A Shorter Ulysses, Burgess's abridged version of James Joyce's novel (with commentary).

Scope and Content

The notes consist of published pages from the Penguin 1969 paperback edition of Ulysses to which Burgess has fixed typewritten and manuscript passages of commentary. (Burgess has also crossed out several passages within the published text by hand.)

The published pages are numbered 9-12, 23-30, 57-58, 61-64, 139-150, 323-336, 339-344, 513-532, and 701-703 and correspond to the following sections:

Part I (Telemachus): from 'Stately plump Buck Mulligan' (p. 9) to page 12; then pages 24-29 to the end of this section ('Usurper').

Part II (Calypso): pages 57-58, 62-65. Section begins 'Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish'.

An extract from 'Aeolus' (the newspaper office chapter), pp. 140-150. From 'ITALIA, MAGISTRA ARTIUM' to 'Tickled the old ones, too ...'.

Pages 323 to 343. From 'So anyhow in came John Wayne Nolan' to 'like a shot off a shovel.'

Extract from 'Circe' chapter, pp. 514-532. From 'PIANOLA: My girl's a Yorkshire girl' to the end of this section: 'A white lambkin peeps out of his waistcoat pocket.'

'Penelope': Molly Bloom's monologue, pp. 702-704. From 'try again so I I can get up early' to 'yes I said yes I will Yes.'

Burgess has divided the published pages into 4 sections, numbered 1-4, and he has re-numbered each of the pages in sections 1-3 from 1-44.

Administrative / Biographical History

A Shorter Ulysses was probably intended to serve as a companion volume to Burgess's A Shorter Finnegans Wake, which Burgess was commissioned to edit by Peter du Sautoy at Faber & Faber in c.1966. When describing his commission to write A Shorter Finnegans Wake in the second part of his autobiography, You've Had Your Time (1990), Burgess explains that he was asked to create a beginner's (abridged) version of about 200 pages with a commentary to link the passages of Joyce's original text and an explanatory preface. The surviving notes towards A Shorter Ulysses suggest that Burgess envisaged that this volume would follow a similar format.

Access Information


Available to researchers in consultation with the Archivist due to the condition of the item.


Dating method: The document was discovered in Burgess's house in Bracciano, which was purchased in the early 1970s, and thus probably date from this period.

Alternative Form Available

A copy of the notes has been made and is filed alongside the original text.

Related Material

The Penguin 1969 edition of Ulysses from which Burgess removed the pages described above forms part of the library collection at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and contains a small number of handwritten annotations by Burgess.