"Narratives are the way we make sense of the world. We parcel existence into events and string them into cause-and-effect sequences. The chemist comparing controls and variables and the child scalded by a hot stove are both understanding the world through narrative. Novels are important because they turn that basic conceptual framework into an art form. A beautiful narrative arc reassures us that the baffling events around us are meaningful---and this is why Ulysses appeared to be an instrument of chaos, an anarchist bomb. Too disrupt the narrative method was to disrupt the order of things. Joyce, it seems, wasn't devoted to reality. He appeared to be sweeping it away.
If you were a modernist---if you believed the order of things was already gone---you thought differently. T.S. Eliot defended Ulysses by objecting to its critics' premise. Life in the age of world war was no longer amenable to the narrative method, and yet Ulysses showed us that narratives weren't the only way to create order. Existence could be layered. Instead of a sequence, the world was an epiphany. Instead of a tradition, civilization was a day. The chaos of modernity demanded a new conceptual method to make sense of the contemporary world, to make life possible for art. And this is what Ulysses gave us."
~ Kevin Birmingham, The most dangerous book :
the battle for James Joyce's Ulysses