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Ulysses, Volume 1: Episodes 1-3 | [James Joyce]

Ulysses, Volume 1: Episodes 1-3

Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, 16 June 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: To say I trudged through Ulysses the first time I read it would be an understatement. But this, the first unabridged production of the modern classic, brings Joyce's tale to comprehensible (and even enjoyable) life. Jim Norton reading Joyce's language aloud adds the power and sense that the work deserves, and this recording could very well open the classic up to a whole new realm of fans. —Chris Doheny

Publisher's Summary

Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, 16 June 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another. While Bloom's passionate wife Molly conducts yet another illicit liasion (with her concert manager), Bloom finds himself getting into arguments with drunken nationalists and wild carousing with excitable medical students, before rescuing Stephen Dedalus from a brawl and returning with him to his own basement kitchen.

In the hands of Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan, experienced and stimulating Joycean readers, and carefully directed by Roger Marsh, Ulysses becomes accessible as never before. It is entertaining, immediate, funny, and rich in classical, philosophical, and musical allusion.

This is the first volume of James Joyce's Ulysses. To hear the entire epic day in the lives of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, don't forget to listen to Volume 2 and Volume 3.

(P)2004 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Classics, 2005

"As ambitious and rewarding an audio production as any that exists, an audio experience that truly deserves to be cherished....Readers of Ulysses have long been encouraged to read out loud the more difficult sections for added comprehension and enjoyment of the language. Now, thanks to Naxos, the entire book is available in a performance to savor. It is safe to say that anyone wanting to experience the preeminent work of modern fiction has in this package the perfect audio companion." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (159 )
5 star
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3.9 (31 )
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4.3 (30 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Timothy Cincinnati, OH, USA 03-13-05
    Timothy Cincinnati, OH, USA 03-13-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    "This book shouldn't be"

    I have never read Ulysses, having been scared off by a conversation during college. I figured I'd give it a try for three chapters 35 years later. I really enjoyed the narration, but I was having a little trouble following, so I decided to listen again, only with the text as well, which is available online. And I kept a tab to dictionary.com open at all times. And then I looked up some sites that give an analysis of the book, and I can't wait to get the next installment. I think one of the greatest books in the English language should be approached differntly from .... Take your pick.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Philadelphia, PA, USA 01-13-06
    Jill Philadelphia, PA, USA 01-13-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing recording"

    This recording of Ulysses is simply excellent. The male narrator reads exceptionally well what, as you'll see, is an extremely difficult text to read aloud (particularly the later chapters). He varies his voice in different ways for the many, many different characters, as well as imitates lots of different Irish, English, and American accents. Simply amazing! The female narrator who reads Molly's chapter is likewise fantastic -- particularly for a chapter of 50 or so pages which is printed with only 8 sentence breaks!

    Ulysses is a demanding novel but definitely a rewarding one. This recording really makes it quite accessible. Some of the chapters, actually, are more compelling when heard rather than read from the page. As a first-time reader, I found it very helpful to go one chapter at a time, reading some outside material (like sparknote.com or cliffsnote.com) to help me as I went. TIP: get a copy of Joyce's "schema" for Ulysses -- it's a list of symbols, colors, settings, etc. for each chapter -- and is extremely helpful. Try googling it or looking in Don Gifford's *Ulysses Annotated* (schema items listed at the beginning of the notes for each chapter).

    Enjoy!

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitchel Swampscott, MA, United States 05-09-08
    Mitchel Swampscott, MA, United States 05-09-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "breath of fresh air"

    I was always nervous about trying to read Ulysses. Would I understand it? Could I wade through it? And then someone said to me "you know, it's a very funny book, which is really wonderful when read out loud." So I thought I'd give it a try. And it is wonderful - much better than I had expected. Jim Norton does an incredible job with the accents and the snatches of song and the humor. I admit to not understanding a certain amount of it, but I don't care. It's like listening to music - the language is so beautiful and Joyce has so much fun with sounds, I hardly care what it's about. I just love it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Henry Ellicott City, MD, USA 06-08-06
    Henry Ellicott City, MD, USA 06-08-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Telemachus"

