Joe Cleary at The Dublin Review of Books:
The Ulysses centenary is a momentous occasion. It is an event for celebration, but one that prompts the question of what exactly is to be celebrated. The publication of an extraordinary Irish novel? Perhaps, but what precisely is Ulysses’s relationship to the Irish novel tradition that preceded or has followed it? The publication of a work that transformed the inherited form of the novel more generally? Certainly, Ulysses revolutionised the modern novel as form but what sort of revolution did it enact and what was its later issue? How do aesthetic revolutions relate to sociopolitical revolutions? Do they, like the latter, have their radical springtimes and then become autumnally institutionalised and conservative? Or must they each be assessed on quite different terms? That Ulysses was an event nearly everyone will agree. However, can we say even now, a century later, what kind of event it really was in Irish or world literary terms? And is Ulysses really a novel at all in any case?