In Ulysses and Us, Declan Kiberd argues that James Joyce’s Ulysses offers a humane vision of a more tolerant and decent life under the dreadful pressures of the modern world. As much a guide to contemporary life as it is virtuoso work of literary criticism, Ulysses and Us offers revolutionary insights to the scholar and the first-time reader alike.
Leopold Bloom, the half-Jewish Irishman who is the hero of James Joyce’s Ulysses, teaches the young Stephen Dedalus (modelled on Joyce himself) how he can grow and mature as an artist and an adult human being. Bloom has learned to live with contradictions, with anxiety and sexual jealousy, and with the rudeness and racism of the people he encounters in the city streets, and in his apparently banal way sees deeper than any of them. He embodies an intensely ordinary kind of wisdom, Kiberd argues, and in this way offers us a model for living well, in the tradition of the literature upon which Joyce drew in writing Ulysses, such as Homer, Dante and the Bible.
‘Declan Kiberd’s brilliantly informed and highly entertaining advocacy liberates Joyce’s greatest book from the dungeon of unreadable masterpieces.’ Joseph O’Connor