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Ulysses Audiobook

Ulysses

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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, June 16th 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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

(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

3.8 (1321 )
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3.7 (973 )
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4.2 (992 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jefferson 11-27-11
    Jefferson 11-27-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This First-Time Reader Was Intoxicated"

    I???ll rap rapturously about Ulysses, one day in the Dublin life of Joyce???s Odysseus, Leopold Bloom, as divinely read by the inspired Jim Norton. Norton smoothly moves among myriad accents, from the mild educated Irish of Bloom to the thick Irish of drunken local cronies, while ably babbling in British (cockney and upper crust), French, German, Italian, and Spanish accents. He even barks as a dog, meows as a cat, clucks as a hen, burbles as a baby, laughs as a horse, and sings, too, in the voice of whatever character happens to be singing. And Marcella Riordan reads Molly Bloom???s mesmerizing closing monologue with perfect thought and feeling.

    Many things in Ulysses flew by me: the phrases in Latin and modern Romance languages; the references to Irish culture and politics; the identity of the Man in the Macintosh; the stream of consciousness memories and allusions; and the gargantuan vocabulary, by turns lushly sensual, eruditely scientific, beautifully ringing, coarsely slangy, and amusingly anachronistic. It helped to listen first to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the prequel to Ulysses, to ease in to Joyce???s exuberant approach to life and language. And the Naxos notes to Ulysses (downloaded pdf from Audible) helped, giving the chapter-by-chapter Homeric Odyssey titles and brief summaries of the different scenes.

    Finally, I had a weltering, ecstatic experience. Joyce laughs at his flawed, eloquent, and human characters with wry glee, but he also loves them. It's exciting to start each new chapter anticipating what narrative and stylistic antics Joyce will put his people up to next. The novel is an encyclopedic cyclopean paean to life and art: ugly, beautiful, earthy, sublime, sexy, spiritual, sad, funny, ironic, heroic, playful, philosophical, particular, universal, scientific, poetic, honest, artificed, vernacular, elevated, irreverent, moving, challenging, searching, rewarding, and humane.

    A selected list of contents: mastication, alimentation, defecation, imbibition, micturition, expectoration, menstruation, masturbation, prostitution, fornication, copulation, reproduction, delectation, aromatization, introspection, retrospection, altercation, conversation, calculation, impersonation, imagination, hallucination, narration, enumeration, divagation, versification, harmonization, sanctification, transformation, affirmation--yes.

    30 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-17-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What the f@#!?"

    I've been working my way through the classics here on audible. After tackling Moby-Dick, I felt confident that I could take on an even denser novel. Ulysses had an intimidating reputation, and I was ready for a challenge... but I was not ready for this festering pile of nonsense.

    This is not so much a novel, as it is a literary puzzle. This isn't a book to be read, it's a series of sentences that need to be decoded. I hated it instantly. And I'm literally angry at the conga-line of academics that conspired to have this thing labeled as one of The Greats. It isn't. It's a masterbatory exercise by James Joyce, which was lauded as genius by those elite few who were so entrenched in the bubble of high-literature scholarship that they could actually understand pieces of it.

    I listened to the first few chapters, and had the cliff-notes open so that I could understand what was going on. After a little while I decided that it just wasn't worth it. There was no pleasure to be derived from this tale beyond the pleasure of decrypting it. When it comes to that, I'd rather do a crossword puzzle.

    Life is too short to waste time reading (or listening to) Ulysses.

    A brief shout out to the narrator, whose inflections (and singing) were the only things that gave me any hint of what was going on.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Wilmington, DE, USA 04-30-09
    Ed Wilmington, DE, USA 04-30-09 Member Since 2017
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    "Worth the time and effort"

    Superbly done. Some passages benefited from following the text which is available on line. The combination makes "reading" Joyce an extraordinary experience.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 01-08-11
    Rebecca 01-08-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Brings Joyce to life"

    I've decided for awhile that I wanted to read "Ulysses" - which really seems like a marathon for readers. I tried reading it once, and couldn't get the rhythm of the language. Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan's reading helped me over that hurdle. I also had the book in front of me, and I used "Ulysses Annotated" by Don Gifford to help me with all the glorious historical, literature, musical, biblical references, along with the 1904 Dublin slang.

