Just a few weeks ago, I heard about a great, new book tackling Ulysses and what it means to everyday people. I doubt I would have bothered to pick it up had it not been for the upcoming series, but I’m glad for the coincidence. Declan Kiberd’s Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce’s Masterpiece is a refreshing and encouraging perspective on Joyce’s greatest novel. While I certainly won’t have time to read the whole thing at this point, I highly recommend picking it up and reading the first two chapters, “How Ulysses Didn’t Change Our Lives” and “How It Might Still Do So.” You should encounter some interesting thoughts about the importance of Ulysses in literature, who it’s meant for, and so much more. Below is an excerpt from a Publisher’s Weekly review found on Amazon.com.
The author of the important and controversial Inventing Ireland argues that it is time to reconnect Ulysses to the everyday lives of people and fetch it back from the more snobbish modernists, who have conspired to give the book a reputation of being unreadable by the ordinary people for whom it was intended. Kiberd places the book in its time—a world which had known for the first time the possibilities of mass literacy, a time when ordinary laborers read Shakespeare, Ruskin and Macaulay. Read the full review.