Here substantially revised and expanded, Don Gifford's annotations to Joyce's great modern classic comprise a specialized encyclopedia that will inform any reading of Ulysses. Annotations in this edition are keyed both to the reading text of the new critical edition of Ulysses published in 1984 and to the standard 1961 Random House edition and the current Modern Library and Vintage texts. [via]
Gifford has incorporated over 1,000 additions and corrections to the first edition. The introduction and headnotes to sections provide general geographical, biographical and historical background. The annotations gloss place names, define slang terms, give capsule histories of institutions and political and cultural movements and figures, supply bits of local and Irish legend and lore, explain religious nomenclature and practices, trace literary allusions and references to other cultures.
The suggestive potential of minor details was enormously fascinating to Joyce, and the precision of his use of detail is a most important aspect of his literary method. The annotations in this volume illuminate details which are not in the public realm for most of us.