    I would recommend this recording to anybody interested in experiencing the novel that changed literature.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clayton Bosler Kettering OH USA 08-08-12
    Clayton Bosler Kettering OH USA 08-08-12 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How did I get through it?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. It's an exceptionally tedious story.


    What was most disappointing about James Joyce???s story?

    Story? What story?


    What about Jim Norton???s performance did you like?

    Jim did an amazing job of making this impenetrable book vaguely accessible. His aplomb at tackling the rambling sentences was wonderful!


    Any additional comments?

    It's one of the great books, right? A must read. Thank goodness for Jim's narration to help me conquer this behemoth. While 95% of the book I found exceptionally dull and boring, every now and then it really does soar. Perhaps only because you grasp at straws, but I think there were moments that are sublime...

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Nahant, MA, United States 02-22-12
    Christopher Nahant, MA, United States 02-22-12
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    "I can't do it"

    I can't do it. I downloaded this book because it's on all of the Greatest Books of All Time lists. It's too difficult to listen to, although the performance is very good. It's too disjointed and hard to follow unless you're in a quiet room all alone with Cliffsnotes by your side.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Z. Hill West Orange, NJ USA 09-15-11
    H. Z. Hill West Orange, NJ USA 09-15-11 Member Since 2017
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    "This was too much for me"

    I know that Ulysses is one of the most important works of the 20th century and I have always felt I should read it, but, at least for me, it was not a good listen. The narrator is probably excellent. However, his accent was difficult for me to understand so I missed much of the reading. I listen when I am in the car which is probably not the best place to be doing that. The story is somewhat of a jumble. Maybe it is poetry but it would be better to be reading the words on the page rather than trying to understand the plot by listening.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Perth, Australia 02-11-11
    Janice Perth, Australia 02-11-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Exhilarating"

    I could never have read this classic, but as a spoken book with the amazing narration it was achievable. At times it was excruciating, at times exhilarating, like plunging into cold water, or ripping off a band aid, some sections I could only do a minute at a time, I felt a great sense of achievement when I got to the end. If you ever felt compelled to explore this infamous book, this is a great way to do it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard DEKALB, IL, USA 04-28-10
    Richard DEKALB, IL, USA 04-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ulysses - A Great Read, A Great Reading!"

    It was so easy to become engrossed in the characters and the mood of the moment, that I often forgot I was in the middle of this monumental work! Jim Norton's range is remarkable - he made every character's voice as distinct as a fingerprint. He had obviously given careful thought to the sounds of the words, and these sounds rolled off his tongue as though he were making them up. The same goes for Marcella Riordan's characterization of Molly. I'm sure the direction accounted for this as well. I have heard no better audio rendition, and I have heard around a hundred. Reading along simultaneously with the 1984 Gabler edition, some charts, and help from student annotations, I was finally able to complete and enjoy this most essential book. One less accomplishment left before I die!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sallyspal 07-08-14
    Sallyspal 07-08-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I've read much better classics"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing, Jim Norton did a fine job.


    Would you ever listen to anything by James Joyce again?

    I doubt it. Only if forced to and you had a noose nearby so I could choose to end it soon one way or another.


    Which character – as performed by Jim Norton – was your favorite?

    None


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment-
    I have been trying to listen to as many classic books as I can and usually find myself enjoying them very much. I bought this book on recommendation from Audible that it is to become a classic. It may be the last time I ever take in consideration one of their recommendations.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like Robin Williams stand up comedian acts this book is for you. I, however, have never been a fan of Robin Williams stand up acts. Movies are a different story. Anyway, that’s what this book reminds me of; a lot of verbiage going nowhere. I can’t count how many times James Joyce list things and they really don’t add anything to the book but it’s done several times. I’ve listened up to Chapter 18 but am contemplating climbing an electric pole and licking the wires if I have to listen to any more. It seems to me to be a story about a man who either has had sexual relations with women or is dreaming about it. I’m not really sure where it’s going with this but it’s a constant repetitive feature of the book. However, occasionally they throw something in about Jews. Still I’m not sure where it’s going. List, Jews and sexual relations on a constant banner that just haven’t added up to anything in this book and by chapter 18 out of 25 you would think there would be some indication or clue that you might want to hold onto to keep going with this book but for me there is nothing.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • doug
    halstead, United Kingdom
    9/11/12
    Overall
    "Audio magic"

    This is beautifully read. Stunning. When I bought this I was reading 'Dubliners' and now find myself reading that with the narrators voice. It is a work of genius, bringing Joyce's multilayered masterpiece to life.

