James not the most influential novel of the

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James not the most influential novel of the

        James
Joyce’s novel “Ulysses” is by many critic’s thoughts one of the most
influential if not the most influential novel of the 20th century. He
used a “stream-of-consciousness” style of writing with which he enabled every
reader to follow the character’s inner thoughts, Bloom’s actions and desires,
his needs and his inner state. He and his piece of work is credited with
“stepping outside of the box” and moving from outdated and contemporary ideas
concerning the roles of novels and what a novel could actually do among its
readers. His style of writing and his ideas show us that he, more than his
other contemporary writers, came to a conclusion that the way in which an
author writes his work, determines what the writer is capable of writing about.
He instead of being limited by them decided to use several different writing
styles in his work and try to master them. Although Ulysses is best known for
stream of consciousness, the style of novel is flexible, and that allows the
writer to change the form of writing according to the content of his writing.
He dared to “step out of the box” and take and ordinary man to represent a
heroic figure in his novel. He somehow managed to reveal to us, his readers,
that ordinary can be extraordinary. That is one of the reasons why people
should still read Ulysses and why people consider it to be a masterpiece of his
time.

        James Augustine Aloysius
Joyce, born in Dublin, was an Irish short story writer, novelist and poet. He
is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential authors of the

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20th century. With his novel Ulysses and usage of
stream-of-consciousness as a writing style, he became known; he became “famous”
in literary world. He came from a big family, and was the eldest of then
children. His father was a very talented singer, but had problems with alcohol
so he couldn’t always provide for his family. Nevertheless, because of his
intelligence, Joyce’s family pressed him to get an education and somehow
managed to get the needed money. Not only did he show extraordinary
intelligence, he also had a gift for writing and great passion for all literary
work which is seen through the fact that he, burning with desire to read Henrik
Ibsen’s works, taught himself Norwegian language. He published his first book
called Dubliners in 1914, and it consisted of 15 short stories. Later he wrote
another book, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” after which Ezra Pound
praised his unusual style. In 1914, after Dubliners, he started writing a novel
which, he was not aware of at that time, but would make him worldwide famous,
and that novel is called Ulysses.

        In the Ulysses, the story
takes place on the date 16th June 1904, which is the same date he
met his future wife Nora. The novel recounts a story about three main
characters, Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Along with
that, this novel represents modern version of Homer’s Odyssey, with three
central characters that serve as a modern substitution of Ulysses, Penelope and
Telemachus.

        The revolutionary “stream
of consciousness” style Joyce used enabled every single reader not only to
follow Bloom’s actions, but to also be a part of his inner world. Even though
he did not invent it, he was brave enough to use it and make it modern. He
makes us become in a way intimately familiar with thoughts and states of his
character, no matter how scattered or partial they may be. The writer managed
not only to do this but to also move this journey from the sphere of external
experiences to the sphere of the inner ones, the sphere of the mind, and while
doing so he makes a hero out of a typical urban man.

        As said in previous
paragraphs, for that time in which Joyce lived, to take an ordinary man and
portray him as a hero in Aristotelian terms, took a lot of courage and
imagination to do. We are not talking about stereotypical “perfect” hero, but
rather about good but not so perfect person who we can all, in some way,
relate. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest novels of the 20th
century, and its greatness is shown with the fact that even today, a century
later, the novel is still read and discussed. Even though a century has already
passed, people who have read Ulysses can without a doubt still empathize with
Leopold Bloom.

        Moreover, not only did
Joyce succeed to almost break out of the “realm of realism”, by portraying an
ordinary man into a tragic hero, he managed to capture his city, Dublin, in a way
that every writer would feel envy of him and his piece of art. Taking him as an
example, many artists tried to recreate their own homelands, but only few of
them managed to do as nearly good job as Joyce did.

        While reading through
chapters of “Ulysses”, we come across parts where Joyce puts events from
everyday life, side by side to mythology and Greek poetry. He uses pub songs
and the ad slogans that pop up in different chapters in the novel. With those
pictures he shows his readers that their everyday lives pursue classic
patterns. He wanted to teach us that we don’t have to go to museums or theatres
to look for culture, culture can be found everywhere, even in mundane, plain
activities.    

        In the very beginning, “Ulysses”
was meant to be one of the short stories in Joyce’s first book called “Dubliners”.
It supposed to be based on an actual experience that the writer had during his
lifetime. It should originally be about a literate youthful teacher who had a
quarrel with an English police officer and was protected by a Jewish man. As we
know, after he started to write it down it simply outgrew the short story and
became a novel of its own. Even though it is a very hard book to read, we
should be pleased that he decided to write “Ulysses” as a novel and not as a
short story because it maybe wouldn’t have as much importance as it has today,
and maybe he wouldn’t be able to teach us so many things as he did in the end.
The form of a novel gave him enough space to perfect the writing style; stream
of consciousness, and to teach us that even we, ordinary people can be
extraordinary, just like Leopold Bloom.

        As we know, Joyce’s “Ulysses”
was first published in Paris in 1922, but before the novel was published as a
whole, it was serialized in an American journal in 1918. When the time came to
publish the chapter from the novel called “Nausicaa”, the publication was accused
of vulgarity and was censored until 1933 when a judge decided that the book was
not  pornographic nor vulgar but simply revolutionary.
The U.S. was not the only country that banned this book, even his homeland considered
it obscene.

        Why am I writing all this
information?  Simply to show you that
Joyce was truly ahead of his time, he was thinking “outside of the box” and in
that way showed the entire world, not just his contemporary writers and
readers, but to us also, that we should be courageous and we shouldn’t fear to
be “Big”. Meaning that we shouldn’t be afraid to shake things up and
revolutionize a field we enjoy working at, even more today in the 21st
century than in the past, we could really use those advices. Should we wonder
why he decided to explore big situations through small happenings in everyday
lives and why he was so eager to show us that common people can be big and
meaningful? Maybe he just wanted to write something new, unseen in the literature
at that time or maybe he wanted to show us that big things can happen to small
people if we just have courage to do so. Just like he did in his works, just
like he did in “Ulysses”, giving his language power to say anything he wanted,
without being constrained by any style or form or time he was living in. It is
known that the tradition of writing great and famous literature begins all the
way back with Homer and the Greeks after them it moved to Chaucer, Shakespeare
and other English writers, so for most Irishmen, literature before Joyce was
not something that belonged to them. That’s why Joyce and his work still has
strong significance among people in the 21st century. He showed by
writing one of the greatest novels in the English language that we shouldn’t be
afraid of the unknown and try just like Leopold Bloom to be our own Aristotelian
heroes, good and moral but not perfect. 

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