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The most famous day in literature is June 16, 1904, when a certain Mr. Leopold Bloom of Dublin eats a kidney for breakfast, attends a funeral, admires a girl on the beach, contemplates his wife’s imminent adultery, and, late at night, befriends a drunken young poet in the city’s red-light district.
An earthy story, a virtuoso technical display, and a literary revolution all rolled into one, James Joyce’s Ulysses is a touchstone of our modernity and one of the towering achievements of the human mind.
“Joyce’s parallel use of The Odyssey…has the importance of a scientific discovery…It is simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history…It is, I seriously believe, a step toward making the modern world possible for art.” —T. S. Eliot
“Ulysses has enough verbal splendor to furnish a legion of novels…You will have difficulty finding a fuller portrait of the natural man.” —Harold Bloom, The Western Canon
“One might almost risk praising [Ulysses] for being a work of literature in which the spirit of one man is eternally confirmed in all its complexity.”—from the Introduction
With an Introduction by Craig Raine