Ulysses is a novel by James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. It is considered one of the most important works of Modernist literature.
Ulysses chronicles the passage through Dublin by its main character, Leopold Bloom, during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. The title alludes to the hero of Homer's Odyssey (Latinised into Ulysses), and there are many parallels, both implicit and explicit, between the two works (e.g., the correspondences between Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus). June 16 is now celebrated by Joyce's fans worldwide as Bloomsday.
Ulysses totals 250,000 words from a vocabulary of 30,000 words. Divided into 18 "episodes", as they are called in scholarly circles, the book has been the subject of much controversy and scrutiny since its publication, ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual "Joyce Wars." Ulysses's groundbreaking stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring, and highly experimental prose—full of puns, parodies, and allusions—as well as its rich characterizations and broad humour, have made the book perhaps the most highly regarded novel in the Modernist pantheon. In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Joyce's first acquaintance with Odysseus was via Charles Lamb's Adventures of Ulysses - an adaptation of the Odyssey for children, which seems to have established the Roman name in Joyce‘s mind. At school he wrote an essay on Ulysses as his 'favourite hero'. Joyce told Frank Budgen that he considered Ulysses to be the only all-round character in literature. He thought about calling Dubliners by the name Ulysses in Dublin, but the idea grew from a story in Dubliners in 1906, to a 'short book' in 1907,, to the vast novel which he began writing in 1914.
Don Gifford and Robert Seidman write that Irish antisemitism is one of the major themes of Ulysses. It was not as prevalent as in other parts of Europe, they write, but was nevertheless part of what they call "a bewildering maze of prejudice and intolerance" found in Ireland in 1904, where there was a small but ruling class of conservative and defensive Anglo-Irish Protestants, and a 90 percent majority of Roman Catholics, who as a community were "puritanical and censorious".
The antisemitism manifested itself in stereotypes of Jews as anti-Christian and in derogatory names for them, such as "Jewman". Nevertheless, the Jewish population of Ireland increased as a result of Jews moving from Eastern Europe. There were 472 Jews in the country in 1881 and 3,769 in 1901, amounting to 0.08 percent of the overall population.
Edward Raphael Lipsett, a Jew living in Dublin, wrote in 1906 that, "You cannot get one native to remember that a Jew may be an Irishman ... the idea is wholly inconceivable to the native mind ... The Jews understand the Irish little; the Irish understand the Jews less."
Martin Amis writes that Joyce portrays religion in Ireland in general as an ideology of unexamined cliché, identifying both antisemitism and Roman Catholicism as "fossilizations of dead prose and dead thought".
Every episode of Ulysses has an assigned theme, technique and, tellingly, correspondences between its characters and those of the Odyssey. The episode titles and the correspondences were not included in the original text but are known from the Linati and Gilbert schema. Joyce referred to the episodes by their Homeric titles in his letters. He took the titles from Victor Bérard's two-volume Les Phéniciens et l’Odyssée which he consulted in 1918 in the Zentralbibliothek of Zürich. Bérard's book was the source of Joyce's idiosyncratic rendering of some of the Homeric titles: 'Nausikaa', the 'Telemachia'.
It is 8 a.m. on the morning of 16 June 1904 (the day Joyce first formally went out with Nora Barnacle). Buck Mulligan (a callous, verbally aggressive and boisterous medical student) calls Stephen Dedalus (a young writer first encountered in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) up to the roof of the Martello tower, Sandycove, overlooking Dublin bay. Stephen doesn't respond to Mulligan's aggressive and intrusive jokes. Stephen is focused on, and initially disdainful toward, Haines (a nondescript, anti-semitic Englishman from Oxford), whom Buck Mulligan invited around. Stephen's annoyance stems from the intrusion, as he was disturbed the previous night by Haines's moaning about a nightmare.
