which she ascribes to all writers: "It is a paradox thatwhile wrestling with the language to capture the human condition theybecome more callous, and cut off from the very human traits which they soglisteningly depict." O'Brien's own wrestling match in James Joycehas, to be honest, its share of pins and minor pratfalls: there are someembarrassing repetitions and punctuational oddities, and her occasionalassimilation of Joyce's own language is an awkward (if heartfelt) form ofhomage. Still, when she sticks to her own inflections, her account of this"funnominal man" is an eminently readable and entertaining dose of Irishbitters. --James Marcus ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful if unglittering portrait of a titan of literature
Reading any biography of James Joyce reminds me of something that Bernard DeVoto once said to Robert Frost after the other had behaved abominably towards Archibald MacLeish on several occasions in the space of a few days:"Robert, you are a great poet, but a bad man."What can the biographer do with Joyce?Was he a great writer?His astonishing literary genius iscompletely beyond debate.But he was almost completely lacking in humane qualities, and it isn't clear that he was capable of any relationship with any human being surpassed the value a tool had for its user.There are other equally unpleasant figures in the history of literature, but not many, and I've yet to read a biography of Joyce that creates the suspicion that meeting him might have been a positive experience.In fact, for me reading about Joyce's life has in ways acted as an impediment to appreciating his books.The difficulty is that he stuffs so much of his own experience into his books that the reader is forced to know at least the rudiments.Indeed, both PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN and ULYSSES feature his alter ego Stephen Hero as the/or a major character.

If any biography of Joyce is the biography of a morally repulsive individual, there is at least the consolation of his being repulsive on an epic scale.If Joyce is not a human being we can admire as a person, as opposed to a literary genius, he is as least an interesting brute.He fascinates with his utter lack of compunction in his use and misuse and abuse of others.It leads to the question of what personal qualities made it possible for him to mistreat so many people.Unfortunately, O'Brien does not help us discover this.In fact, I find that in her treatment of his life, Joyce the human being doesn't emerge in any detectable way.I ended the book without much of a sense of how he might have seemed if I had encountered him on the street.Instead, O'Brien's Joyce feels very much like a character in a novel.He seems unembedded in his world, partially exacerbated by O'Brien persistent failure to relate Joyce to any social or historical events.She rarely dates events, and often goes twenty or thirty pages without noting a specific date.For instance, very little dating is provided in conjunction with the obscenity trial in New York.If the book contained a chronology at the front or back of the book this might not be so unfortunate.This is important because other writers at approximately the same time were also facing censorship trials, such as D. H. Lawrence for THE RAINBOW, so Joyce's case was not an isolated incident.She also left so much out!She neglects, for instance, to mention that Joyce and Proust once shared a cab ride.Perhaps not a crucial moment for either writer, but given that in the English speaking world Proust and Joyce are widely regarded as the two literary giants of the 20th century, while internationally Joyce is considered second only to Proust one would have expected some acknowledgement of their encounter.So many details like this are excised from Joyce's story.The book also suffers by a complete lack of critical tools.As noted above, there is no chronology, but there is also no index and not much of a bibliography.These are lacks that detract from the book's overall usefulness.

Where O'Brien excels is when she writes about the books themselves.Although I did not feel like I gained much insight into Joyce (that Joyce was a world-historical jerk is simple to document, but the intricacies of why he was and why people let him get away from it was largely untouched upon), O'Brien the novelist did a marvelous job of illuminating many aspects of the books themselves.Although she does not write exhaustively about any of Joyce's works, every passage she writes shimmers with understanding and insight.

In one sense there is no overwhelming need for any new biography of James Joyce.Richard Ellmann's magisterial biography is not merely the finest book on Joyce, but arguably the finest English-language literary biography of the past half century.Given the large bulk of Ellmann's work, however, a solid brief biography is, however, highly desirable.I am not confident that O'Brien's book meets this need.The tone is far too impressionistic, the attention to historical and chronological detail too slight.I can recommend this to readers of Joyce who want to know a bit more about him, but I hope that someone writes a new biography sometime in the next few years.

