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First edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, published by Paris-Shakespeare, 1922. The color of the cover was meant to match the blue of the Greek flag.
Author James Joyce
Language English
Genre Modernist novel
Set in Dublin, 16–17 June 1904
Publisher Shakespeare and Company
Publication date
2 February 1922
Media type Print: hardback
Pages 732
LC Class PR6019.O8 U4 1922
Preceded by A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 
Text Ulysses (novel) at Wikisource

Ulysses is a modernist novel by Irish writer James Joyce. Parts of it were first serialized in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and the entire work was published in Paris by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, Joyce's fortieth birthday. It is considered one of the most important works of modernist literature and has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire movement." According to Declan Kiberd, "Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking."

Ulysses chronicles the appointments and encounters of the itinerant Leopold Bloom in Dublin in the course of an ordinary day, 16 June 1904. Ulysses is the Latinised name of Odysseus, the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, and the novel establishes a series of parallels between the poem and the novel, with structural correspondences between the characters and experiences of Bloom and Odysseus.


Joyce first encountered the figure of Odysseus/Ulysses in Charles Lamb's Adventures of Ulysses, an adaptation of the Odyssey for children, which seems to have established the Latin name in Joyce's mind. At school he wrote an essay on the character, titled "My Favourite Hero". Joyce told Frank Budgen that he considered Ulysses the only all-round character in literature. He thought about calling his short-story collection Dubliners Ulysses in Dublin, but the idea grew from a story written in 1906, to a "short book" in 1907, to the vast novel he began in 1914.


Manchester John Rylands Library James Joyce 16-10-2009 13-55-16
Ulysses, Egoist Press, 1922

Ulysses is divided into the three books (marked I, II, and III) and 18 episodes. The episodes do not have chapter headings or titles, and are numbered only in Gabler's edition. In the various editions the breaks between episodes are indicated in different ways; e.g., in the Modern Library edition each episode begins at the top of a new page.

Many parts of the book may seem chaotic and disorganized at first; Joyce said he had "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 [e]nsuring one's immortality".

Publication history

Paris Rue de l Odeon 12 plaque retouched
Memorial plaque, at 12 Rue de l'Odéon, Paris (the original location of Shakespeare and Company): "In 1922, in this house, Sylvia Beach published Ulysses by James Joyce. J.J.S.S.F." (James Joyce Society of Sweden and Finland)"
James Joyce Ulysses 1st Edition 1922 GB
Ulysses by James Joyce, Paris : Shakespeare, 1922

The publication history of Ulysses is complex. There have been at least 18 editions, and variations in different impressions of each edition.

According to Joyce scholar Jack Dalton, the first edition of Ulysses contained over 2,000 errors. As subsequent editions attempted to correct these mistakes, they would often add more, due in part to the difficulty of separating non-authorial errors from Joyce's deliberate "errors" devised to challenge the reader.

Media adaptations


Ulysses in Nighttown, based on Episode 15 ("Circe"), premiered off-Broadway in 1958, with Zero Mostel as Bloom; it debuted on Broadway in 1974.

In 2006, playwright Sheila Callaghan's Dead City, a contemporary stage adaptation of the book set in New York City, and featuring the male figures Bloom and Dedalus reimagined as female characters Samantha Blossom and Jewel Jupiter, was produced in Manhattan by New Georges.

In 2012, an adaption was staged in Glasgow, written by Dermot Bolger and directed by Andy Arnold. The production first premiered at the Tron Theatre, and later toured in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, made an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival, and was performed in China. In 2017 a revised version of Bolger's adaption, directed and designed by Graham McLaren, premiered at Ireland's National Theatre, The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, as part of the 2017 Dublin Theatre Festival. It was revived in June 2018, and the script was published by Oberon Books.

In 2013, a new stage adaptation of the novel, Gibraltar, was produced in New York by the Irish Repertory Theatre. It was written by and starred Patrick Fitzgerald and directed by Terry Kinney. This two-person play focused on the love story of Bloom and Molly, played by Cara Seymour.


In 1967, a film version of the book was directed by Joseph Strick. Starring Milo O'Shea as Bloom, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

In 2003, a movie version, Bloom, was released starring Stephen Rea and Angeline Ball.


In 1988, the episode "James Joyce's Ulysses" of the documentary series The Modern World: Ten Great Writers was shown on Channel 4. Some of the novel's scenes were dramatised. David Suchet played Leopold Bloom.

In September 2022, the episode "James Joyce's Ulysses" of the documentary series Arena, was shown on BBC.


On Bloomsday 1982, RTÉ, Ireland's national broadcaster, aired a full-cast, unabridged, dramatised radio production of Ulysses, that ran uninterrupted for 29 hours and 45 minutes.

The unabridged text of Ulysses has been performed by Jim Norton with Marcella Riordan. Naxos Records released the recording on 22 audio CDs in 2004. It follows an earlier abridged recording with the same actors.

On Bloomsday 2010, author Frank Delaney launched a series of weekly podcasts called Re:Joyce that took listeners page by page through Ulysses, discussing its allusions, historical context and references. The podcast ran until Delaney's death in 2017, at which point it was on the "Wandering Rocks" chapter.

BBC Radio 4 aired a new nine-part adaptation dramatised by Robin Brooks and produced/directed by Jeremy Mortimer, and starring Stephen Rea as the Narrator, Henry Goodman as Bloom, Niamh Cusack as Molly and Andrew Scott as Dedalus, for Bloomsday 2012, beginning on 16 June 2012.

Comedy/satire recording troupe The Firesign Theatre ends its 1969 album "How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All?" with a male voice reciting the final lines of Molly Bloom's soliloquy.


The music CD Classical Ulysses was launched by the James Joyce Society in Dublin for the Bloomsday100 celebrations in 2004. It contained recorded versions of the classical music mentioned in the book.

Kate Bush's song "Flower of the Mountain" sets to music the end of Molly Bloom's soliloquy.

Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) is an electroacoustic composition for voice and tape by Luciano Berio. Composed between 1958 and 1959, it is based on the interpretative reading of the poem "Sirens" from chapter 11 of the novel. It is sung/voiced by Cathy Berberian. Umberto Eco, a lifelong admirer of Joyce, also contributed to its realisation.


Jacob M. Appel's novel The Biology of Luck (2013) is a retelling of Ulysses set in New York City. It features an inept tour guide, Larry Bloom, whose adventures parallel those of Leopold Bloom through Dublin.

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ulises (novela) para niños

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