About the Project

The purpose of The Joyce Project is to present an online edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses that comprehensively assists a reader of this great modern novel. Although Joyce’s other fictions (Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Finnegans Wake) are referenced often in our notes to Ulysses, we presently have no plans to construct hypermedia pages to aid readers of those works. 

Ulysses, which so voluminously incorporates and interconnects different kinds of content (literary, musical, biographical, historical, urban, and so on), has always threatened to exceed the knowledge base of its readers and to overwhelm the reading process. The literary allusions alone seem to demand that shelves of other books lie open next to the novel, and other sorts of reference compound the problem exponentially. Must one walk the streets of Dublin to find order in the protagonists’ meanderings? Experience the spectacle of a Catholic priest approaching the altar to understand what Mulligan means by Introibo ad altare Dei? Know Mozart's Don Giovanni to relate La ci darem la mano to the Blooms' marital drama, and have Victorian music-hall tunes floating through one’s head to appreciate the phrase Woodman, Spare That Tree? The answer to thousands of such questions is Yes.

The changes in human communication since the invention of HTML in 1990 have made it possible simultaneously to reduce the number of required reference materials and to expand the dimensions of the reader’s enjoyment of the novel. Written notes can be linked to passages of text, allowing immediate access to contextualizing information, and further hyperlinks can carry the reader to related notes and textual passages. Visual images readily available within the public domain can illustrate this verbal information with photographs, paintings, drawings, diagrams, maps, buildings, and statues. Interactive maps can locate one virtually within the grid of city streets, waterways, cemeteries, and public squares. Embedded videos and sound recordings can convey the experience of performative arts, and the sound of Irish speech. Scholarly studies can be readily integrated into the reading experience. Today all of these resources can be made available on a single computer screen. This vision drives the construction of The Joyce Project.