5-0 out of 5 stars A writer's introduction to Joyce
This book is a good introduction to Joyce. It is written with a real feel for his language and life. It is not the overwhelming biographical scholarship of Ellmann, nor the detailed reading of the text much academic scholarship gives.It is however a competent and at times especially insightful look into the tribulations of the writer's life As part of the popular Penguin series in which Writers tell of the lives of other writers, O'Brien focuses on what most interests her.She talks about the insult of the Joyce family's poverty , and what it meant for them to go down from a kind of bourgeois life to one of great neediness. She writes about Joyce's love life and she tells the story of his infidelities and his complicated relationship to his wife Nora without going into each particular incident at length. She has an interesting few pages on reader reaction to ' Ulysses' including Virginia Woolf's comment calling it ' underbred, the effort of a ' queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples' In this work O'Brien often generalizes insightfully about the writer's condition in general, maintaining controversially that the more dedicated the writer is , and the more capable of seeing into the feeling of others on the page, the more monstrous the writer becomes in life. She compares Joyce's lonely end with that of Tolstoy, O'Neill, Virginia Woolf and Dickens. She says ,"A writer and especially a great writer, feels both more and less about human grief, being at once celebrant, witness and victim. If the writing ceases or seems to cease the mind so occupied with the stringing of words is fallow.There was nothing he(Joyce at the seperation from Nora) admitted but rage and despair in his heart, the rage of a child and the despair of a broken man." p. 176
She also provides very fragmentary but good analysis of Ulysses, explaining the stylistic genius of the ' Oxen in the Sun episode ' where Joyce parodies and rewrites the history of the English language stylistically.
It is light and quick reading , a good glance at the great man's work and life.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great writer on a great writer
Biographies in this series are the perfect fun size.Light, but long enough to have a lot of real stuff in them, more than a mere introduction.

The very first sentence of this book invites you into Joyce with an imitation of his writing style, & after that Edna O'Brien shares generously & mellifluously her great understanding of the man, his life, & his work, drawing on scholarly commentary of his books & from the journals & letters of him & the people around him so that you know how they all felt about his life & their lives in themselves & for the purposes of this biography in relation to him.It's so well-written & so interesting -- what a life he had, crazy as he was, that -- I could hardly put it down.Edna O'Brien's great interest in him comes across truly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet
I read this book at the Jersey shore. Joyce's life was as bizarre as his fiction. This book gives you an insight into what Joyce was trying to do with "Ulysses" and later "Finegan's Wake." Of course, the Ellmann bio is still the definitive. This is a great little read with sand and roasted peanuts.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Singular Genius
This is one of several volumes in the Penguin Lives Series, each of which written by a distinguished author in her or his own right. Each provides a concise but remarkably comprehensive biography of its subject in combination with a penetrating analysis of the significance of that subject's life and career. I think this is a brilliant concept. My only complaint (albeit a quibble) is that even an abbreviated index is not provided. Those who wish to learn more about the given subject are directed to other sources.

When preparing to review various volumes in this series, I have struggled with determining what would be of greatest interest and assistance to those who read my reviews. Finally I decided that a few brief excerpts and then some concluding comments of my own would be appropriate.

On Joyce and Ireland: "Of all the great Irish writers, Joyce's relationship with his country remains the most incensed and yet the most meditative. Beckett, a much more cloistered man, was unequivocal; he made France his home and eventually wrote in French and though his elegiac works carry the breath of his native land, he did not expect Foxrock, his birthplace, to be etched in the consciousness of the world. Joyce did. He determined to reinvent the city where he had been marginalized, laughed at and barred from literary circles. he would be the poet of his race." (page 15)