Mulligan and Dedalus proceed to look out over the sea, and Stephen is reminded of his deceased mother, for whom he is visibly still in mourning. This, and Stephen's refusal to pray at his mother's deathbed, remains an issue of some contention between the two. Stephen reveals that he once overheard Buck referring to his mother as "beastly dead." When faced with this, Buck makes a brief attempt to defend himself, but gives up shortly. Buck then departs, and sings to himself, unknowingly, the song that Stephen once sang to his dying mother. Mulligan shaves and prepares breakfast, then all three eat.
Later, Haines and Stephen walk down to the water, where Buck and his companions are swimming. We here learn that Buck has an absent friend from Westmeath who has a yet-unnamed girlfriend (later revealed to be Milly Bloom). Stephen declares his intention to depart, and Buck demands the house key and to be lent money. Departing, Stephen declares that he will not return to the tower tonight, citing Buck as a "Usurper."
Stephen is teaching a history class on the victories of Pyrrhus of Epirus. The class is visibly bored, unconcerned with the subject and not disciplined. Before seeing the boys out of the classroom, Stephen tells the students a cryptic and impenetrable riddle about a fox burying his grandmother under a bush, which falls flat. One student, Sargent, stays behind so that Stephen can show him how to do a set of arithmetic exercises. Stephen indulges him, but looks at the aesthetically unappealing Sargent and tries to imagine Sargent's mother's love for him. Afterwards, Stephen visits the anti-semitic school headmaster, Mr. Deasy, from whom he collects his pay and a letter to take to a newspaper office for printing. Deasy lectures Stephen on the satisfaction of money earned and the importance of efficient money-management. This scene is the source of some of the novel's most famous lines, such as Dedalus's claim that God is "a shout in the street" and that "history is a nightmare from which I am trying to wake." He rejects Deasy's biased recollection of past events, which he uses to justify his prejudices. At the end of this episode, Deasy makes another incendiary remark against the Jews, stating that Ireland has never extensively persecuted the Jews because they were never let in to the country.
This chapter opens with Bloom walking down the street. He is handed a leaflet, advertising a visiting American evangelist reading, "Blood of the Lamb." Bloom walks over a bridge and tosses the leaflet into the water. He buys two cakes from a woman selling cakes and apples and throws them into the water, watching the gulls quickly snatch up the food. He notices another advertisement on the side of a boat. He thinks about other effective places for ads, such as a doctor's flyer about sexually transmitted diseases in a bathroom. Bloom then wonders if Boylan, who he suspects is having trysts with Marion, might have an STD.
Later, Bloom meets a former girlfriend, Josie Breen. She is now married to Denis who is paranoid, and not mentally stable. Mr. Breen received an anonymous postcard this morning, reading, "u.p.: up." Breen is subsequently attempting to respond with legal action. He asks Josie about Mina Purefoy and she tells him that she is in the hospital about to have a baby. Throughout the rest of the chapter, Bloom returns to the image of Mina giving birth, recalling Molly's pregnancy as well.
Bloom then walks past a group of police officers. This encounter reminds him of the time when mounted policemen chased a gaggle of anti-British medical students. Bloom feels it is likely that those students are probably now part of the institutions they were criticizing. He thinks about other turncoats, such as Carey of the Invincibles and house servants who inform on their employers.
As his walk progresses, Leopold Passes an optician's, and thinks about eclipses. He holds up a finger to block out the sun, remembering the time, at night, when he walked with Molly and her lover, Boylan. He speculates that Molly and Boylan may have been touching.
Bloom then enters a restaurant, Burton's. Repulsed by the anti-social sentiments and manner of the patrons, he makes a hasty exit heading instead to Davy Byrne's.
Inside, Bloom is greeted by Nosey Flynn who enquires about Molly and her upcoming tour with Boylan, her manager. Bloom's mind turns to Molly, and her affair. He gives an order of a gorgonzola cheese sandwich and a glass of red wine (burgundy). Bloom then eats. Noticing two flies stuck on the window pane Bloom reminisces about a previous intimate moment with Molly on the Howth Hill: as Bloom lay on top of her, Molly fed him seedcake out of her mouth, and they made love. The reader will later hear this story from Marion's perspective in her soliloquy. Looking back at the flies, Bloom thinks sadly of the many dissimilarities between himself then, when he was happy with Molly, and now.
