This essay examines Joyce’s Ulysses and the sound recordings of it in relation to new patterns of listening and audio production emerging during the early decades of the twentieth century. In particular, the piece takes up an unexplored sociology of record collecting by discussing Joyce’s text alongside early-twentieth-century record-collecting journals that facilitated the group consumption of audio artifacts. In doing so, I argue that Ulysses similarly coordinates networked sound collecting and listening both as text and as recording, and this essay will broadly discuss two types of Joycean “sound coteries” produced by these practices: listening ones, those groups primarily geared towards the reception of audio artifacts, and recording ones, those communities that gather to produce new sound objects. The essay traces both types of coteries from the early-twentieth-century text of “Sirens” and Joyce’s rendition of “Aeolus” to LibriVox’s 2007 version of Ulysses, illuminating the social phenomenon of audio recording in which Joyce and his reader-listeners participate to this very day. The gramophone may have suggestions of death for Joyce and other modernists, but the machine also offers occasions for gathering, listening, and living together. The sound coteries constituted within and around Joyce’s Ulysses suggest that the same technology also offers an alternative, ritualized mode of listening characterized by live, social attention and communities.


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pp. 235-250
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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