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Thursday, 6 August, 1998, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Ulysses jumps to top of best-seller list
Only Ulysses's sales have increased dramatically
Last month, it was singled out as the 20th century's greatest novel. And thanks to this prestigious, although controversial, honour, Ulysses by James Joyce has suddenly shot up in popularity and in sales.

Ulysses is now number one on the best sellers list, ahead of contemporary novelists like Tom Clancy and John Grisham. It has also become the second biggest seller on, the online bookshop.

And in America, Ulysses is enjoying up to a 50 per cent increase in sales in some bookshops.

The novel was first published in 1922, after being banned as obscene for many years. It tells the story of an advertising man, his wife and surrogate son.

The story of the list

Ulysses is followed by The Great Gatsby, A Protrait of the Artist as a Young Man, also by James Joyce, Lolita and Brave New World, as the top five in the list of 100 best novels published by the Modern Library last month.

But the order of rankings has since come under some criticism. The panel of judges, who include Maya Angelou, A S Byatt and Gore Vidal, have themselves been surprised at how some of these books topped the list.

This is because panelists were not asked to list books in order of preference, but were simply required to tick 100 titles from a list of 440 without ranking them.

One judge has told the Washington Post that he has not even read some of the books for which he voted.

But for classics like Ulysses, the list has provided a platform for revival and a commercial boost.

See also:

21 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Americans vote Ulysses best novel
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