Bloom finishes his meal and heads to the outhouse.
Having left, Bloom goes forth to the National Library to look up the Keyes ad. Coming across a blind man, Bloom helps him across the road and meditates on how other senses of blind people must be heightened. Bloom suddenly spots Boylan across the street. Panicked, he sharply turns into the gates of the National Museum.
Throughout this episode, Bloom muses upon the concept of a parallax, which he does not fully understand. This can be considered self-reflexive, as the narrative of Ulysses, and the reader's perception, changes profoundly when shown the different characters' perceptions of the same events. The book itself uses parallax as a narrative device.
This chapter is unique in that it draws Homeric parallels to an incident that is described third-hand in the Odyssey. That is to say, the Wandering Rocks are spoken about in the Odyssey, but never experienced by its protagonist, Odysseus. This is perhaps why Joyce disembodies the narrative from the three main characters.
Gerty then leaves, revealing herself to be lame, and leaving Bloom meditating on the beach. Gerty's display of her body is inset with allusions to the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament taking place across the street from the strand in a Catholic church. This is usually read as Joyce's playful punning on the ceremonial display of the 'Body of Christ' in the form of the Host coupled with Gerty's displaying her own body to Bloom (who is clearly acting out his own version of an Adoration). Gerty's final revelation of being 'lame' is also read as Joyce's opinion of the state of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in Ireland. The first half of the episode is marked by an excessively sentimental style, and it is unclear how much of Gerty's monologue is actually imagined by Bloom.
to something resembling alliterative Anglo-Saxon poetry
and on through skillful parodies of, among others, Malory, the King James Bible, Bunyan, Pepys, Defoe, Addison and Steele, Sterne, Goldsmith, Junius, Gibbon, Lamb, De Quincey, Landor, Dickens, Newman, Ruskin and Carlyle, before concluding in a haze of nearly incomprehensible slang, bringing to mind American English employed in advertising. Indeed, Joyce organized this chapter as three sections divided into nine total subsections, representing the trimesters and months of gestation.
This extremely complex chapter can be further broken down structurally. It consists of sixty paragraphs. The first ten paragraphs are parodies of Latin and Anglo-Saxon language, the two major predecessors to the English language, and can be seen as intercourse and conception. The next forty paragraphs, representing the 40 weeks of gestation in human embryonic development, begin with Middle English satires, the earliest form of English; they move chronologically forward through the various styles mentioned above. At the end of the fiftieth paragraph, the baby in the maternity hospital is born, and the final ten paragraphs are the child, combining all the different forms of slang and street English that were spoken in Dublin in the early part of the 20th century.
Episode Fifteen takes the form of a play script with stage directions and descriptions, with characters’ names appearing above their dialogue. The majority of the action of Episode Fifteen occurs only as drunken hallucinations.
The episode opens at Nighttown, what acts as Dublin's red-light district. Stephen and Lynch walk toward a brothel. Bloom attempts to follow Stephen and Lynch to Nighttown, but soon loses them. Here, the episode's first hallucination begins, in which Bloom is confronted by family members, such as Molly Bloom and his parents, and also by Gerty MacDowell, in regards to various offences.
Awakening from this hallucination, Bloom feeds a dog. This act leads onto another hallucination in which Bloom is questioned by a pair of Night-Wardens. From here, Bloom then imagines facing trial, accused of a variety of outlandish crimes, including forgery and bigamy, possibly alluding to a subconscious guilt over his marital duplicity. Bloom is accused and testified against by recognisable figures like Myles Crawford, and Paddy Dignam. Mary Driscoll states that Bloom made inappropriate advances towards her when she was under his employment. Shaking off this fantasy, Bloom is approached by Zoe Higgins, a local prostitute. Zoe tells him Stephen is currently in the brothel that she works in. Another fantasy ensues, in which Bloom gives a campaign speech. Attracting the attention and subsequent admiration of both the Irish and Zionists, and is subsequently hailed as the leader of "Bloomusalem." The hallucination turns more surreal and unpredictable when Bloom is accused of yet more outlandish offenses and for having rumoured sexual abnormalities. Bloom is then declared a woman, and spontaneously gives birth to eight children. Zoe then reappears, signalling the end of the hallucination, with only a second having actually passed since she last spoke.