    Outstanding lyrical and dramatic presentation of the first section of Ulysses. Jim Norton properly loses himself as narrator in the remarkable peripatetic flow through the various "realities". My understanding of and affection for the characters, especially Stephen Dedalus and Buck Mulligan, grew while listening to this reading. And, I was treated to a few laugh out loud moments.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John ZurichSwitzerland 12-16-05
    John ZurichSwitzerland 12-16-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easier than reading it"

    Everyone knows that Ulysses is supposed to be impossible to read, it is, I've tried! Here is the answer. This version is beautifully narrated, almost acted, as Jim Norton takes on many different voices. The chatacters really come to life. The story is still difficult to follow but it is easy to appreciate the writing and just listen. In some ways it is like listening to good music, you can just lie back and appreciate it without needing to follow the story. I recommend it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoffrey Mesilla, NM, USA 08-09-05
    Geoffrey Mesilla, NM, USA 08-09-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    10
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    "great reading"

    This is one of the best readings I've heard of any book. Characters sound like characters, not caricatures. To the listener that asked about the length - yes it's 1h54m. It's backwards in terms of "getting what you pay for" but makes sense in terms of the structure of the novel. Vol. 1 is is Stephen Dedalus section, Vol. 2 (the bulk of the novel) is the Leopold Bloom Section, and Vol. 3 is the Molly Bloom section. Think of it as 3 credits ($75) for one of the greatest novels in the English language--unabridged.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. T. Carson Connecticut 04-27-05
    V. T. Carson Connecticut 04-27-05 Member Since 2004

    Audiobook Raven

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating book, when read by great narrators"

    A fascinating, enigmatic novel, filled with elaborate narrative and extended verbal jests to keep you on your toes. Great narration by both readers. Molly Bloom?s monologue is especially well read by Marcella Riordan. The book is also somewhat blasphemous and quite lewd, although covered over by academic terms and many words that you have to look up in a dictionary. I immersed myself in the reading the first time through, then listened to Professor Heffernan?s 24 half-hour lectures (from The Teaching Company), then listened again with the text in front of me. I found the book very amusing, when read to me, and worth the time and effort. Bravo again to the narrators. Up, U.P., Up!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Walford Seattle Area, Washington 06-01-05
    George Walford Seattle Area, Washington 06-01-05 Member Since 2004

    _mr_flibble

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible Narration and Presentation"

    This is incredibly well made, and the voice acting is excellent.

    You should be aware that this is only the first 3 chapters from Ulysses, and therefore it is a "sampler" for the work as a whole. You will have to purchase the other two sets to have the full and unabridged reading of Ulysses, which I currently listening to. In fact, I found that this presentation is easier to follow than the book itself. The strange "free flowing thought" that Joyce uses lends itself exceptionally well to narration and voice acting. Perhaps moreso than any other audiobook I have yet listened to.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Oak View, CA USA 03-01-05
    Amazon Customer Oak View, CA USA 03-01-05 Listener Since 2000
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    14
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    "An hour and 54 minutes"

    This review is just to point out that the listed length of this recording is an hour and 54 minutes, which I don't believe. If it is accurate, I certainly won't spend the money. But it it's a typo,please fix it.

    14 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria KEW, Australia 06-11-12
    Victoria KEW, Australia 06-11-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Living, breathing expressionism"

    Ulysses by James Joyce is universally acknowledged as a difficult read on paper. There's no doubt it's never going to be an easy book but when Jim Norton speaks, he brings such a wide range of characters to life it's like being in Dublin. You may not understand why they're saying what they're saying but at least you can hear the different speakers. Mr Norton has incredible diction, rhythm and control. He immerses the listener into the world of Joyce. I commend Mr Norton for a fantastic performance. He's given me an entree into a detailed impressionistic portrait of a particular time, a city and its citizens. I've listened to part one twice already and can only marvel that Jim Norton has been able to delineate the characters so clearly. Wait till you hear part two and thank goodness Jim's there for us as Joyce just keeps on piling it on!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 17 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Steve
    Newport, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom
    8/8/06
    Overall
    "Ulysses - Outstanding"

    I've had a copy of Ulysses on my shelf for ten years or more and have never found the time or the commitment to get to grips with it. This recording is absolutely wonderful. I listen to nearly all Audible recordings whilst driving and Ulysses has made long journeys pass in an instant. The readers bring the book and characters to life and have had me howling with laughter whilst bowling along the motorways. Clearly this is a book that you can spend a lifetime unwrapping and I begin to see why it is often cited as being the greatest novel of the 20th century. That may be true or not but it is a very fine recording. Buy it.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Francis
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    7/11/06
    Overall
    "Ulysses - the ideal introduction"

