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Hip before its time: Ulysses

The great classics of literature tend to be a bit intimidating, but when you get past that “Great Classic” aura, some of them are surprisingly hip and relatable! This month we’ll be getting into the holiday spirit by putting the LIT into LITerature (and maybe finding some gifts!), starting with a personal favorite of mine—James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Here are the five reasons why Ulysses is one of my all-time favorite books, as well as a surprisingly hip novel:

  1. The irrepressible Leopold Bloom. He is such a great character. In fact he inspired such a great fan following, the holiday celebrating Joyce’s life and writings is named after him: Bloomsday (June 16).
  2. It’s basically fanfiction (and I love fanfiction). The book is modelled after Homer’s Odyssey—a modern Irish retelling of Homer. If you’ve ever read a fanfic where fandom characters are somehow transported to a modern day AU, you’re familiar with the type. I don’t intend that as an insult by any means—and they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  3. Trial by fire. Our very own US Post Office burned copies of Ulysses on grounds of indecency. I think it’s safe to say that Ulysses was ultimately unscathed.
  4. Welcome to Weird Town. Joyce mastered his esoteric style with Finnegans Wake, but his knack for being obscure as a fashion statement is already evident in Ulysses. There’s enough plot and substance that is difficult but far from impossible to get through Ulysses. It certainly is strange at times, however.
  5. Haters gonna hate. Taylor Swift was far from the first to make the observation that the haters are going to keep on hating, In fact, the irrepressible Leopold Bloom (for which see #1) was the victim of haters hatin’ on several occasions throughout Joyce’s novel.

How it got published: Emerged triumphant from the flames
Rating: Hip before its time
Good gift for: Hipsters


Review finished: November 11, 2019
Review posted: November 14, 2019
Review reposted: December 12, 2019

Published inClassics

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