After Bloom is led inside the brothel and sees Stephen, another hallucination begins with the arrival of Lipoti Virag, who lectures Bloom about sexual attitudes and conduct. Then, the owner of the brothel, Bella Cohen, appears, and is then credited as "Bello," who proceeds to dominate and humiliate Bloom. In this hallucination, Bloom proceeds to "die". After his "death" he converses with the nymph from the picture in the Blooms’ bedroom, who berates Bloom for his fallibility. Bloom, regaining a degree of triumphant confidence, stands up to the nymph, questioning her own sexual attitudes.
Bloom then returns to reality, finding Bella Cohen before him. Bloom takes his lucky potato from Zoe and Stephen pays for the services received, in his drunken state, paying far more than necessary. Seeing this, Bloom confiscates the rest of Stephen's money. Another hallucination starts, involving Bloom watching Boylan and Molly fornicate. Returning to consciousness, Bloom finds Stephen dancing to the pianola. Another hallucination then starts, this time Stephen's, in which the rotting cadaver of his mother rises up from the floor to confront him, a manifestation of his own guilt and lingering uncertainty over his role in his mother's death. Terrified, Stephen uses his walking stick to smash a chandelier. Bloom quickly repays Bella, who demands more than is fair for the damage, then runs after Stephen, worried for his safety.
Bloom quickly finds Stephen engaged in a heated argument, and Dedalus gets punched and knocked out. The police arrive and the crowd disperses. Bloom tends on and checks Stephen, as an apparition of Rudy, Bloom's deceased child, appears, underlining the parental feelings Leopold has built up toward the younger Stephen.
In short, this episode is the longest in the novel yet occurs within a rather short time-frame. Molly's letter from Boylan and Bloom's from Martha are reworked into a series of seductive letters ending in a trial. Bloom's sexual infidelities, beginning with Lotty Clarke and ending with Gerty McDowell, are relived and reconciled.
The first sentence begins with Molly expressing annoyance and surprise that Bloom has asked her to serve him breakfast in bed, as it is he that usually does this for her, (such as in the fourth episode, Calypso). She then guesses that Bloom has had an orgasm today, and is reminded of his past possible infidelity with other women. In turn, she thinks of her afternoon spent with Boylan, whose conventional and masculine lovemaking technique provided a welcome change after a decade of celibacy and Bloom's strange lovemaking techniques.Yet, Molly feels Bloom is more virile than Boylan and remembers how handsome Bloom was when they were courting. Reminded of Josie and the mentally unstable Denis Breen's marriage, Molly feels that she and Bloom are lucky, despite the current marital difficulties.
In Molly's second sentence, she reflects upon her previous and current admirers: Boylan; the tenor Bartell D’Arcy, who she was kissed by in a church; Lt. Gardner, who died during Boer War. Molly then thinks about her husband's underwear fetish. She then thinks about seeing Boylan on Monday and their upcoming trip to Belfast alone. She then thinks of her career: concert singing, and Bloom's help. Thinking about her future meetings with Boylan, Molly decides that she must lose weight. She thinks about how Bloom should quit his advertising job at Freeman and get better paid work elsewhere, like in an office. But then remembers having to plead with Mr. Cuffe, a previous employer for Bloom's job back after he was fired, which was refused.
Moving onto the third sentence, Marion thinks of the time Bloom suggested she pose naked in exchange for money, and of pornographic imagery, which she associates with the nymph painting that Bloom used to explain the concept of metempsychosis earlier this morning. Her thoughts once again turn to Boylan and of her orgasm earlier.
Molly's fourth sentence begins with a train whistle and her Gibraltar childhood, her companions there, and recollections of how she had resorted to writing herself letters after they left, out of boredom and loneliness. Molly then thinks about how Milly sent her a card this morning, whereas her husband received a whole letter. She imagines that she may receive another love letter from Boylan, as she did earlier.
