Ulysses and Us, By Declan Kiberd

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The Independent Culture

Kiberd's lively but eccentric study aims to rescue Joyce's masterpiece from academia and "reconnect [it] to the everyday lives of real people". We learn that an advert glimpsed by Leopold Bloom ("What is a home without Plumtree's Potted Meat? Incomplete") evokes "his incomplete sexual acts at home with Molly"), while the gorgonzola sandwich Bloom nibbles in Davy Byrne's pub prompts the thought that "matters of peace and war may depend on someone's digestion".

Kiberd agrees with Roddy Doyle that "many passages [of Ulysses] stand in dire need of an editor". Some may feel the same applies to this exegesis. Sharing the master's fondness for circularity of thought, Kiberd has a curious obsession with Bloom's feminine tendencies.