How to unravel one of the 20th Century's most intimidating works of fiction
'I fear those big words, Stephen said, which make us so unhappy.'James Joyce, Ulysses
To celebrate Bloomsday back in 2004, the BBC published a brief online guide to James Joyce's Ulysses. While working at the library I've encountered many a summary and brief guide (though, it must be said, none so brief as this one) but it's probably not surprising that none of them really cut the mustard.
What is most interesting to me is that each summary confines the trajectory of the book to its central narratives, or its plot, in order to render it cohesive and understandable. It's either that or all events and characters are seen in relation to the allegory of Homer's Odyssey. One can't blame critics for doing this, but is does seem to be missing the point in a novel that is so famously rich and complex. But, if you're a busy commuter that doesn't have time for bulky literary tomes, then perhaps the BBC have done you a great service.
You can read the 'irreverent simple chapter-by-chapter guide to the key events, characters and Homeric parallels' by clicking here.