I first read Ulysses in 2011. I've dipped into the book several times since then. It's particularly helpful during tumultuous periods. Most recently, I returned to it after reading Marshall McLuhan's commentary on Joyce, and the way that he demonstrated the way that he explored different mediums for communicating, first with conscious (stream-of-consciousness) methods (in Ulysses), and then with the subconscious elements of language in Finnegan's Wake.
I began reading Ulysses in 2011, reading it alongside the audio book. I was listening to Librivox recordings, which were sometimes good and sometimes bad. In this reading I was making notes in each chapter - a few specific notes, but mainly identifying the major themes and the general idea of what's going on (often necessary). I was able to understand the structure by reading Stuart Gilbert's excellent guide. However, while the Gilbert guide explains some of the themes, and highlights many passages that are interesting or notable (making it easier to recognize and remind yourself of the themes in the chapter), it did not do much to make the longer and harder-to-understand chapters any shorter. Thus, the later chapters (Ch. 12-17) are still the hardest parts of the book to get through.
Here are notes from that reading: Ulysses/2011
I began re-reading Ulysses in its entirety in November 2016, and finished December 2016. I've begun making more detailed notes on each chapter, available via the table of contents below.
Michael Groden notes: http://www.michaelgroden.com/notes/
- Excellent questions that bring out some themes that would have otherwise taken much longer to pick up on
Odyssey (wikipedia page): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odyssey#Finding_Scenes
Columbia annotated/color coded version: http://www.columbia.edu/~fms5/ulys.htm
Joyce project annotated Ulysses: http://www.joyceproject.com/index.php?chapter=wrocks¬es=0
Table of Contents
Ulyssesby James Joyce
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