We hope you had a happy holiday Sunday. That’s right, it was Bloomsday.
On June 16, 1904, James Joyce and his future bride, Nora Barnacle, took a stroll in Dublin. In Joyce’s novel Ulysses, Leopold Bloom walks the same streets on the same date. 50 years later, a literary holiday was born:
“The day was 16 June, 1954, and though it was only mid-morning, Brian O’Nolan [Flann O’Brien] was already drunk. This day was the fiftieth anniversary of Mr. Leopold Bloom’s wanderings through Dublin, which James Joyce had immortalised in Ulysses.
To mark this occasion a small group of Dublin literati had gathered …just below the Martello tower in which the opening scene of Joyce’s novel is set. They planned to travel round the city through the day, visiting in turn the scenes of the novel, ending at night in what had once been the brothel quarter of the city, the area which Joyce had called Nighttown.”
— From flann o’brien, an illustrated biography, Peter Costello and Peter Van De Kamp, quoted in “the first bloom(sday),” Raynor Ganan, The Ragbag
While the term “Bloomsday” was never used by Joyce, the literary holiday is now observed worldwide.
No time or patience to read the 1040-page novel? Relax.
Ulysses Cheat Sheet, Mental Floss
Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-dmI
Image (“Bloomsday 2013, after Patrick Tuohy”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
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