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Ulysses (2008) is a modernist novel that documents
the travels and the encounters of its protagonist Leopold Bloom in Dublin on 16th
June 1904. The book on the whole and what it represents was somewhat of a
revolutionary concept with regards to the modernist period, this was because
art and literature of the time was something that was tailored to those of an
upper-class background, due to the complexity and its sheer difficulty to read
and understand. Furthermore, in the time period in which the novel was written,
between 1914 and 1921, it was only the upper class who could afford an
education thus had the ability to read. Ulysses
led to the revolutionising of the modernist period as it was a novel that was
about a day in the life of working class people but was only read by those of a
wealthier background, by doing this, Joyce was able to successfully cater for
both audiences.

The novel gets its title from the “Latinised
name of Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic poem Odyssey, and as Joyce’s
progresses, it manifestly establishes a series of parallels between the poem
and the novel, with structural correspondences  between the characters and experiences of
Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and
Telemachus, in addition to events and themes of the early 20th century context
of modernism, Dublin, and Ireland’s relationship to Britain. 

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In James
Joyce and the Making of Ulysses, he tells Frank Bugden, “I believe I told
you,” said Joyce, “that my book is a modern Odyssey. Every episode in it
corresponds to an adventure of Ulysses…”. The novel is highly allusive and also
imitates the styles of different periods of English literature. Whilst it is
considered as being a key text in the works of modernist literature, it has
been described as “a demonstration and summation of the entire movement”
something which Declan Kiberd claims “no writer of fiction had so foregrounded
the process of thinking before.” In one of his very first critical commentaries
on Finnegan’s Wake, Samuel Beckett suggested about Joyce’s Ulysses that it is a
piece of work that “is not about something. It is something itself. That
something is the body: in the Wake, words do the things that bodies do,
performing rather than describing bodily experience.” Taking this into account,
I aim to explore the idea that James Joyce’s Ulysses is a modernist text that
is 

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