In my last post I discussed many of the “old-fashioned” (e.g. print) resources that are available for the struggling reader of Ulysses (and we’re all struggling readers when it comes to Joyce). But these resources have largely been supplanted in the Internet Age– the web has proven to be a very hospitable place for Joyce-studies. The man who is credited with inventing the term “weblog” was a Joyce-fanatic, to give you some idea (more on that in a moment).
I’ve referred you here before, but I think it’s a good place to start so I’ll mention it again: the Joyce page at the Modern Word has a lot of great background information and introductory essays (their Pynchon page is excellent as well, FYI). Here is their page introducing Ulysses in particular. They also have a page of links, but many of them are broken: the site does not appear to have been updated since 2004. (If anyone out there knows what happened to the site, I’d love to hear: I tried contacting them, but their email is out of service as well.)
A couple of commenters have mentioned Jorn Barger (the aforementioned coiner of the term “weblog”) and his incredible Robot Wisdom site. This is an incredibly extensive resource, but it is sometimes daunting: Barger is a lifelong Joycean, and his readings are often intricate and polemical. So, proceed with caution. (But do proceed!) The site is no longer being updated, but you can keep up with Jorn here.
More useful for the first-time reader are Michael Groden’s notes. Created to aid his students, Groden provides extensive background and though-provoking analysis of each episode (navigating the site takes some getting used to, though). It’s sort of like really smart Cliff’s Notes.
One of the most captivating (and distracting) sites is JoyceImages, which collects period images for all sorts of references throughout Ulysses. It is truly amazing, and was praised by Rob Berry at Ulysses “Seen” as “my favorite, most inspirational and most commonly used Joyce site. For a visual understanding of the world ULYSSES works in this is as seminal a text as Gifford’s.”
And, oh yeah, there’s also Ulysses “Seen” and their amazing Reader’s Guide. A work in progress, this site will get you through the first chapter, and leave you wanting more. (And more about that will be forthcoming, here, soon).
These are the sites I’ve found most useful, but there are many, many more: not to mention the fact that people are writing about Joyce on blogs and Twitter every day (here’s a nice post from the past Bloomsday). Feel free to post links in the comments to any relevant sites I’ve failed to mention: I’m always looking for new distractions.