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Life Arts    H3'ed 3/19/22

Patrick Hastings on James Joyce's Ulysses (REVIEW ESSAY)

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) March 19, 2022: The Irish literary artist James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882-1941) was born and raised in Ireland when it was still under British imperial rule. He wrote about his native homeland in fiction - in the short stories in Dubliners (1914), in the semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), in the experimental semi-autobiographical novel Ulysses (1922), and in the experimental novel Finnegans Wake (1939).

Joyce's famous experimental novel Ulysses was published in 1922 in Paris by the American expatriate Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company Bookstore.

For further information about Sylvia Beach, see (1) her memoir Shakespeare and Company (University of Nebraska Press, 1991); and (2) Noel Riley Fitch's scholarly study Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties (New York: Norton, 1983).

Now, Patrick Hastings (born in 1982) has assembled The Guide to James Joyce's Ulysses (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022), based on years of work on his online website. In Hastings' "Introduction" (pp. 1-8), he says that his new 2022 320-page book "represents an enhanced version of the content of my website, but my intention remains consistent with my initial project: to equip first-time readers with helpful contextual information, to encourage you through the challenges of this novel, to present my best understanding of the book, and to bring good humor to your experience of this unparalleled work of art" (p. 2).

In Hastings' "Acknowledgments" (pp. 261-262), he says, "I am grateful to Marc Conner for guiding my first reading of Ulysses as part of my honors thesis at Washington and Lee University and for being a lifelong role model in teaching, scholarship, and fatherhood" (p. 262).

In Hastings' "Introduction," he also says, "Paradoxically, you need to have read Ulysses in order to read Ulysses. That is, unless you have The Guide to James Joyce's "Ulysses." I'll tell you what a first-time reader needs to know so that you can approach the novel with confidence" (p. 4).

Hastings devotes a chapter in his book to each of the eighteen episodes in Joyce's 1922 book (pp. 11-260), each of which pays homage to certain aspects of the Homeric epic the Odyssey.

(1) "'Telemachus' Guide" (pp. 11-24);

(2) "'Nestor' Guide" (pp. 25-32);

(3) "'Proteus' Guide" (pp. 33-40);

(4) "'Calypso' Guide" (pp. 41-50);

(5) "'Lotus-Eaters' Guide" (pp. 51-59);

(6) "'Hades' Guide" (pp. 60-71);

(7) "'Aeolus' Guide" (pp. 72-82);

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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