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16 June 2011

Happy Bloomsday


For those of you who have not heard, Ulysses takes place one day in the life of Dublin through the eyes of Leopold Bloom.  No, that's not quite right.  It's a lot more complex than that.  Bloom is the character that links each scene.  Regardless, ... that day has been identified as 16 June, and so now we have Bloomsday, even as Leo had despaired of having his own day.

In a prior life, our fearless leader had taken the Newberry Library night course which covered a chapter or two each week.  The first week he came home with the plotting of each chapter and how it related to the ancient Greek story of Ulysses as well as social and religious relations in contemporary Ireland.

Reading James Joyce's Ulysses has become a cult activity.  Books on First had a couple of events in the past for Bloomsday on 16 June, usually including a round robin reading aloud of the book.  Of course, I liked reading about the funeral cortege 'rounding the corner on Dunphy's, a pub but just as likely to be a bookstore/coffeehouse, right? 

-- Dunphy's, Mr Power announced as the carriage turned right.
Dunphy's corner. Mourning coaches drawn up drowning their grief. A pause by the wayside. Tiptop position for a pub. Expect we'll pull up here on the way back to drink his health. Pass round the consolation. Elixir of life.

In my half sleep, I thought I heard on NPR that there was going to be a tweet reading of Ulysses on Twitter.  Surely, #bloomsdayburst would be on Twitter's featured list for today!

While not the most accessible of literature, it's really, not so bad, folks, and in the end, a very satisfying read. Of course, it's always better in a crowd, even an intimate one.

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