->''"It is the book to which all of us are indebted and none of us can escape"''.

Creator/JamesJoyce's ''Ulysses'', despite having a reputation for being [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible unreadable]] (though a degree in literature or a working knowledge of Myth/ClassicalMythology, Creator/WilliamShakespeare, modernism and Irish political history ''do'' help), is still widely-regarded as one of the most important {{novel}}s since ''Literature/DonQuixote'', influencing an immeasurable number of men and women in the writing field. Its [[BigNameFan Big Name Fans]] including the likes of authors as distinct from each other as Creator/StephenKing and Salman Rushdie; saying this book made an impact is [[CaptainObvious like saying water is wet]].

It was first published in serialized form from 1918 to 1920, then collected in book form and republished in 1922. The actual ''story'' can be jotted on the back of a matchbox. Taking place in a single day - June 16th 1904 - in [[TheCity Dublin]], ''Ulysses'' follows the daily routine of three people: young and jaded would-be artist Stephen Dedalus, passive outsider Leopold Bloom and his sensual, unfaithful wife Molly. As Stephen and Leopold wander the streets of Dublin, Molly lies in bed all day and cheats on her husband. Eventually, Leopold saves Stephen from a beating at the hands of British soldiers and invites him home to recuperate. Stephen visits his home, but declines to stay the night and Leopold joins Molly in bed.

The End.

The treat of the novel is in its style and the rendering of the characters in remarkable detail, often using their direct InnerMonologue, or having their style of thought influence the third-person perspective. Their meals, visits to the bathroom, work, affairs, prejudices, fantasies, are all recorded. ''Nothing'' is spared. Every chapter mimics, parallels and/or parodies a section of Creator/{{Homer}}'s ''[[Literature/TheOdyssey Odyssey]]'' (for example, Ulysses' battle with the Cyclops becomes the Jewish Leopold debating religion and politics with a raving, bigoted nationalist with a glass eye). Every chapter is also a literary experiment, where Joyce breaks every rule of novel writing. The book may seem like [[{{Doorstopper}} 700 pages]] of equal parts gibberish and blarney, but because of the strict thematic framework, it's perfectly possible to get your brain around it. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_%28novel%29 More details here if you need 'em]].

