& following on from the Moby Dick post, where I mentioned you can’t have too many copies.
This here Oxford World’s Classics edition is the only copy of Ulysses you’ll ever need. Or I should at least qualify that with saying it’s a fantastic edition for a first time reader. With maps, appendixes, and an extensive introduction it guides the first time reader through the novel. The explanatory notes are extremely helpful, especially when you pull away from the page after fifteen minutes of intense reading and ask what the heck have I just read? There’s also something very beautiful about the book itself. With the typeface and the ratio of words and white space per page, it looks how a 1920s modernist text should look.
Winter 1997, I’m living in Bangkok and I’m running short on English novels to read. I’ve finished the books I bought with me: Middlemarch, Bleak House, War & Peace, Anna Karenina, Jude The Obscure. All a kind of rehearsal and preparation for the reading of Ulysses. I’m interested in how Joyce will develop the 19th Century strain of realism I’ve just spent the last few months enveloped in.
I’ve heard there is an English language bookshop called the D.K. Bookhouse but it’s on the other side of Bangkok to where I live and work. The only way to get there via public transport is by bus but that takes nearly three hours. & three hours back. A whole day to get one book. There’s nothing for it, I take the day off work to travel there. It’s fitting that James Joyce’s Ulysses required a pilgrimage to obtain it.
It’s reminiscent of the early days in the life of this book, back in the ’20s and ’30s when it was banned in Britain and the U.S. and the only way to get hold of it was a pilgrimage to Paris and the Shakespeare & Co bookshop.