James Joyce: Ulysses

Monday to SundayFREE
Portrait of James Joyce by unknown photographer. <a href="http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/">Public Domain</a>.

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1 February – 31 May 2022

This display follows the journey of the novel Ulysses (1922) from obscene draft to modernist classic.

James Joyce’s (1882–1941) Ulysses has come to be considered one of the most important works of 20th-century modernist literature. Published on 2 February 1922, a date that purposefully coincided with Joyce’s 40th birthday, this display draws on original manuscripts and printed items to commemorate the centenary of this landmark publication.

Set in Dublin on a single day, 16 June 1904, Ulysses minutely details the mundane and occasionally sordid experiences of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus as they wander separately around the city, eventually meeting in the evening.

From the outset a difficult and controversial novel, Ulysses was written in an experimental style that made extensive literary allusions, employed parody and explored the meandering interior monologues of its characters. The novel was partially serialised between 1918 and 1920, before being suppressed as obscene in both the UK and USA. It was only published in book form in Paris in 1922.     

With original notes by Joyce, documents from Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw, and the first published edition of Ulysses, this display tells the journey the novel took from obscene draft to modernist classic.


Name: James Joyce: Ulysses
Where: The Sir John Ritblat: Treasures Gallery
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: Monday to Sunday
Price: Free
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546