I haven’t been brave enough to even attempt reading Ulysses as I know that it will be impossible to negotiate the enigmatic terrain that this famous book presents. Here is the story of a man who did.
John Kidd was one of the most celebrated Ulysses scholars alive.
“Kidd had been the director of the James Joyce Research Center, a suite of offices on the campus of Boston University dedicated to the study of “Ulysses,” arguably the greatest and definitely the most-obsessed-over novel of the 20th century. Armed with generous endowments and cutting-edge technology, he led a team dedicated to a single goal: producing a perfect edition of the text.”
Kidd was enamored by Ulysses right from his teenage years- he had read the book in three days flat(!) He visited Joyce’s tomb in Zurich and began collecting every edition of the book that he could lay his hands on. And there were many editions as each version of the book had tiny changes, enough to outrage a true-blue Joyce fanatic. There has been speculation that toward the end of his life, Kidd was heavily in debt and suffered from mental health issues, spending his last days in conversation with pigeons and squirrels.
What really happened to the Joycean scholar? Read The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar by Jack Hitt.
Might as well try reading the book some day!