    Only buy if you have staying power, though the lyrical, poetic prose is a thing of beauty in it self.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • S. W. Holdings
    St Martin
    11/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Forget about multitasking"

    I really wanted to read/listen to this book. Declared by many to be one of the most important novels ever written, it was sort of my personal ambition to read it.
    Unfortunately, this book requires your full attention and as someone else observed, even listening to it while walking is too distracting to follow Joyce's thick narrative, turn gibberish.
    He lost me, couple of hours into the story so entangled and impermeable, that in moments I didn't understand what I am listening to.

    Perhaps I will go back to it, when I am so grown up, I have absolutely nothing else to do, than submerge myself to every word of this story.
    For now, I will keep listening to books that are written for pleasure, rather than for mental work out.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Joff
    Lyme Regis, England
    9/24/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ulysses"

    A weird but vivid description of one day that has made me think about my own individual days. One of the best readings of a book I've listened to. Also I'm pretty sure that every question ever asked on University Challenge about anything pre 1904 is answered in Ulysses. It's all here!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth Sheppard
    4/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Jim Norton is brilliant."

    I can't recommend this audiobook highly enough. Jim Norton is outstanding. Roll on Finnegan's Wake!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • M. Hewitt
    7/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Story? What story? Outstanding..."

    Once I understood that I would never understand what the story or plot is about I loved it. I went to return it a couple of times but persevered and I'm glad I did. Beautifully crafted...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Michael Champion
    Nottinghamsshire UK
    9/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I have done it; with a little help"
    What did you like most about Ulysses?

    I listened and read on Kindle at the same time. If It was under my own steam I would never have made it. The combination worked well for me and is highly recommended.
    This is an important book and to gain access to it to observe the way Joyce turns words over in his hands and plays with the form of language is awesome.
    I can see me repeating this over the years.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ulysses?

    There were some dull and inaccessible episodes in the middle (memorable for the wrong reasons) but overall the pictures that Joyce paints of life in Dublin are what stand out. The various interactions as the day goes on are deep, comedic and give a good insight to the life of the time.


    What about Jim Norton’s performance did you like?

    What a fantastic performance. If you need a sense of his artistry read a section out aloud to someone and then play Norton's performance of the same passage. What skill!
    The numerous accents and various pace of reading are just brilliant.
    I also loved Marcella Riordan's contribution at the end of the book; very philosophical, sad and sensual at the same time.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No Far too long for one sitting


    Any additional comments?

    This has to be the best way to access this classic. Highly recommended

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Amin Amouhadi
    South Africa
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Unfulfilled"

    I couldn't follow the audiobook but I believe it wasn't the audiobook's problem and it was due to the difficulty of the Ulysses. The techniques that Joyce uses in his masterpiece make is a difficult "story" if one just wants to listen to or to read a story. Ulysses is a kind of book that must be read with a lot of pauses and contemplation. if you are willing to hear it so, you could use the audiobook. otherwise my suggestion is to read the book in your sanctuary and then after grasping it try to listen to the audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Luton Beds, United Kingdom
    12/22/12
    Overall
    "Timeless"

    Well read and a total pleasure. If you want to hear one of the greatest classics of the 20th Century - look no further. I would give it 10 stars if I could.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • N Cowan
    Great Yarmouth, norfolk
    4/11/13
    Overall
    "Argh!"

    I'm studying Joyce as part of my degree. I find his short stories engaging, thought provoking and very interesting. I find Ulysses impermiable, impregnable and impossible to get into. Jim Norton does a great job, but the book itself is a pain in the backside. I would recommend only trying this if you have a long summer of sitting in the conservatory concentrating on everything within the book. Joyce is so dense in writing style that any little detail missed can leave you wondering what everyone's talking about. I found any activity - washing dishes, cycling, even walking could lead to minor distractions which would cause me to lose my train of thought.

    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    9/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hateful, potentially a valuable academic exercise?"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different book


    Would you ever listen to anything by James Joyce again?

    I have heard that the Dubliners is more accessible


    Have you listened to any of Jim Norton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Nothing wrong with the narration


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Ulysses?

    I just hated the whole thing. To be fair the beginning of the book was fine, but the idea that the audience should be subjected to every thought that goes through the protagonist's head just was not for me. I gave up in the third part of five.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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