Ulysses reading group?

August 9, 2007

I want to bring this up at Tilting with Windmills, but I think it will be less alarming to throw it out on my own blog first:

  • would anyone be interested in a forming a reading group to work our way through James Joyce’s Ulysses?

I say this, obviously, because I would not only be very interested in joining one, but in spearheading the operation. Ulysses is, far and away, my favorite book of all time, but one that I have only read completely through once, despite returning to it and reading chunks several times a year.

Many book-bloggers have expressed trepidation about Ulysses, and I’ve often attempted to calm their fears and say something slightly more eloquent than what I mean: “Just read it!” There is no possible way that it will let you down, even if you can’t shake the sense that you’re only “skimming the surface,” because the surface of Ulysses is magnificent!

I also believe that Ulysses is an ideal choice for this type of blog-collective, for several reasons:

  • it is a vast, multi-voiced, text, therefore making it excellent for a multi-voiced reading experience
  • it can be discouraging at times, so a cloud of peers will be very helpful
  • the amount of secondary material that can be brought in, for assistance, for exploration, and for depth, is astronomical, and much of it is readily accessible on the web
  • it is ideally read with some sort of schedule or structure, as it can be so very easy to put down, but can be difficult to return afterwards

So what say you? Would anyone be at least a little bit interested? If so, leave a comment and let me know.

(pictured: Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses)



  1. In short, yes. I’d certainly be interested if you started one. You’re right, the surface of this book is magnificent – but I fear I’ve missed a lot more of it that might come clearer with discussion…

  2. Great idea. I don’t know if I can participate–I’m nowhere near finishing DQ–but it’s good thought.

  3. Very interesting prospect! I’m not up for a Ulysses re-read (I read it for college and wouldn’t mind reading it again, but not just yet) — but I hope you get others involved because reading with a group is great.

  4. I could be convinced since I’ve been wanting to read Ulysses for ages. I might have difficulty keeping up though because I have a lot going on. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be willing to try.

  5. This one has always kind of intimidated me for various reasons and, frankly, I know nothing much about it.

    If you get something started, I may go along for the ride just to see what happens.

  6. I’d definitely be interested. I’ve only read passages and never the entire text which I’ve been hoping to remedy one of these days. And I agree that it would be a great book for a blog-collective!

  7. I’m surfing everywhere looking for an online discussion group for ULYSSES. I’m reading it for the first time and I’m having a difficult time alone. I don’t see any comments about this since August. If you decide to do it–especially if you’re going to read slowly–let me know!

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