Ulysses has been read obsessively for a century. What if instead of focusing on the words to understand the structure, design, and history of Joyce's masterpiece, we pay attention to the numbers?
Taking a computational approach, Ulysses by Numbers lets us see the novel's basic building blocks in a significantly new light?words, paragraphs, pages, and characters, as well as the original print run and the dates marking the beginning and end of its composition. Numbers provide access into Joyce's creative process, enhanced by graphs, diagrams, timelines, and maps, and they also give us a startling new perspective on the proportions that continue to structure, organize, and pace the reading experience. Numbers are there to help us navigate the history of Ulysses from its earliest material beginnings, and they offer a concrete basis upon which we can explore the big questions about its length, style, origins, readership, and design.
An innovative computational reading on both a micro and macro level, Ulysses by Numbers is a timely intervention into debates about the use and abuse of quantitative methods in literary analysis. Eric Bulson demonstrates how reading by numbers can bring us closer to the words of Ulysses, helping us rediscover a novel we thought we already knew.
Eric Jon Bulson
Columbia University Press
Country of Publication:
03 February 2021
Professional and scholarly
0verture 1ntroduction: Ulysses by Numbers No. 1. Making Style Count No. 2. Words in Progress No. 3. One or How Many? No. 4. GIS Joyce No. 5. Dating Ulysses 3pilogue. Miscounts, Missed Counts Notes Index
Eric Bulson is Andrew W. Mellon All-Claremont Chair in the Humanities at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of Little Magazine, World Form (Columbia, 2016); Novels, Maps, Modernity: The Spatial Imagination, 1850-2000 (2007); and The Cambridge Introduction to James Joyce (2006).
Reviews for Ulysses by Numbers
Numbers in literature often have magical or secret meanings, but this remarkable book also shows us other, quite startling modes of literary counting, giving us the pleasure we find only in the best critical readings: we are surprised and we wonder what to do with our surprise. -- Michael Wood, author of <i>Literature and the Taste of Knowledge</i> Ulysses by Numbers is an intricate, dazzling account of how numbers mattered to Joyce. Written with engaging lucidity and wit, this highly original study explores the numerical unconsciousness of Ulysses through close analyses of style, characters, wordcounts, readerships and compositional history. Bulson's study is a permanent contribution to Joyce studies and essential reading both for Joyceans and modernists more broadly. -- Katherine Mullin, University of Leeds Ulysses by Numbers is a winningly idiosyncratic piece of literary criticism, one that is both very much of its moment in many respects, and in a few others defiantly peculiar. Bulson has delivered a timely, restlessly inventive book that challenges the increasingly hostile polarization within literary studies about the use of quantitative evidence. It is a provocative call for, and demonstration of, a delirious, even enchanted kind of quantitative reading. -- Nicholas Dames, author of <i>The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction</i>