Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Title Page

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Ulysses, 1922.djvu


ULYSSES     Ulysses derives from the Latin Ulyssēs, a frequent error for Ulixēs, influenced by the Ancient Greek Ὀδυσσεύς (Odysseus). Ulixēs was the name by which the Romans knew Odysseus, the hero of the Homeric epic the Odyssey. As a fine Latinist but a comparatively poor Hellenist, Joyce would have been more familiar with the hero as Ulysses than Odysseus. Ulysses is the form used in most of the standard English translations (e.g. George Chapman, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Samuel Butler). Joyce was also familiar from a young age with Charles Lamb's The Adventures of Ulysses.[1] In 1895, when Joyce was in his third year at Belvedere College, he chose Ulysses as his subject for an essay entitled "My Favourite Hero".[2]

In English Ulysses is sometimes stressed on the second syllable, and this is the pronunciation required in most verse translations of the Homeric epics. Joyce, however, always referred to his novel as YOOL-i-seez, with the stress on the first syllable.[3] This pronunciation is sanctioned by the Oxford English Dictionary and is used almost universally in Ireland when one is referring to the book.[4] In his design for the cover of the 1949 Random House edition of Ulysses, the American artist Edward McKnight Kauffer emphasized the initial UL, "giving graphic form to the phonetic structure of the title with its accent on the first syllable."[5] In the Irish language most polysyllabic words are stressed on the first syllable, and this trait often carries over into our pronunciation of non-Irish words (garage, debris, Godot, Bernard Shaw, etc).

SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY      Shakespeare and Company was a bookstore founded by an American expatriate Sylvia Beach in Paris. It originally opened at 8 Rue Depuytren on 17 November 1919 before moving to larger premises at 12 Rue de l'Odéon in 1922. Joyce first met Beach at a literary soirée at the poet André Spire's house at Neuilly-sur-Seine on 11 July 1920.[6] The following day Joyce visited her bookshop and the two became fast friends. Sylvia Beach went on to publish Ulysses on 2 February 1922.[7]

Rue de l'Odéon     The Rue de l'Odéon is a street in the Odéon quarter of the 6th arrondissement of Paris on the Left Bank. The French poet Adrienne Monier's bookshop, La Maison des amis des livres, was located at No. 7. In 1922 her lover Sylvia Beach moved her bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, to No. 12. On his second visit to Paris in early 1903, Joyce regularly dined at a café in the nearby Carrefour de l'Odéon.[8]


  1. Ellmann, Richard (1982). James Joyce. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 46. 
  2. Gorman, Herbert Sherman (1939). James Joyce. New York: Farrar & Rinehart. p. 45. 
  3. [citation needed]
    Sylvia Beach pronounces it thus in this interview she gave in the 1950s.
  4. "Ulysses". Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition ed.). 1989. 
  5. Drew, Ned; Sternberger, Paul Spencer (2005). By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 11–12. 
  6. Sylvia Beach Parle de James Joyce. Fittingly, Beach first approached Joyce in Spire's library.
  7. Ellmann, Richard (1982). James Joyce. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 488–489. 
  8. Gorman, Herbert Sherman (1939). James Joyce. New York: Farrar & Rinehart. p. 100. 
    Ellmann, Richard (1982). James Joyce. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 123. 
Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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