About the Notes

Our notes range from a few sentences to many paragraphs. In the longer notes, the first paragraph presents the most basic, essential information required for a first reading of the novel. Clicking the “Read More” button will pull up various kinds of further commentary: more in-depth information; other passages in the novel that have a close connection with the one being glossed; books, articles, theses, dissertations, and websites that comment upon the matter at hand; alternative ways of reading a passage.

The notes seek to aid the reader of Ulysses in several different ways: supplying necessary background information about matters referenced in the narrative; indicating ways in which this information may shape one’s reading of a passage; and directing the reader to other passages in Ulysses where similar concerns are raised. This method differs from that of the most frequently used guide to the novel, Don Gifford and Robert Seidman’s Ulysses Annotated, which for the most part confines itself to the objective presentation of background information, without presuming to tell the reader how to use that information.

The notes do not attempt any global interpretations or readings of the novel; they simply elucidate specific hyperlinked passages. But by pointing out connections to other passages, and sending the reader to other notes through additional hyperlinks, they may assist such readings. Nearly every detail in Ulysses has relevance, not only to details immediately before and after it in the order of the narrative, but also to ones that may lie hundreds of pages off. The notes supply threads to begin navigating the textual labyrinth that Joyce built—whether to find the way toward perfect comprehension, or to become happily lost, or simply to seek the nearest exit, will be up the individual.

Notes may grow in the course of time, with the discovery of new information and new interpretations. When material is added in years later than the original composition of the note, a bracketed date [2012] will indicate the addition.