"Ulysses" was written and proofread when James Joyce's vision was seriously blurred and impaired by iritis. The illness required him to use a magnifying glass to enlarge words, separating them out of context and distorting the simple letters in them. This book considers the effects of Joyce's iritis on the text of "Ulysses". Gottfried examines "Ulysses" much as Joyce must have tried to see it, in close readings of many small portions of the text, and with a quizzical eye. He locates the particular density and opacity of "Ulysses" in two sites: within the iritis in Joyce's eyes and within the body of the text with its irritated confusion of letters. "No reader's eye can be trusted in seeing "Ulysses"", Gottfried claims. Instead, the reader is disoriented and infected with a particular kind of "Joycean dis-lexia", so that "a variety of instabilities arise from the reader's unclear view and reading of the novel".
Roy Gottfried is associate professor of English at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of"The Art of Joyce's Syntax in "Ulysses"" and of articles and reviews in the "James Joyce Quarterly, Joyce Literary Supplement," and "Joyce Broadsheet."
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