June 16 is Bloomsday, the traditional day of celebration of James Joyce's Ulysses, which takes place on June 16, 1904 and is generally regarded as one of the most important novels in the English language. In Dublin, Joyce aficionados are doing a foot tour of the city, tracing the routes of the novel's characters. Everywhere else, there's been an outpouring of affection from scholars, lit geeks, and pub enthusiasts alike.
- Sláinte! The New Yorker's Elizabeth Minkel partakes in an early Joyce-themed pub crawl through Brooklyn, "an Irish stronghold for just about forever." Her encounters with the borough's colorful celebrants are well worth perusal: "A few tables away, James Toolan and Bryan Finnegan sat with matching, well-worn copies of the Gabler edition. 'Ulysses is worldly--everyone should read it,' said Toolan. 'It's nonsense. I am nonsense. It's no sense.' Finnegan nodded sagely, adding, 'Ulysses is life.' I thanked them, a little more confused than when I started."
- Don't Forget It's a Book About Drinking and Sex The Ragbag's Raynor Ganan entreats us not to fly away on gilded wings of literary analysis. "bloomsday, the ancient celtic fertility festival, has not always been about watching theatre majors strut around in period sportswear, or listening to music majors strum the celtic harp, or (worst of all) enduring english majors as they grab you by the shoulder and tell you how to read ulysses is to see the face of god," Ganan writes in a typically caps-less post. "indeed, bloomsday used to be about lowbrow carousing under the pretense of discussing highbrow literature." He then reprints an amusing account of a 1954 Bloomsday celebration, one that involved fighting, public urination, and "an enormous amount of alcohol."
- James Joyce: Still Causing Trouble Brigid Alverson at Comic Book Resources writes about a recently resolved dust-up between Ulysses Seen, a graphic-novel adaptation of the book, and Apple, which wanted the creators of the comic to remove a few panels depicting nudity before it could be shown on the iPad. (Apple eventually relented.) Alverson talks to Rob Berry, one of the artists, who gives all credit to Joyce: "Eighty-eight years later Joyce still teaches us how art defies and demolishes commonplace restrictions. Frankly, I think that's quite an amazing story for all of us to carry into BloomsDay; the idea that artistic expression is continually reinvented and new ground is won through the way we view this one little blue book."
- The Twitterverse Weighs In Joyce would have approved of Twitter, right? At any rate, Twitter approves of him. Here are thoughts from Nathan Bransford, owlspectre, Kevin Breathnach, Christine Boylan, Henry Posner, Stan Carey, David Eyre, and Jason Hanggi.
Happy #bloomsday everyone! Let's all remember to walk around and think about stuff, preferably in finely wrought prose.
Homer's Odyssey is a fairly ridiculous reworking of Joyce's Ulysses, if you ask me. A bag of wind? Get real, Homer! #bloomsday
"The theme of Ulysses is simple . . . . Casual kindness overcomes unconscionable power"--Richard Ellmann * #Bloomsday
I've decided to celebrate #bloomsday by being stately and plump. Tomorrow I'll just be plump.
happy #bloomsday, a day of getting drunk, fighting, masturbating on the beach, peeing on gardens, and some book called Ulysses.
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