This is the story of the travails James Joyce endured in getting ULYSSES out into the world early in the twentieth century. It also recounts his personal health agonies as someone suffering from syphilis. A disease he probably contracted at a very young age. Syphilis can take many forms and with Joyce it attacked his eyes. Joyce grew up in Dublin, married Norah, and they immediately left to never return, spending most of their lives in Paris.
Joyce had his champions, but many, including luminaries like Virginia Wolfe, took a long time to see the merits of the book. Even today there are passages that are shocking in their sexual bluntness and use of crass language. However, people like Ezra Pound took up its cause and helped him find small magazines that would publish excerpts as it wound its way through court battles.
Although parts of this book were interesting, I felt it was a book I should have read after reading a straight-forward biography of Joyce. Or at least after having gotten though ULYSSES.
Where I was anxious to learn about the man, I more often learned about the road to publication. It was certainly well written and researched but I longed to understand more about why he felt it necessary to write the book he did and in the way he did. And was it his relationship with Norah that fed the fires.
For more reviews, see Barrie Summy.