Widely considered to be one of the most important works of the twentieth century, 'Ulysses' by James Joyce, was originally published in serial form in the American journal 'The Little Review' between March 1918 and December 1920 before being published in book form by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. The book chronicles a journey through the streets of Dublin by its main character, Leopold Bloom, on Thursday 16 June 1904.
The title refers to the hero of Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus (Ulysses), and many parallels can be drawn between the two works (e.g., between Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus), the main parallel being that Bloom's wife Molly, like Penelope in Homer's Odyssey, has attracted the attentions of an admirer, Blazes Boylan. In order to win Molly back, Bloom must pass through twelve trials, his own particular Odyssey.
Considerable controversy, including a number of obscenity trials, has been associated with Ulysess since its publication. However, due to its use of the stream of consciousness technique and to its humour and use of vernacular, Ulysses has come to be regarded as a modernist masterpiece.
June 16 is now celebrated by Joyceans as Bloomsday.