FEW THINGS ARE more tiresome than the vogue for making lists of books, or films, or works of music, and rating them according to which is the greatest. No one's opinion can count for more than anyone else's in such subjective matters. That said, we probably all know by now - whether or not we have ever read the book - that this month sees the centenary of the day upon which Joyce's Ulysses is set. So it is as good a time as any to consider why some of us, with utter subjectivity, regard it as the greatest work of fiction in the English language.
It is not, in itself, a gripping plot: two men wander round Dublin on a warm June day, much drink is taken separately and together, and once the two have met they go with others to a brothel. Meanwhile, the wife of one of them commits adultery off-stage, but in