Ulysses and Us

Ulysses and Us

The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce's Masterpiece

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
Explores the lessons that modern readers can draw from Joyce's classic work, revealing how "Ulysses" presents a vision of a more tolerant and decent society in which the seemingly banal hero, Leopold Bloom, represents ordinary wisdom that can offer a model for living.

Norton Pub
Why James Joyce’s great modernist masterpiece is a book that can teach ordinary people to live better lives.
Declan Kiberd, professor of Anglo-Irish literature at the University College Dublin and Ireland’s premier literary historian, offers an audacious, pioneering new take on James Joyce’s masterpiece. Ulysses, he argues, is not an esoteric work for the scholarly few but indisputably a work rooted in the lives of ordinary citizens, offering a humane vision of a more tolerant and decent life in the modern world.Structuring his analysis around the mundane pleasures highlighted throughout the work—including waking, walking, and drinking—Kiberd progresses through each of Ulysses’s episodes to elegantly reveal that Joyce’s ultimate goal was to create a book honoring the richness of daily life. At a time when most other modernist authors adopted a rather dismissive tone toward popular culture and the emerging noise of industry, Joyce wrote Ulysses to extol the everyday man and embrace the bustle of middle-class streets. He wanted to infuse that commonplace Dublin world, in all of its grit and vulgar physicality, with a fierce passion and a miraculous interiority that would illuminate its underlying beauty.For Kiberd, the seemingly banal hero of Ulysses, Leopold Bloom, embodies an intensely ordinary kind of wisdom and, in this way, offers us a model for living well, in the tradition of Homer, Dante, and the Bible—all of which Joyce drew on in writing his book. By shedding light on Joyce’s celebration of everyday life, Kiberd rescues Ulysses from the dusty shelves of rarified literary neglect and presents it to the audience it was originally written about and for which it was intended.

Book News
James Joyce's famous 1922 novel Ulysses has been "wrenched out of the hands of the common reader" by esotericizing specialists, complains Kiberd (Anglo-Irish literature, U. College Dublin, Ireland), which is unfortunate because for all of its complexities the "underlying intention [of Joyce] was that anyone reading Ulysses could be an expert, at least in the sense that anyone present at a sporting event feels entitled to have a valid opinion on what transpires." He takes the reader through the episodes of Ulysses, focusing on themes of mundane pleasures, such as waking, walking, and drinking, in order to foster appreciation of Joyce's masterwork and better understanding of Joyce's work as a celebration of the richness of Irish daily life and popular culture. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Explores the lessons that modern readers can draw from Joyce's classic work, revealing how Ulysses offers a more humane vision of a more tolerant and decent society in which seemingly banal hero, Leopold Bloom, represents ordinary wisdom that can offer a model for living.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2009
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780393070996
0393070999
Branch Call Number: 823x JOYCE KIBER
Characteristics: xi, 399 pages ; 24 cm

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radreader May 19, 2011

reviewed in Am Scholar

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