On criticisms of his portrayal of Dublin: Joyce "said he was not to be blamed for the odor of ash pits and rotted cabbage and offal in these stories [i.e. in Dubliners] because that was how he saw his city. 'We are foolish, comic, motionless, corrupted, yet we are worthy of sympathy too,' he laughed haughtily and added that if Ireland were to deny that sympathy to its characters, the rest of the world would not. In this he was mistaken." (page 78)

On his deteriorating health: "The strains were beginning to show. he had endocrine treatment for his arthritis, had to have all his teeth removed and was fitted with permanent plates. His eyesight so worsened that he had only one-seventh normal vision. He was given iodine leeches for his bad eye but soon it was clear that they would have to operate." (page 130)

On his enigmatic nature: "The truth is that the Joyce [others] saw was a fraction of the inner man. No one knew Joyce, only himself, no one could. His imagination was meteoric, his mind ceaseless in the accruing of knowledge, words crackling in his head, images crowding in on him 'like the shades at the entrance to the underworld.' What he wanted to do was to wrest the secret from life and that could only be done through language because, as he said, the history of people is the history of language." (pages 165-166)

As is also true of the other volumes in the "Penguin Lives" series, this one provides all of the essential historical and biographical information but its greatest strength lies in the extended commentary, in this instance by Edna O'Brien. She also includes a brief but sufficient "Bibliography" for those who wish to learn more about Joyce. I hope these brief excerpts encourage those who read this review to read O'Brien's biography. It is indeed a brilliant achievement. ... Read more

17. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Classics
by James Joyce
Perfect Paperback: 230 Pages (2007-01-01)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1580495745
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Classic includes a glossary and reader's notes to help the modern reader appreciate the richness of Joyce's language, historical and literary allusions, and complex narrative style.James Joyce's semi-autobiographical account of a young writer's growth from birth to early adulthood is at times poignant, at times laugh-out-loud funny, and at times spiritually and psychologically challenging. One of Joyce's first forays into stream-of-consciousness, Portrait gives the reader a front-row seat in the mind of a developing genius, from Stephen Dedalus's first awareness of language ("Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road...") to his final decision to leave family and homeland in search of his own artistic vision ("Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead").A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the first novel-length work of a man who would become one of the most influential literary figures of the twentieth century. It is the coming-of-age story of a young man, an artist, a nation, and a culture. Portrait is a must-read for any serious student of literature and literary thought. ... Read more

18. The Art of Joyce's Syntax in Ulysses / Syntax As Meaning in Ulysses
by Roy K. Gottfried
 Hardcover: 191 Pages (1980-09)
list price: US$22.50
Isbn: 0820304786
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh Roy, you've Done it.
No one can cover the one great writer of the modern world, James Joyce, like Professor Roy K. Gottfried can. Hats off to you, Mr. Gottfried! This book is a treasure, a must-have for any Joyce enthusiast!! ... Read more

19. Poems and Shorter Writings
by James Joyce
Paperback: 320 Pages (2001-09-03)
list price: US$20.56 -- used & new: US$14.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0571210988
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This collection brings together all the poems published by James Joyce in his lifetime, most notably "Chamber Music" and "Pomes Penyeach". It also includes a large body of his satiric or humorous occasional verse, much of which is fugitive and little known to the general reader. In addition, the volume provides the text of the surviving prose "Epiphanies, Giacomo Joyce" - the fascinating Trieste notebook that Joyce compiled while finishing "A Portrait of the Artist" and beginning "Ulysses", in which he first explored the world of his autobiographical novel. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection
This is still a wonderful collection of Joyce's writings that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, but a word of advice: the used copies sold here are outrageously priced, where Amazon.co.uk readily sells new copies for 12 pounds ...

4-0 out of 5 stars Not perfect but still pretty good
Out of print in the USA, maybe, but not where I come from.It's a minor scandal of the multinational Joyce industry that there is no decently comprehensive, fully annotated edition of Joyce's poems and early writings. This volume contains most but not quite all of the poems, sometimes intexts the correctness of which has been questioned, plus Joyce's earlyprose Epiphanies, his turgid autobiographical essay "A Portrait of theArtist" (_not_ to be confused with the novel of almost the same name)and his curious prose work "Giacomo Joyce", a half-sardonic,half-bittersweet account of an affair he conducted in his thirties.

