Ulysses, Part I: The Telemachiad, Telemachus

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Dovegreyreader is encouraging everyone to join her in tackling Ulysses. I’m afraid that I cannot resist these joint reads, and so have been reading 2 pages a day via DailyLit. I have now completed the first episode: Telemachus.

The pace of this read along is incredibly slow and I am torn between wanting to speed on ahead and keeping level with everyone else taking part. I’ll stick to the two pages a day for now and see how I feel after a few more weeks.

Ulysses hasn’t started off well for me. It isn’t how I imagined it at all. I admit to knowing nothing about it before starting, but for some reason the name Ulysses conjures up images of a strong, brave man heading on a adventurous journey. Perhaps this is what does happen, but I’ve probably got it all wrong!

The book begins with some unappealing men having an animated discussion at the top of a tower. I have no real interest in their lives and wouldn’t continue with this book if it wasn’t a classic I wanted to conquer!

It comes across as a very male book. Do you think Ulysses appeals to men more than women? I have a feeling that I will never bond with these characters, but I hope their lives interest me more as the book goes on.

I am finding it much easier to understand than I thought I would, for some reason I thought Ulysses was written much earlier than it actually was – I told you I knew nothing about it!

Have you read Ulysses? Did you ever bond with the characters?

Do you think I’ll enjoy it more as I get further in to the book?


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13 Comments

  1. Beth F says:

    Good luck! I haven’t read Joyce in decades.

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks! I hope I don’t need it!

  2. Sandy says:

    I think maybe I might have been forced to read something of this in college, but have blocked it out. It all mushes together with bad memories of The Iliad, The Oddysey, and other really boring stuff (at least to a college student that just wanted to party). I told Simon the same thing…I would just prefer to “appreciate” it through you! Not what I would imagine for summer reading!!!!

    1. Jackie says:

      It’s not just summer reading – it is going to take all year! I don’t think I’m going to enjoy it, but I want to know what it is all about.

  3. Claire says:

    Jackie, Ulysses is Latin for Odysseus, the hero of The Odyssey so that’s probably why you conjured the image; there are a number of parallels with Homer’s work, not just the title.

    Glad you’re finding it easier than you thought; I am too.

    1. Jackie says:

      I didn’t realise that – thanks for letting me know!

  4. pussreboots says:

    Joyce’s publishers were women. I think it appeals to anyone who has read and enjoyed the Odyssey.

    I spent the earlier part of the year reviewing the book too, going through an episode a week. I’ve linked to the episode you’ve just finished. My full list of reviews for the book is here.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’ve never read The Odyssey – do you think I should have read that first?

      1. pussreboots says:

        A basic knowledge of the Odyssey is helpful in seeing where Joyce is drawing his literary allusions from. The Odyssey is a much easier book to read than Ulysses so you could probably read them together.

        1. Jackie says:

          OK – thanks for letting me know. I’ll try to get hold of a copy of the Odyssey at some point in the next year.

  5. Violet says:

    I don’t think I’ll be reading this book in this lifetime :)

    But all the best to you. 2 pages a day is incerdibly slow. I don’t see how one can get enough times to get into the story.

    I just bought my first James Joyce book and I dont even rememeber the name, just that it was very cheap :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Yes, I have to admit that I can’t really get into the book reading 2 pages at a time, so I tend to read a week at once, then wait a week before reading the next section.

      If I find a cheap paperback copy then I will read it much quicker, but I don’t like reading books on the screen, so the pace is OK at the moment.

  6. Simon S says:

    I didnt know anything about it either other than it was difficult and quite long and have found actually have no preconceived ideas about it makes it much easier to read. I dont know how likeable the characters are meant to be but at the moment they are intriguing me.

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