Well, as I (semi-)predicted a few posts ago, I’m dipping into Ulysses again.

1) There’s what looks like a very interesting exhibition about the book’s 100th anniversary at The Morgan Library. I plan to go.

2) I studied James Joyce in college. As I recall, it was a summer course, the only course I took that summer, meeting four times a week — so it was a fairly intense few weeks.

Since then, when returning to Ulysses, I’ve tended to dip in and pop around, re-reading my favorite episodes and avoiding the annoying ones. I feel somewhat guilty about this, or at least I think (sometimes) that I should feel guilty about it, but I have college credentials which attest to the fact that I did read once the whole farkakte book from beginning to end.

3) Speaking of annoying, as I get older I find Stephen Dedalus more and more intolerable. What an angsty boy.

On the other hand, Leopold Bloom is as wonderful as ever — maybe even more so as the years go by.

4) My favorite episode is probably “Wandering Rocks.” Every new writing project I’ve started has included a note to think about doing a version of “Wandering Rocks.” This is usually impossible, because I’m so often in first person (and I think I’m done with novels now anyway), but I did a sort-of version once, in the middle of the novel U-town.

5) There are many editions of Ulysses. The original edition, published in 1922, by the bookstore Shakespeare & Company in Paris, was apparently typeset by compositors who didn’t speak English (let alone English as it was practiced by James Joyce), and who also reportedly drank wine with lunch. It has a lot of errors.

There have been attempts since to fix those errors, in various newer editions, but reports are that each attempt has also introduced new errors.

I like to read the original version. Exact duplicates are available, with the classic blue cover, and I’ve found that accidental typos made by francophone typesetters, perhaps a bit buzzed in the afternoon hours, are easier to catch while reading than the sorts of errors which can be created by well-meaning professional editors.

Plus, the original pages are pleasant to read. The typeface is good, and there are appropriate margins. One more recent edition I have appears to have been laid out during a paper shortage, since they seemed to have been making every effort to cram as many words as they could onto each page — readability be damned.

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