The full novel is public domain, and can be found [[http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4300 here]].
!!''Ulysses'' uses the following tropes:
* ADateWithRosiePalms: On a public beach, no less.
* AbusiveParents: Simon Dedalus: neglectful drunk (based on Joyce's own Dad).
* AffectionateParody: The Oxen of The Sun chapter, which spoofs the styles of Creator/JonathanSwift, Daniel Defoe and Creator/CharlesDickens amongst others.
* AllJewsAreCheapskates: Played straight in-universe, but subverted for the reader, with Bloom. Early in the book he makes a chance remark to an acquaintance, Flynn, who mistakenly interprets it as a racing tip. Flynn bets on the horse, which wins. Later, Bloom is in a pub and when he goes out for a moment, another character (who's heard from Flynn about Bloom's supposed racing tip) says that Bloom's won a pile of money at the races and must have gone to collect it. When Bloom returns and doesn't stand everyone a round of drinks, it's assumed that he's being a cheapskate, causing mayhem to break out. In fact, Bloom is generous with money and completely oblivious of the whole business with the horse.
* AntiHero: Leopold Bloom. While he is very pleasant, nothing about him is classically ''heroic''. This was of course, Joyce's intention, in the modern world, one has to be as smart and wily as Odysseus to make it through a single day with health and sanity intact.
* AuthorAvatar: Stephen Dedalus. Joyce's first book (which centered around Stephen) wasn't called ''Literature/APortraitOfTheArtistAsAYoungMan'' for nothing, though Joyce is very critical of his avatar. Also worthy of note is the enigmatic man in the brown mackintosh.
* BadassBoast: Arguably, saying that you've read it.
* BigYes: The very last word, as Molly recalls when she accepted Leopold's proposal.
* CountryMatters: Complete with related wordplay.
* CreatorProvincialism: All of Joyce's work is set in Dublin or the surrounding area.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Novels as an art form, and English as a language.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: The riffs on Creator/{{Homer}}'s ''Literature/TheOdyssey''.
* TheEveryman: [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructed]]. Bloom has some ''weird'' trains of thought.
* EvilBrit: The soldiers in ''Circe''.
* {{Foil}}: The title, general plot contrasts Modern Ireland with Ancient Greece, Leopold Bloom with Odysseus, Penelope with Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus with Telemachus.
* GenderBender: In one of Bloom's masochist fantasies, he is turned into a woman and raped by the Brothel Madam, who has turned into a male ringmaster.
* GenreRoulette: the ''Circe'' chapter is written as a play, ''Ithaca'' like a catechism, ''Aeolus'' like a newspaper column, and the final chapter is a punctuation free list of the thoughts going through Molly's mind as she has tries to fall asleep next to her husband. There are too many examples to list here.
* GrossOutShow: the book doesn't need pictures to gross out its readers. Frequently.
--> "O, the night in the Camden hall when the daughters of Erin had to lift their skirts to step over you as you lay in your mulberrycoloured, multicoloured, multitudinous vomit!"
* GuideDangIt: [[RunningGag A rare literary example.]] Spoilers and annotations are often necessary to get what the hell is going on, especially in the eye-watering "Oxen of the Sun".
* HeroicBystander: Bloom is this to Stephen, during Stephen's encounter with the British soldiers.
* InnocentBigot: Played with throughout the book, with almost all the male characters displaying various kinds of more or less kneejerk anti-Semitism in the presence of Bloom, who's Jewish and too polite to call them on it.
* IrishmanAndAJew: Played straight, and also subverted in the case of Bloom, who's both Irish and Jewish, although some of the less sympathetic characters regard him as the latter rather than the former.
* JewsLoveToArgue: Almost entirely averted with Bloom, who hates confrontation; except just once, when he [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome calls the Citizen on his anti-semitism]].
* KangarooCourt: Bloom fantasies being 'tried' by all the women he has ever lusted after.
* KavorkaMan: Blazes Boylan.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In the last Chapter, Molly thinks "O Jamesy let me up out of this pooh" and may be referring to James Joyce. Or something else. It's not really explained.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Most of them only mentioned once explicitly, and then brush into the narrative several hundred pages later, usually in a completely different presentation.
* MadArtist: Carl Jung read the book and concluded that Joyce was schizophrenic. Joyce retaliated by calling Jung an incompetent psychologist[[note]]especially since he failed to treat his daughter Lucia who he had brought to him[[/note]].
* MeaningfulName: Stephen Dedalus.
* {{Mindscrew}}: The ''Circe'' chapter where Bloom roams the red light district, hallucinating.
* NoPunctuationPeriod: The entire final chapter contains only three punctuation marks.
* {{Oireland}}: Every cliche is averted, except for the ones Joyce [[TruthInTelevision confirms]].
* OnlySaneMan: Usually Bloom, but Martin Cunningham becomes this in the ''Cyclops'' episode where Bloom lets himself get into an increasingly vicious argument with the Citizen.
