To introduce readers to Joyce and his work, the volume begins with a short biography and a survey of the importance and cultural impact of Ulysses. Most beginning readers find it difficult to follow Joyce's plot, and so they abandon the text in frustration. Thus the book includes the most detailed available plot summary of Joyce's novel. The chapters that follow overview the novel's publication history; its historical and cultural contexts, including Modernism, Irish literature and history, and political and social trends; major themes and issues; Joyce's narrative art, including his character development, language, images, and style; and the academic and critical response to the work. The volume closes with a bibliographical essay.
BERNARD MCKENNA Assistant Professor of English at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix. He is the author of numerous articles on Irish literature, culture, and art, which have appeared in such journals as Eire-Ireland, Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies, and Philological Quarterly. He is also an associate editor of the Dictionary of Irish Literature (2nd ed., Greenwood, 1996).