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Ulysses - James Joyce
"Ulysses is the most important contribution that has been made to fictional literature in the twentieth century. . . It is likely that there is no one writing English today that could parallel Mr. Joyce's feat, and it is also likely that few would care to do it were it capable." (Books of the Century; New York Times review, May 1922)
If you're like most of us, Ulysses is the greatest book you've never read. Often hailed as the greatest book of the twentieth century, Joyce's stream-of-consciousness style and use of complex literary allusions keep many readers from opening it, not to mention Joyce's fondness for fantastic words like "contrasmagnificanjewelbangtantiability."
Although it's now part of the Western canon, Ulysses had inauspicious beginnings. When The Little Review started printing extracts from the book in 1918, its founders were arrested, charged with publishing obscenity, and fined $100. Ulysses was not published in book form until 1922, when another American woman, Sylvia Beach, published it in Paris her Shakespeare & Company. Ulysses was not available legally in any English-speaking country until 1934, when Random House successfully defended Joyce against obscenity charges and published it in the Modern Library. Recently several popular authors have taken aim at Joyce, and in turn have been accused of petty jealousy. What better time to decide for yourself whether Ulysses deserves a place of honor on your bookself? You can discuss this topic in our forums.
In many ways, Edgar Allen Poe's life mirrors his work. Everything we know about the life of the great author of poetry and fiction is dark, strange, and shrouded in mystery. He left behind no birth certificate, and even the dates and locations of his birth, death and burial are debateable. Poe himself merrily seeded his path with rumours and outright lies, claiming he joined the Greeks in their fight for liberty in 1828 and was the grandson of Benedict Arnold. To top it all off, readers tend to confuse Poe's characters with Poe himself. Dozens of biographies have been penned about the writer, and two more are forthcoming this year. Join the fray by reading some of the many books by and about Poe which are available on AbeBooks.
"Ye who read are still among the living, but I who
write shall have long since gone my way into the region of shadows.
For indeed strange things shall happen, and many secret things be known,
and many centuries shall pass away, ere these memorials be seen of men.
And, when seen, there will be some to disbelieve, and some to doubt,
and yet a few who will find much to ponder upon in the characters here
graven with a stylus of iron." From "Shadow a Parable"
And Other Poems
Biographies About Poe
The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe by Hervey Allen