Can James Joyce's Ulysses be read with the ears instead of the eyes? This essay considers what difference it makes to listen to one of the modernist era's most formally experimental narratives. Its use of the term "accessible modernism" encapsulates attempts to make a literary movement notorious for its difficulty accessible in alternative formats to people with disabilities. Sound recording helped make modernism accessible to blind and partially-sighted people in particular. Talking books, or narratives read aloud by professional actors onto a set of phonograph or gramophone records, made it possible for those who struggled to read in the conventional way to engage Joyce's novel in an alternative medium from print. What follows is a close examination of the measures taken by the American Foundation for the Blind to remediate Joyce's novel into sound despite concerns that it was either too daunting or too transgressive. The essay proceeds to show how the ensuing recording preserved a surprising number of bibliographic elements of Joyce's novel while at the same time dispensing with others and even, in some instances, generating new meanings altogether.


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pp. 47-70
Launched on MUSE
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