• Ulysses, Volume 1

  • Episodes 1-3
  • By: James Joyce
  • Narrated by: Jim Norton
  • Length: 1 hr and 54 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (183 ratings)

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Ulysses, Volume 1  By  cover art

Ulysses, Volume 1

By: James Joyce
Narrated by: Jim Norton
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Editorial 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.

Critic reviews

  • 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 listeners say about Ulysses, Volume 1

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

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15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

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14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 07-04-07

not worth the $$$

the narrator reveals that (likely) he has never read ulysses, or at least that this might be the very first time.
when did joyce program music to buck mulligan?
wish i could return the thing.

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1 person found this helpful