Who’s afraid of James Joyce? How did a book that was supposed to celebrate the heroism of ordinary people end up cloistered in the hands of ascot-bedecked pedants? Why is the most famous novel of the twentieth century the least read? We dunno. But we aim to fix it.
We’re making a web-based comic book of Ulysses. Seriously.
Ulysses Seen is part comic book, part reader’s guide, part blog, and part community forum, all revolving around Joyce’s Ulysses. The project began in the bar rooms of Philadelphia, where local artist Robert Berry met up with Joyce scholar Mike Barsanti during the city’s annual Bloomsday festival. The result was a new company devoted to a new way of appreciating and experiencing old books.
We launched the first episode, “Telemachus” on the web in June of 2009, but its appearance as an iPad application in June of 2010 made some electronic publishing history. Before it could be released into the iTunes store, Apple asked us to make some changes to the first installment… and almost immediately the story of “Apple censoring Ulysses” blew up in the media, with some of the bigger stories in the likes of The New York Times, Boing Boing, and Slate. Within hours, Apple allowed us to publish our work unexpurgated, and shortly thereafter changed its policy on restricting content in the iTunes store. You can see and hear Berry and Barsanti’s commentary on the project below.
The next episode, “Calypso” is scheduled for release in June of 2011.
Dublin, Ireland — 23 Jul. 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The James Joyce Centre is delighted to present an exhibition of original drawings by illustrator Rob Berry from the ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ project, an adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses. The work will be on display at the Centre until Thursday 20th December 2012.
This exhibition is made possible through the continued support of the James Joyce Centre by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and marks the beginning of an important transatlantic collaboration between the team behind ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ and the Centre.
‘Ulysses “Seen”’ is a web based comic adaptation of Joyce’s masterpiece, developed with the aim of reinvigorating an appreciation for a work which has established a reputation for inaccessibility. The project offers itself as a unique companion piece to the novel, transposing the subtlety and humour of the book into a comic narrative form which will be familiar to 21st Century readers. The result is what the Huffington Post has called a “breathtaking adaptation”.
Mark Traynor, manager of the Centre, says: “The Centre has long admired ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ and this is precisely the sort of work that we want to show to the public. Without dumbing down the novel, Rob Berry’s drawings cut through the academic gobbledygook that turns off so many readers and refocuses on what makes the book great: its playfulness, humanity, and extraordinary ordinariness.”
“By the same token,” he says, “it also appeals to the sort of reader Joyce would have loved: someone willing to embrace new forms, someone comfortable with popular culture, and above all someone with a sense of humour and imagination.”
See www.jamesjoyce.ie for further details.
For additional information, pictures or interviews please contact Mark Traynor at (00353)-1-8788547 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In October of 2010 we launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com. We’re pleased to say that the response was overwhelming. We finished at 142% of our goal. We are so honored and grateful to all of our contributors, and we can’t wait to get more of the work out there this year!
ULYSSES “SEEN” will be the lead feature in the November edition of WHYY’s “Friday Arts” show, airing Nov. 5. Those outside the Philadelphia area can catch it on the web shortly thereafter. We will also be in the WHYY studios to show our iPad app & answer questions after the show airs.
Irish Arts Center presents
Ulysses And You: Behind The Scenes Of Adapting The Novel
Thursday, October 07, 2010
On the eve of New York Comic Con, experience Ulysses “Seen”, Robert Berry’s graphic novel adaptation of the 1922 edition of James Joyce’s epic masterpiece, through commentary by Robert Berry and Josh Levitas, in conversation with Mike Barsanti, editor, and moderated by Karen Green, curator of the Columbia University Library collection of graphic novels. Learn how you, too, can be part of the creative process, with a special preview of pages from the newest chapter, and a forum for readers to suggest settings, props and character types for the remaining chapters of the comic.
Click here for for further info and tickets.