"Ulysses" is a classic novel by James Joyce, written in Trieste, Zurich and Paris, between 1914 and 1921. The first edition was published in Paris by Weaver's Egoist Press on February 2, 1922, also the 40th birthday of James Joyce.
The action takes place in Dublin on a single day, 16 June 1904. This day is now known as "Bloomsday." The main protagonists are: Leopold Bloom, a Jewish advertisement canvasser; his unfaithful wife molly, a concert singer; and Stephen Dedalus, also the character from Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus wander separately around Dublin until they meet at the end of the day, to gives each other's minute account.
The detailed account of the day's episodes and the topography of Dublin, would suggest that James Joyce's ambition was to offer the largest telling of a reality living and of life in the history of the English novel. However, a different purpose is implied by the systematic allusion to Homer's "Odyssey" which dominates the book's manifold references to history, literature, music, philosophy and even myth.
According to Joyce's plot, Bloom represents "Odysseus" (Ulysses.) Molly is "Penelope" and Stephen is "Telemachus." The titles Joyce originally gave to the novel's 18 chapters spell out the parallel:
1. Telemachus (Stephen and Buck Mulligan at the Martello Tower)
2. Nestor (Stephen at work as a schoolteacher)
3. Proteus (Stephen meditating on the beach
4. 4. Calypso (Bloom making breakfast for Molly)
5. Lotus Eaters (Bloom on Sir John Rogerson's Quay)
6. Hades (Bloom at Paddy Dignam's funeral)
7. Aeolus (Bloom in the newspaper office)
8. Lestrygonians (Bloom at lunch
9. Scylla and Charybdis (Stephen in the National Library)
10. Wandering Rocks (the citizens of Dublin on the streets)
11. Sirens (Bloom in the Ormond hotel)
12. Polyphemus or Cyclops (Bloom's encounter with an Irish nationalist)
13. Nausicaa (Bloom watching Gertie McDowell on the beach)
14. Oxen of the Sun (Bloom an Stephen separately visiting the Holles Street Hospital
15. Circe (Bloom an Stephen meeting in the Mabbot Street brothel district)
16. Eumaeus (Stephen and Bloom at Bloom's home in Eccles Street)
17. Ithaca (Bloom falling asleep)
18. Penelope (Molly Bloom's soliloquy)
"Ulysses" chronicles the passage through Dublin by its main character, Leopold Bloom, during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. The title alludes to the hero of Homer's "Odyssey" (Latinized into Ulysses), and there are many parallels, both implicit and explicit, between the two works, example given, the correspondences between Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus.
Joyce experimental method answers a complex knowledge. He uses stream of consciousness especially in Penelope. Joyce's "Ulysses" is considered one of the most important classic works of Modernist literature.