Ulysses turns 100 this month, and you should totally read it

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of James Joyce’s Ulysses, originally serialized in The Little Review between March 1918 and December 1920, and then published in its entirety in February 1922. From the start, it was held in almost religiously high regard, but also as a work of imposing impenetrability and pretension. Vladimir Nabokov called it “divine”; Ernest Hemingway called it “goddamn wonderful.” Virginia Woolf called it “illiterate, underbred”; Aldous Huxley called it “one of the dullest books ever written.” While literary giants debated its merits for decades, many readers merely shrunk away entirely, despite the novel’s enduring reputation as one of the 20th century’s defining English-language masterpieces. Its status as an impenetrable masterwork is self-reinforcing at this point: It is as great as it is complex, an Everest to be scaled only by those hardy enough to undertake it.

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