This line of thought leads to the next sentence, in which she recalls her first love letter, from Lieutenant Mulvey, whom she kissed under the bridge in Gibraltar. She later lost contact with him and wonders what he would be like now. Her thoughts turn again to her career, and she remains dismissive of silly girl singers. Molly wonders what path her career could have taken had she not married Bloom.
In her sixth sentence, Molly thinks again about Milly and how it was Bloom's idea to send Milly to Mullingar to learn photography, because he sensed Molly and Boylan's impending affair. She feels that Milly has become as Molly used to be. Molly senses the start of her period, confirmation that her tryst with Boylan has not caused a pregnancy. Events of the day spent with Boylan run through her mind.
In her seventh sentence, Molly climbs quietly back into bed and thinks of the times she and Bloom have had to relocate. Their financial situation makes Molly worry that Leopold may have wasted money on another woman, or on the Dignam family out of pity. Her mind then turns to Stephen, whom she met during his childhood. She predicts that Stephen is probably not stuck-up, and is most likely clean. Furthermore, she fantasizes about future sexual encounters with him, including fellatio. Molly resolves to study before meeting him so he will not look down upon her.
In her eighth sentence, Molly thinks of her husband's strange habits, how he never embraces her, instead kissing her bottom, like he did earlier. Molly speculates that the world would be much improved if it consisted of Matriarchal Societies, run exclusively by women. She thinks again of Stephen, and of his mother's death, and that of Rudy's death, she then ends this line of thought as it is making her depressed. Molly thinks about arousing Bloom in the morning, then revealing the details of her affair Boylan to make him realize his culpability. Molly then decides to procure some flowers, in case Stephen Dedalus decides to come around. Thinking of flowers, Molly thinks of the day she and Bloom spent at Howth, his marriage proposal, and her response, reaffirming her love for Leopold, even during a period of turbulence within the marriage.
The concluding period following the final words of her reverie is one of only three punctuation marks in the chapter, the others being after the fourth and eighth "sentences." When written this episode contained the longest "sentence" in English literature, 4,391 words expressed by Molly Bloom.
Written over a seven-year period from 1914 to 1921, the novel was serialised in the American journal The Little Review from 1918 until the publication of the Nausicaä episode led to a prosecution for obscenity. In 1919, sections of the novel also appeared in the London literary journal The Egoist, but the novel itself was banned in the United Kingdom until the 1930s. In 1920 after the US magazine The Little Review serialized a passage of the book dealing with the main character masturbating, a group called the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, who objected to the book's content, took action to attempt to keep the book out of the United States. At a trial in 1921 the magazine was declared obscene and as a result Ulysses was banned in the United States. In 1933, the publisher Random House arranged to import the French edition and have a copy seized by customs when the ship was unloaded, which it then contested. In United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, U.S. District Judge John M. Woolsey ruled on December 6, 1933 that the book was not pornographic and therefore could not be obscene. Woolsey's decision has been called "epoch-making" by Stuart Gilbert,, and "among the most civilized ever handed down by an American Court." The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling in 1934.
The publication history of Ulysses is disputed and obscure. There have been at least eighteen editions, and variations in different impressions of each edition. Notable editions include the first edition published in Paris on 2 February 1922 by Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare and Company (only 1000 copies printed), the pirated Roth edition, published in New York in 1929, the Odyssey Press edition of 1932 (including some revisions by Stuart Gilbert, and therefore sometimes considered the most accurate edition); the 1934 Random House US edition, the first English edition of the Bodley Head in 1936, the revised Bodley Head Edition of 1960, the revised Random House edition of 1961 (reset from the Bodley Head 1960 edition), and the Gabler edition of 1984.
