Ulysses Reading Group Page

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Welcome to the James Joyce Ulysses reading group. Feel free to pass this along to any and all of your dearest friends who would like to embark on this journey into--what many consider to be--the greatest novel ever written in English.

Below (and in this folder), you will find resources for the book. Choose your own adventure, using only those things that you find helpful. It isn’t necessary to dive into all of these at once (or ever). This page isn’t going away. You can bookmark it and return as needed. So make this as easy or in-depth as you want; but above all--have some fun. Joyce would want it that way.


The Schedule

We’ll begin our reading on Bloomsday 2019. Here in Philadelphia, The Rosenbach Museum and Library (which has one of the only complete manuscripts of Ulysses) throws a massive day-long Bloomsday block party celebrating Irish culture and James Joyce. Our group will begin by partying at The Rosenbach, and the reading schedule follows from that.

When to Read

What to Read

When to Read

What to Read

6/16-6/23

Chapters 1-3

7/22-7/28

Chapters 12-13

6/24-6/30

Chapters 4-5

7/29-8/4

Chapter 14-15 (start it)

7/1-7/7

Chapters 6-7

8/5-8/11

Chapter 15 (finish it)

7/8-7/14

Chapters 8-9

8/12-8/18

Chapters 16-17 (start)

7/15-7/21

Chapters 10-11

8/19-8/25

Chapter 17 (finish)- 18

Meetings (to get on the email list for these, click here)

This is a reading group after all, so I’ll host some discussion times open to all. Here are the tentative dates and locations (all on Sundays) to discuss the book:


The Primary Text (downloads)

There is some confusion about different “versions” of Ulysses out there. You can read more about that here. From the beginning, there were “errors” in each printing of Ulysses that subsequent editions tried to fix. In the end, you have three main options:

Bottom line: The best version is the only you’ll actually read. At the end of the day they’re all still the same book. The 1961 is if you just want a pleasurable read; Gabler is for “studying” the text; the 1922 is fine, but it’s not what most others will have read (however, it recently went into the public domain, so can be found for free online). Personally, I will be using the 1961 version.


Background Reading (downloads)

There are two main texts that lie in the background of Ulysses. First, Ulysses is structured around and follows the themes, narrative, and ideas of Homer’s The Odyssey. This is perhaps the most helpful text. (Amazon / epub / kindle / pdf / audiobook)

Secondly, it is a sort of sequel to Joyce’s earlier book, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as that book’s main character is the secondary character of Ulysses, though it’s difficult to say how much Ulysses actually builds off of Portrait. (Amazon / epub / kindle / pdf / audiobook )


Helps & Aides Along the Way (download)

There is no shortage of other writings, websites, books, and courses to help one navigate the dense forest of Ulysses. On the download page, you’ll find several of the most helpful.