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Definition: Ulysses from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Roman name for Odysseus, the Greek mythological hero.


Summary Article: Ulysses from Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable

A novel (1922) by James JOYCE, which details the events of a single day, 16 June 1904 (the day that Joyce met his future wife Nora BARNACLE), as experienced by three Dubliners. As the title suggests, there are obvious Homeric parallels, both in parodic equivalents of the events in the Odyssey and in the protagonists - Stephen DEDALUS being Telemachus, the son in search of a father, while Leopold Bloom, who sells advertising space in a newspaper, is the returning Odysseus, and his wife Molly is the ironically patient, if hardly chaste, Penelope. Bloom's single day of roaming about Dublin mirrors Odysseus's years of wandering. Stephen is the same autobiographical figure as in A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, but the other two protagonists are richly original creations. The city of Dublin is precisely rendered, and the erotic unpunctuated musings of the unfaithful Penelope - Joyce's version of stream-of-consciousness technique - that gave the book its initial scandalous reputation, now seem not only innocuous but apposite.

The novel was first published by Sylvia Beach in 1922 in Paris, because the printing of some excerpts in the American Little Review from 1918 had led to obscenity prosecutions. Copies of the Paris edition were burned in New York and seized by customs officers at Folkestone. It was not until the United States District Court found the book not obscene in 1933 that an American edition followed in 1934 and a British one in 1936. Fashionable Ireland has long ago gathered the erring book (never banned there) to its bosom, and among the many people who celebrate BLOOMSDAY each 16 June are some who have actually read it.

… and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms round him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Copyright © Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2009

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