According to Joyce scholar Jack Dalton, the first edition of Ulysses contained over two thousand errors but was still the most accurate edition published. As each subsequent edition attempted to correct these mistakes, it incorporated more of its own. Hans Walter Gabler's 1984 edition was an attempt to produce a corrected text, but it has received much criticism, most notably from John Kidd. Kidd's main theoretical criticism is of Gabler's choice of a patchwork of manuscripts as his copy-text (the base edition with which the editor compares each variant). This choice is problematic, in that there is no unified manuscript as such: Joyce wrote approximately 30% of the final text as marginal notes on the typescripts and proof sheets. Perhaps more confusing is the fact that for hundreds of pages the extant manuscript is merely a 'fair copy' Joyce made for sale to a patron. For about half the chapters of Ulysses Joyce's final draft is lost. For these, the existing typescript is the last witness. Gabler attempted to reconstruct what he called 'the continuous manuscript text', which had never physically existed, by adding together all of Joyce's accretions from the various sources. This allowed Gabler to produce a 'synoptic text' indicating the stage at which each addition was inserted. Kidd and even some of Gabler's own advisers believe this method meant losing Joyce's final changes in about two thousand places. Far from being 'continuous', the manuscripts seem to be opposite. Jerome McGann describes in detail the editorial principles of Gabler in his article for the journal Criticism, issue 27, 1985. Still other commentators have charged that Gabler's perhaps spurious changes were motivated by a desire to secure a fresh copyright and another seventy-five years of royalties beyond a looming expiration date.
In June 1988 John Kidd published 'The Scandal of Ulysses' in the New York Review of Books, charging that not only did Gabler's changes overturn Joyce's last revisions, but in another four hundred places Gabler failed to follow any manuscript whatever, making nonsense of his own premises. Kidd accused Gabler of unnecessarily changing Joyce's spelling, punctuation, use of accents, and all the small details he claimed to have been restoring. Instead, Gabler was actually following printed editions such as that of 1932, not the manuscripts. More fatally, Gabler was found to have made genuine blunders, the most famous being his changing the name of Dubliner Harry Thrift to 'Shrift' and cricket hero Captain Buller to Culler. (These 'corrections' were undone by Gabler in 1993.)
In December 1988, Charles Rossman's 'The New Ulysses: The Hidden Controversy' for the New York Review revealed that Gabler's own advisers felt too many changes were being made, but that the publishers were pushing for as many alterations as possible. Then Kidd produced a 174-page critique that filled an entire issue of the Papers of the Bibiographical Society of America, dated the same month. This 'Inquiry into Ulysses: The Corrected Text' was the next year published in book format and on floppy disk by the James Joyce Research Center at Boston University, which Kidd founded and led from 1988 to 2000.
In 1990 Gabler's American publisher Random House quietly brought back its 1961 version, and in the United Kingdom the Bodley Head press revived its 1960 version. In both the UK and USA, Everyman Books, too, republished the 1960 Ulysses. In 1992 Penguin dropped Gabler and reprinted the 1960 text. The Gabler version is at present only available from Vintage International. From one hundred percent of world paperback sales in 1986-1990, the Gabler edition has dropped to perhaps ten percent of the market. Reprints of the imperfect 1922 first edition are now widely available, despite Gabler's (often disputed) claim that it had 'five thousand errors'.
The unabridged text of Ulysses has been performed by Jim Norton, with Marcella Riordan. This recording was released by Naxos Records on 22 audio CDs in 2004. It follows an earlier abridged recording with the same actors.
In 1958, a stage adaptation of the novel, named Ulysses in Nighttown, was produced, starring Zero Mostel. The play incorporated many of the dialog-heavy parts of the novel, and much like it began at the tower in Sandycove and ended with Molly's soliloquy. It was revived in the 1970s.
In 1974, chapter 15 was staged in the Polish Teatr Ateneum under the name of New Bloomusalem. It was staged again in 1999 in Teatr Narodowy (National Theater). Both plays were directed by Jerzy Grzegorzewski.
On Bloomsday 1982, the Irish National Broadcaster RTÉ aired a full-cast dramatised radio production of Ulysses, that ran uninterruptedly for 29 hours and 45 minutes, being perhaps the longest radio programme ever made. It has been commercially released on CD and mp3.
