VOLTAIRE'S COFFEE: Professor Alan Freidman on James Joyce's Ulysses
Tue, March 2, 2010 • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM • Joynes Room, Carothers (CRD) 007, 2501 Whitis Ave. Enter through the east doors of the honors quad
About the Book: Ulysses, James Joyce
Ulysses, which has been dubbed the greatest novel of the twentieth century and the most influential of all modernist literary texts, has been controversial and challenging from the time it first began being serialized in little magazines in 1918 and then published in 1922. Initially seen by many as unreadable, vulgar, and obscene, it helped to spawn academic literary studies, which in turn has helped Ulysses to evolve into the classic modernist text.
Given its narrative, stylistic, and linguistic complexities and enigmas, Ulysses would seem firmly resistant to being translated into film. Yet Joyce was intrigued with the medium, having helped to found the first cinema in Ireland in 1909, and he discussed such a project with both Warner Brothers and Serge Eisenstein, but it went nowhere. Subsequently, however, the book has twice been made into films -- Joseph Strick’s Ulysses (1967) and Sean Walsh’s Bloom (2003). Both seek, and with some success, to distill and recreate something of the flavor of the novel –in ways that are quite similar at times and strikingly different at others. I’m not yet sure which one I’ll screen – perhaps I’ll show the quite different openings of both and let those assembled decide.