Ulysses – James Joyce

“It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, speeding, sustained, to come, don’t spin it out too long long breath he breath long life, soaring high, high resplendent, aflame, crowned, high in the effulgence symbolistic, high, of the ethereal bosom, high, of the high vast irradiation everywhere all soaring all around about the all, the endlessnessnessness…”

I guess this is the sort of book that people either love or hate. In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Ulysses. I had just read “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” some months back and I thought Ulysses would follow a similar format. Well, Ulysses didn’t even follow any clear format!

Why I enjoyed this book so much is because I’m a lover of words and of the English language in general, and this book used such a wide variety of words. I don’t think I even understood half of what was going on in the book, yet I still liked it. It also had it’s share of racism, including anti-Jewish sentiment and the use of the n-word, bad grammar (deliberately of course, at times), made-up words and abruptly ending sentences.

“Her antiquity in preceding and surviving succeeding tellurian generations: her nocturnal predominance: her satellitic dependence: her luminary reflection: her constancy under all her phases, rising and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning: the forced invariability of her aspect: her indeterminate response to inaffirmative interrogation: her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage: the terribility of her isolated dominant resplendent propinquity: her omens of tempest and of calm: the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence: the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence: her splendour, when visible: her attraction, when invisible.”

The magic of this book, in my eyes, is you never know what you’re going to read next. It might be a poetic passage (the passages that describe Bloom’s love of water are great), a series of questions and answers, a hallucination set in the form of a play, some Latin, some French, Spanish, Greek, a reference to ineluctable modality….you just never know!

I could probably go on and on about this book. I will end by saying I gained a lot of respect for Joyce’s genius during the reading of this book. He had so much knowledge and you can tell he put his soul into this book. I don’t think there will ever be another book quite like it. This is definitely a book I need to get a copy of in order to re-read it again and again


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