Declan Kiberd argues that Ulysses offers a humane vision of a more tolerant and decent life under the dreadful pressures of the modern world.Leopold Bloom, the half-Jewish Irishman who is the book's hero, teaches the young Stephen Dedalus (modelled on Joyce himself) how he can grow and mature as an artist and an adult human being. Bloom has learned to live with contradictions, with anxiety and sexual jealousy, and with the rudeness and racism of the people he encounters in the city streets, and in his apparently banal way sees deeper than any of them. He embodies an intensely ordinary kind of wisdom, Kiberd argues, and in this way offers us a model for living well, in the tradition of Homer, Dante and the Bible (on all of which Joyce drew in the writing of his book).

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