Set on one day, 16 June 1904, James Joyce’s Ulysses follows the young poet Stephen Dedalus and the unlikely hero Leopold Bloom as they journey through Dublin. The groundbreaking novel links the epic to the ordinary, connecting characters and motifs from Homer’s ancient Greek poem the Odyssey with life in the Irish city that created Joyce. Written in self-imposed exile between 1914 and 1921, Ulysses expanded the limits of language and genre—and not without controversy. Censored and banned in America and England for obscenity, its publication in Paris a century ago was the catalyst for new legal standards of artistic freedom.
One Hundred Years of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” explores Joyce’s trajectory from lyric poet to modernist genius. It considers key figures in his career; artists and writers who responded to the novel; and the family who shaped him as a man and writer. At the exhibition’s heart is Joyce’s imagination as he created his masterpiece, explored in manuscripts, plans, and proofs, with major contributions from the James Joyce Collection, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.
This presentation celebrates a significant gift to the Morgan by Sean and Mary Kelly, who over several decades accumulated one of the foremost Joyce collections in private hands.