* OutlivingOnesOffspring:
** Leopold is still grieving for the death of his son Rudy, who died years ago. He and Molly have a daughter Milly who has left home to study photography leaving them alone and childless. His marriage to Molly became strained after the loss of their boy, they haven't had sex for ten years. [[spoiler:In the Night-Town episode, he briefly hallucinates seeing Rudy]].
** In one episode, Stephen discusses Creator/WilliamShakespeare with his friends and expresses his belief that ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' was written by Shakespeare as an outlet of grief for the death of his only son, Hamnet Shakespeare.
* ParentalSubstitute [=/=] ReplacementGoldfish: Stephen Dedalus becomes this [[spoiler:for Bloom, especially after he rescues him from some thugs]].
* {{Parody}}: The ''Oxen of the Sun'' episode is written as a series of parodies of different English literature, beginning with ritual chanting and direct translation from the Latin via parodies of writers from Creator/GeoffreyChaucer to ThomasCarlyle all the way down to early 20th century [[BigApplesauce Bowery]] slang. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome In chronological order.]]
* PrecisionFStrike: The thuggish British soldiers who attack a drunk Stephen. Incidentally, ''Ulysses'' is the first work of "serious" literature to use the F-word[[note]]It was found in pornographic and pulp works but literary critics felt profanity such as this was out of place in works of TrueArt. Joyce totally changed the game[[/note]].
* PurpleProse: On purpose in the antepenultimate chapter. Justified because it's the early morning and the characters have been on their feet all day, so the prose style is correspondingly filled with tired cliches and rambling sentences.
* RealPlaceBackground: Joyce claimed that if Dublin was destroyed you could ''rebuild'' it from the detail provided in this book. The Dublin of 1906, bear in mind, the city had changed, already between that time and when Joyce wrote the book. For his research, Joyce looked at phone directories, old maps and pestered his friends for information about Dublin for him to use in his books, making it a highly researched and detailed portrayal of the city.
* RiddleForTheAges: The identity of the Man in the Macintosh.
* RuleOfSymbolism: In spades.
* ShoutOut: To almost every major novelist and poet in the history of Western literature.
* TheSnarkKnight: Stephen lives this trope with a vengeance; he's so snarky that he can't even bothered to snark ''out loud'', preferring to do it in his InnerMonologue. As the book continues and his alcohol intake increases, he loosens up and starts [[DidIJustSayThatOutLoud speaking his mind]], climaxing when his snarkery [[spoiler: offends a [[CantHoldHisLiquor drunk]] British soldier so much that the soldier [[PoliceBrutality knocks him down]], thus attracting the attention of the local police - but then Bloom, who Stephen hardly knows, steps in and defuses the situation, resulting in a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming]].
* SpiritualSequel: It carries on from ''Literature/APortraitOfTheArtistAsAYoungMan'', and it's considered a necessary primer for ''Literature/FinnegansWake''.
* StylisticSuck: ''Nausicaa'', narrated by a drippy teenage girl, acts as a TakeThat to [[TastesLikeDiabetes slushy]] romance novels. But there's a twist, in that WordOfGod says that it's Gertie's own narration; she would love for her life to be a romantic novel, but throughout her narration, reality keeps breaking in (as evidenced by her [[DeadpanSnarker snarkish]] asides about her friends) and the occasional gritty detail about her own health problems. She is more in control of her own fantasies than she is usually given credit for.
* TakeThat: Privates Carr and Compton, the two drunken British soldiers who confront and assault Stephen Dedalus in the "Circe" episode, are named after two British consular officials in Zurich Joyce was having difficulties with.
* UglyGuyHotWife: Leopold and Molly. [[spoiler: For all that she experiments with infidelity, Molly seems in the end to be committed to Leopold.]]
* UnfazedEveryman: Bloom.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: The basic assumption of the book.
* WriterOnBoard: While Joyce does support Irish emancipation, he sketches a negative portrait of the more radical, excluding nationalists such as the one-eyed man. Bloom's humorous thoughts during his visit to the church can be seen as mocking Catholicism, but it's in good humour.
* WrittenSoundEffect: According to Joyce, the sound a cat makes isn't "meow," it's "mrkgnao."
* YourCheatingHeart: Molly Bloom was faithful to Leopold for a long time but after ten years of celibacy starts cheating on him with her manager Blazes Boylan. Leopold himself is conducting an emotional affair via epistolary and is constantly tempted by other women.

!!''Ulysses'' in popular culture:
* One of the leads of the film ''Film/TheProducers'' is named Leo Bloom.
* Creator/AllanSherman's [[Creator/DrDemento comedy song]] "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" includes this line:
--->The head coach wants no sissies\\
So he reads to us from something called "Ulysses"
WARNING: This book can drive you mad, and its [[SelfDemonstrating/FinnegansWake follow up]] ''will''.