The young poet Stephen has been recalled from Paris to Dublin to be at his mother’s deathbed. But he refuses her dying wishes: to kneel and pray for her. Now, holed up in his Martello tower outside the city walls, he has to suffer the taunts of Buck Mulligan by day and, by night, the vision of ‘her eyes, shaking out of death to shake and bend my soul.’ Timelessly evocative, Ulysses is far more than the story of Stephen Dedalus’ journey through Dublin.
It is a huge, rich portrayal of human life. In this magnificent, highly accessible, part reading part dramatisation - which includes the famous Molly Bloom soliloquy - the power and truth of Joyce’s vision is as potent as ever. Ulysses stars Stephen Rea and Sinead Cusack, with an introduction by Seamus Heaney.
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Appreciating Ulysses for the first time
One of the very best purchases I have made from Audible. Ulysses was meant to be read out loud, not to be read silently; this performance does it justice. I never would have read the whole book without having had this performance to get the ball rolling.
Ulysses deserves its reputation as the greatest novel of the twentieth century. The reader does need additional aids in order to follow what Joyce was doing with his narrative, and listening to the performance is good preparation for sitting down with the book and with at least two commentaries. I think that The New Bloomsday Book by Harry Blamires and Ulysses Annotated by Don Gifford are indespensible for anyone who was not living in Dublin in 1904, and that means most of us/
I have seen Stephen Rea on screen in a couple of films, where he performed his part quite well. Reading aloud is part of what any first-rate actor needs to be able to do, and he reads this with genuine understanding and skill
I think that Ulysses (Dramatised) works quite well. Ulysses Made Funny might also be appropriate, but the book was funny the whole time. This performance brings out the tremendous amount of humor which I never appreciated while reading silently to myself. "An entry into Ulysses" could also be a good title.
The performance is greatly enhanced by two devices: having a number of different voices, and by having some audio enhancements, such as music here and there. Ulysses is full of musical references, only a few of which are captured in this performance. In the Circe episode especially, the interaction of sound and drama makes the whole thing flow along powerfully.
The multitude of voices, male and female, add greatly to the quality of the production. If the listener goes to the "Nausicaa" episode, the rewards of doing so will be considerable. A skilled actress reads the first part, which takes place inside the mind of the young Gerty MacDowell; the freshness and innocence of an adolescent girl lead up to her orgasmic delight at seeing the bursting of the fireworks in the sky. This is a passage that makes everyone who hears it laugh out loud--of course Joyce intended it to be read this way!
Although the production is greatly abridged, and not a substitute for the whole book, it does provide an entry into the book and its lyrical qualities. I cannot recommend it too highly for anyone who has wanted to read the great book but who has become bogged down in its obscurity.