Each June 16, Symphony Space in New York City performs as a staged reading, over the entire day, many passages from the book. It culminates with a guest star reading the final chapter, ending roughly at midnight.
Samuel Rosenberg, in his book Naked is the Best Disguise, noted similarities between the section in which Bloom tracks Dedalus and a section in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet. Rosenberg also notes other references to Doyle's writings.
Joyce once said of Ulysses 'I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.' The passage of nearly a century has changed Joyce's Dublin, but many of the places and landmarks featured in Ulysses may still be found, such as the Martello tower where the novel begins (now a Joyce museum) and Davy Byrne's pub. Indeed, walking around the city as Bloom and Dedalus did, one can still get a sense of how the city influenced Joyce's novel.
The soliloquy is quoted by the Firesign Theatre on their album How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All.
The well-read Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger describes his relationship with one time mistress Madeline with a reference to the novel. "To be with her was an adventure, just to sit atop a bus with her was like setting out on Ulysses." Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson's The Illuminatus! Trilogy owes a heavy debt to Ulysses and Joyce, who is mentioned many times in the novels. A female monologue late in the third book is a paraphrasing of Molly's soliloquy, ending instead in 'No'.
The soliloquy is featured in a Rodney Dangerfield movie, Back to School, wherein it is read aloud to a college English class by Dr. Diane Turner (played by Sally Kellerman). Her passionate reading causes the over-excited Thornton Melon (played by Mr. Dangerfield) to blurt out 'YES! YES!' during the class.
Joyce's legacy has also extended to musicians such as Syd Barrett, who recorded a version of Joyce's poem Golden Hair on his solo debut The Madcap Laughs, and, most notably in regards to Ulysses, Kate Bush, whose song The Sensual World has lyrics entirely lifted or paraphrased from Molly's soliloquy.
The Libertines' debut single What a Waster also makes reference to the 'unabridged Ulysses'.
On the seventh track of Sonic Youth's album Evol, Kim Gordon sings, 'I am the boy, that can enjoy, invisibility'. This is taken directly from the Telemachus episode.
In John Ford's The Quiet Man Michaleen Oge Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald) said the words "Its a Home Miracle" to Hugh Forbes (Charles B. Fitzsimons) in the pub when he hears the news that Sean Thornton (John Wayne) was walking through fields and countryside dragging Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara) to the final fight scene with Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen). "Home Miracle" being a reference to Homer's Odyssey, Sean Thornton's long walk draws a parallel with Leopold Bloom's long walk through Dublin. Dance artist Amber also used parts of Molly's soliloquy for the chorus of her 2001 single Yes.
In the Mel Brooks films and stage musical The Producers, one of the characters' names is Leopold (Leo) Bloom, and the day on which he and Max Bialysctock meet is, indeed, June 16. In the 2005 Musical version of the Film, Leo Bloom, played by Matthew Broderick, asked 'when is it going to be Bloom's day?' - in reality, that day was Bloom's day.
In the Robert De Niro film The Good Shepherd, Matt Damon's character Edward Wilson (director of CIA counter-intelligence) code names Russia's head of counter-intelligence as 'Ulysses'. 'Ulysses' refers to Edward Wilson as 'Mother'. The book makes several appearances throughout the movie.It is inside the book binding Wilson finds a passport and escape plan for Valentine,evidence that he is a Soviet spy.
The Richard Linklater film Before Sunrise is set on June 16, 1994, which is exactly 90 years after the original Bloomsday. There are some other obvious references to the book throughout the movie. In his earlier movie "Slacker", a passage from it was read on the bridge after the typewriter was throw over.
The hit comic song by Allan Sherman, Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh has the lines "The Head Coach wants no sissies, so he reads to us from something called Ulysses." The song is about a child writing home to his parents from summer camp. Desperate to be taken home, he tries to persuade them that he is in physical and moral danger as long as he remains at Camp Granada.
Minnesota based folk-rock singer Mason Jennings has a song title Ulysses on his 2004 album named Use Your Voice, the song is about the singer's search for the book.