James Joyce’s Ulysses is a significant literary work in part because of Joyce’s unique style and use of allusions.
Joyce wrote this text with a distinctive stream-of-consciousness style that gives the reader insight into the inner emotions of the characters. The style also allows the reader to get to know Dublin beyond just what the city looks and sounds like, introducing them to the collective memories and desires of the city’s residents. This is a significant literary feat, as this type of immersion is difficult to achieve through writing. As Edmund Wilson explained in his review of the work: “Joyce manages to give the effect of unedited human minds, drifting aimlessly along from one triviality to another.”
Ulysses is also full of many allusions, which makes it a remarkable, albeit challenging, text. An allusion is a literary technique in which the author makes an indirect reference to something outside of the work, such as a notable person, place, or famous text. Allusions allow authors to make connections and develop characters and themes. For instance, in Ulysses, Joyce uses many allusions to William Shakespeare’s tragic play Hamlet, which draws connections between his text and the themes of Hamlet, like legacy.