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For The Adventures of Ulysses, by Charles Lamb, 1808
as edited by James Cooke, 1892

Notes about the HTML Edition

The Adventures of Ulysses was published by Charles Lamb in 1808. It was intended to follow up on the success the previous year of Tales from Shakespeare (mostly written by his sister, Mary Lamb). However, it did not sell well. A series of stories supposedly told by students of Mrs. Leicester's School in Herts was issued in 1809. But Lamb's success was not complete until his Essays of Elia, in London Magazine starting in 1820.

The Odyssey of Homer has always been problematic for those who wish to adapt it for children. William Godwin complained of even the minor violence in Lamb's tales. A Victorian edition deleting any references to sex was published by Andrew Lang in 1890 in London. Lamb's editing of Homer included the adventure parts and so made it appropriate for an audience of boys. Needless to say, it cannot substitute for a reading of the original work by Homer.

The edition of Lamb's story by John Cooke reprinted here is similarly bowdlerized. (We have rated this online edition for all ages so that all readers may view it.) Its importance today is that it was adopted as a school text in Dublin and was read in Clongowes College by James Joyce in 1893 in preparation for the Intermediate Examination in English. (Joyce scored 455 out of 1,200 possible on two examinations--150 points of the 1,200 were for Lamb, consisting of factual questions on Chapters 1-7.) Thus it was Joyce's introduction to Homer and the Odyssey, and later stimulated his novel Ulysses (1922).

Cooke's book almost disappeared in later years, but one copy was uncovered in 1990 and has been republished by Split Pea Press, 57 Morningside Drive, Edinburgh, Scotland EH10 5NF, United Kingdom, with a subsidy from the Carnegie Trust of Scotland. This is our copytext, but we leave out the apparatus restoring the original Lamb passages, the afterword by Alistair McCleery and Ian Gunn, and the rather nice illustrations. The work is copyrighted 1992 by Split Pea Press. We urge you to buy a copy from the publishers ($22 U.S.) as it is the complete scholarly work and deserves full recognition.

In adapting the book for the World Wide Web, we have split the text into chapter files. We have added links from the chapter text to the Notes page (although you may not notice them when using certain browsers, since we have turned off underlining --the link pointer appears when the mouse cursor hovers over the word, though).

The Notes page has been elaborated. It will appear in a separate window with most browsers (sometimes not obviously, if it pops up directly over the first window--you'll see the difference, because the BACK command usually no longer works in the new window). You may choose to move this window to the side, leave it up, and refer to it as you select links in the main text--that way, the browser does not have to re-read the large Notes file each time. Words linked to will be displayed at the top of the window. Within the Notes page are also extensive links to other words referred to elsewhere on the page. (The original in Cooke had references to page and line numbers.)

The Notes page refers to quotations from Chapman's translation of the Odyssey. An online version of Chapman can be found in Project Bartleby at Columbia: Other English translations of Homer are online at MIT and Project Perseus at Tufts University (which also has the Greek text). Particularly good is the Perseus Encyclopedia. For example, you may look up "Atreus" with this query: "Atreus".

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