James Joyce's Ulysses is probably the most famous-or notorious-novel published in the twentieth century. Its length and difficulty mean that readers often turn to critical studies to help them in getting the most out of it. But the vast quantity of secondary literature on the book poses problems for readers, who often don't know where to begin. This casebook includes some of the most influential critics to have written on Joyce, such as Hugh Kenner and Fritz Senn, as well as newer voices who have made a considerable impact in recent years. A wide range of critical schools is represented, from textual analysis to historical and psychoanalytic approaches, from feminism to post-colonialism. One essay considers the relation between art and life, nature and culture, in Ulysses, while another explores the implications of the impassioned debates about the proper editing of Joyce's great work. In an iconoclastic discussion of the book, Leo Bersani finds reasons for giving up reading Joyce.
All the contributions are characterized by scrupulous attention to Joyce's words and a sense of the powerful challenge his work offers to our ways of thinking about ourselves, our world, and our language. Also included are records of some of the conversations Joyce had with his friend Frank Budgen during the composition of Ulysses in Zurich, and in an appendix readers will find a version of the schema which Joyce drew up as a guide to his book. Derek Attridge provides an introduction that offers advice on reading Ulysses for the first time, an account of the remarkable story of its composition, and an outline of the history of the critical reception that has played such an important part in our understanding and enjoyment of this extraordinary work.