James Joyce

Why James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ Is ‘The Most Dangerous Book’

We read biographies in order to find out about extraordinary lives in extraordinary times, and they all follow the same formula at their heart: birth, life, and then death. What is smart about Kevin Birmingham’s marvelous new work The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses is that it is not a straightforward biography of a person. Rather, it tells the tale of one landmark book — Ulysses — its birth and still-vital life and what it meant for modernism, publishing, copyright law, and obscenity trials. … Read More

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How to Celebrate Bloomsday Without Totally Embarrassing Yourself

The celebration of holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo has become downright awful in America, thanks mostly to their embrace by drunken masses that have little to no cultural affiliation with the countries where the holidays originated. Bloomsday, which honors James Joyce’s Ulysses, is something of the literary version of those days, but with fewer frat boys throwing up in the streets. It is a fun day on the calendar for Joyce lovers, and even those who couldn’t finish or didn’t understand Ulysses, to celebrate — and it’s just about as official as literary holidays get. … Read More

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Happy Bloomsday! You Must Listen to Frank Delaney’s ‘Re: Joyce’ Podcast on ‘Ulysses’

One of the pleasures of my time spent living upstate was the occasional run-in with Frank Delaney, a man… Read More

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The New Classics: 21 Writers Tell Us Which Books They’d Add to the Canon

What makes a book a classic? We’ve been revisiting the question recently thanks to a piece by Laura Miller at Salon,which explored what makes a book worthy of inclusion in the canon. Should David Foster Wallace be counted among the greats? Does Slaughterhouse-Five stand alongside Ulysses and the novels of Charles Dickens? Do these questions even matter? We asked a handful of critics, writers, and publishing industry people for their take on which new and underrated books should be considered… Read More

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Which Books Should We Stop Calling Classics?

Recently, at Salon, Laura Miller wondered what makes a book a classic, and who gets to say which books should be included in the conversation: do booksellers or online book communities like Goodreads get to make the call? Do critics? Should we consider David Foster Wallace’s work among these classics, even though it’s so recent? Does a canon even exist or matter? … Read More

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10 Authors on James Joyce

Happy birthday to literature’s modernist master, James Joyce. Writers are still finding devastatingly beautiful ways to describe the impact that the Ulysses author continues to have on their work, paying homage to one of the most innovative writers of the twentieth century. Here are ten authors on the Irish novelist’s work, life, and enduring influence. … Read More

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25 Big Novels That Are Worth Your Time

What we love about big novels is that you have to get really comfortable with them. A big page count usually equals a big chunk of time, meaning you need to be a serious reader without a fear of commitment, but with books like Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and Sergio de la Pava’s A Naked Singularity receiving heaps of praise and major literary awards in 2013, there is a very great chance that this year will probably see its share of great novels that tip the scales at over 500 pages. With that, we offer you this list of epic page turners that you may have missed, skipped, or just couldn’t finish the first time, because we believe that bigger can certainly be better, and these books are proof of… Read More

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10 Literary Portraits of a Young Artist

Today marks the 97th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man — a novel that has come to epitomize the journey of the angsty artist on the threshold of becoming. If you never grow tired of reading about isolated figures turning their backs on family dysfunction, religious oppression, and social burdens in the wake of individual consciousness, head past the break. Here are ten other books that explore the interiority of creative passion, unbridled youth, and artistic evolution. … Read More

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20 Famous Authors as Dolls

How best to prove your adoration of a particular writer? Make a doll in their likeness, of course. Or if you’re a little less than crafty, buy one. Or, you know, just look at them on the Internet. This last bit you can accomplish right now. Yes, your favorite authors have been immortalized as everything from action figures to wooden works of art to paper dolls to LEGO figurines, and you’ll find 20 of them after the jump. As an added bonus, many of them are buyable, so if you’re still looking to fill your favorite bookish friend’s holiday stocking, look no further. But be prepared for them to think you’re slightly creepy. … Read More

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50 Essential Novels for Foodies

‘Tis the season, as they say, to stuff your face. Thanksgiving, that hallowed day of highly caloric foods and oft-tempestuous family relations, is upon us. To celebrate — or just to escape the festivities for a while — why not nourish the foodie in you with some gourmand-friendly literature? Behold, a spread worthy of kings: 50 essential works of fiction to whet your appetite, and then satisfy it, and then satisfy it some… Read More

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