|“||I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality.||”|
—Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, Oxford University Press, New York, Revised Edition (1982), p. 521.
James Joyce's novel Ulysses is one of the most allusive works of literature in the Western canon. Ever since its publication in 1922, its encyclopaedic nature and voluminous display of erudition have proved stumbling blocks for many readers. All too often the reader's initial enthusiasm for the book is whittled away at the expense of a growing sense of bewilderment, as a mass of unexplained references and quotations piles up. Bewilderment inevitably gives rise to frustration, and this frustration provides the reader with an excuse to give up.
This wikibook aims to provide the reader of Ulysses with a set of line-by-line annotations and authoritative references which explain Joyce's allusions and allow the reader to enjoy the book without being overwhelmed by a rising tide of incomprehensible minutiae. It is assumed that the reader has read Ulysses at least once before, though first-time readers should also find the annotations useful; but no spoiler alerts will be provided when references are made to other parts of the novel. It is recommended that the first-time reader make a genuine effort to read the work through from cover to cover before seeking assistance from annotations or critical appraisals.
The annotations are being compiled with reference to the original edition (editio princeps) of Ulysses, which was published in Paris on 2 February 1922 by Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company. Subsequent editions of the novel have attempted to correct the many errata of the original, but the 1922 edition possesses a certain historical cachet that no subsequent edition can match. Cross-references are given in a five-digit format that cites the relevant page and line of the 1922 edition: 003.01 refers to the opening line of the novel and 732.22 to the closing line. In this wikibook each page of Ulysses will have its own dedicated page, which will contain both an accurate reproduction of the relevant page of Ulysses and, below it, a comprehensive list of annotations and errata.
This book is under development at Wikibooks, a site providing a collection of open-content textbooks. Anyone can edit this book, and all who are interested in contributing are encouraged to be bold and help to make this one of the most useful books on Ulysses available on the Internet. Please try to ensure that your contributions adhere to the style of existing annotations, and always include complete and authoritative references to support your annotations. Don't forget to add your name or username to the list of contributors.