    Ulysses can seem a daunting prospect to the reader approaching the novel for the first time. The stream of consciousness technique can seem puzzling and there is a bewildering mixture of styles. Jim Norton's superbly varied reading makes clear in episode after episode what Joyce is doing with language. Each paragraph, each sentence, each word in this reading has clearly been carefully considered and then interpreted with great dramatic skill. The general effect is that this reading provides a continually illuminating interpretation of the text which allows the novel to emerge as the great comical masterpiece and celebration of life that is.

    All the varied people of Dublin on June 16th 1904 are brought vividly to life by Norton. The two principal characters Stephen Daedalus and Leopold Bloom are particularly well characterised. But even the most minor characters are convincingly rendered. Bloom's wife Molly is interpreted by Marcella Riordan - it is a very high compliment to say that on a smaller scale she matches Jim Norton's achievement.

    An episode like the Cyclops brings out particularly well the illumination this reading brings to the text : the contrasts between the crude, 'one -eyed' account of the unnamed narrator, the hilarious parodies of various styles of writing inserted by Joyce, Bloom's ineffectual reasonableness, the Citizen's prejudice and egoism - all these are clear at once to the listener, whereas only the most attentive reading of the text would yield the same insight.

    If anyone is approaching Ulysses the first time or has tried unsuccessfully to enter the world of Bloomsday before, this reading provides an ideal way into the novel, while those who know the novel well will find this reading constantly revealing. It is one of the rare audio books that are more enjoyable with repeated listening.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Francis
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    7/11/06
    Overall
    "Ulysses - the ideal introduction"

    Ulysses can seem a daunting prospect to the reader approaching the novel for the first time. The stream of consciousness technique can seem puzzling and there is a bewildering mixture of styles. Jim Norton's superbly varied reading makes clear in episode after episode what Joyce is doing with language. Each paragraph, each sentence, each word in this reading has clearly been carefully considered and then interpreted with great dramatic skill. The general effect is that this reading provides a continually illuminating interpretation of the text which allows the novel to emerge as the great comical masterpiece and celebration of life that is.

    All the varied people of Dublin on June 16th 1904 are brought vividly to life by Norton. The two principal characters Stephen Daedalus and Leopold Bloom are particularly well characterised. But even the most minor characters are convincingly rendered. Bloom's wife Molly is interpreted by Marcella Riordan - it is a very high compliment to say that on a smaller scale she matches Jim Norton's achievement.

    An episode like the Cyclops brings out particularly well the illumination this reading brings to the text : the contrasts between the crude, 'one -eyed' account of the unnamed narrator, the hilarious parodies of various styles of writing inserted by Joyce, Bloom's ineffectual reasonableness, the Citizen's prejudice and egoism - all these are clear at once to the listener, whereas only the most attentive reading of the text would yield the same insight.

    If anyone is approaching Ulysses the first time or has tried unsuccessfully to enter the world of Bloomsday before, this reading provides an ideal way into the novel, while those who know the novel well will find this reading constantly revealing. It is one of the rare audio books that are more enjoyable with repeated listening.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    GloucesterUnited Kingdom
    7/21/07
    Overall
    "The perfect aid to proper reading"

    I read Ulysses as a 20 year old and 20 years on I'm having a second go. The first time round, what struck me was that the lyrical beauty of the language would lend itself perfectly to just sitting back and having this remarkable work read to you.

    I listened to a couple of hours and found that the stream of consciousness lead me to drift in and out of actually listening to what was being read to me.

    I picked up my copy of the book and started to read along. Wow, what a difference. I never expected that.

    This had to be the perfect way to read Ulysses. The thoughtful, thought-provoking, perfectly paced reading in audio drove the pace of my book reading perfectly while scanning the written words on the page kept my mind concentrated on what Mr Joyce had to say and stopped me drifting away into my own world (20 years ago I remember reading page after page before realising I had taken in nothing).

    This really is the greatest book of the 20th century and this really is a beautiful reading of it. But I suggest that the combined effects of reading the book and listening at the same time are greater than the sum of their parts. Enjoy.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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