Joyce wrote poetry on and off for most of his life, to the mildembarrassment of his modernist friends who couldn't understand how such arevolutionary prose writer could come out with such old-fashioned poems. His early work is very much that of a young writer on a testing ground,trying out the dominant fashions of the age and seeing how well theyfitted.Much of his later poetry is comic - I have a friend who'smemorised the rollicking satirical broadside "Gas from a Burner",written after Dubliners had been rejected for the umpteenth time - butthere are some later lyrics which have appeal for more than just Joycefans.(The short lyric "Ecce Puer" is his most famous poem, butI also like the sombre "Tilly" which was displayed on Dublinsuburban trains for quite some time.)His "Epilogue to Ibsen'sGhosts" is one of the funniest and most acute of his late poems,simultaneously critiquing, celebrating and providing a sequel to the play.

The notes in this edition are very skimpy.Far better annotated isJames Mays' Penguin edition of "Poems and 'Exiles'", whichincluded Joyce's only surviving original play; but also omitting forcopyright reasons work included here.You really wish that some good fairycould put a stop to the Joyce squabbles and provide us with a reasonablycomplete, more-or-less well-edited, properly annotated, uniform edition ofthe works, but it ain't gonna happen.In the meantime, the Penguin Joyce,this and the Critical Writings are all the amateur completist are likely toneed.Oh, and the Selected Letters, if you're interested in contractualdifficulties and the texture of Nora's underwear. ... Read more

20. Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses
by Don Gifford
Paperback: 694 Pages (2008-01-14)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$16.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520253973
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Don Gifford's annotations to Joyce's great modern classic comprise a specialized encyclopedia that will inform any reading of Ulysses. The suggestive potential of minor details was enormously fascinating to Joyce, and the precision of his use of detail is a most important aspect of his literary method. The annotations in this volume illuminate details which are not in the public realm for most of us.
The annotations gloss place names, define slang terms, give capsule histories of institutions and political and cultural movements and figures, supply bits of local and Irish legend and lore, explain religious nomenclature and practices, trace literary allusions and references to other cultures. Annotations are keyed not only to the reading text of the critical edition of Ulysses, but to the standard 1961 Random House edition, and the current Modern Library and Vintage texts. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must-have for Ulysses
Yes, this does not include the text of Ulysses as others noted.But if you know anything about reading Joyce, you are aware that Gifford's annotated text is widely considered the bible for understanding Ulysses.Beware - its as long as the actual novel so I don't recommend reading it word for word.But as a reference tool, it is par excellence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Companion
This is the perfect addition to any reading of Joyce's Ulysses. It's nice for academic work because it points you in more directions than you can possibly imagine & it works well for casual readers who just want to know more about what they're missing. Joyce was meticulous about detail and Gifford has done an incredible job of laying it all out without being too overwhelming.

The information says that its keyed to whatever editions of Ulysses but I'd also like to note that I used the Gabler text (best!!) and they were in wonderful harmony.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Ulysses Annotated
Despite the title, this is NOT Ulysses annotated as it does not contain the text with annotations...merely the annotations themselves.And if your copy of Ulysses does not contain the line numbers to which this is keyed, it is fairly useless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book.... misleading title
This is certainly an excellent book, but it is not the annotated Ulysses that you expect from the Pengiun or Oxford editions. That is, the actual text of Ulysses is not in this book, only lengthy and fascinating information about Ulysses itself. So, I would recommend it, only the title is deliberately misleading. I thought I was getting an annotated version of Ulysses, not a book on annotations about another book called Ulysses.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent...
having read ulysses ages ago, after having read this book, i did not know how much i missed. great book. ... Read more

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