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Re: Joyce! It’s Bloomsday!

This blog post was updated on July 27, 2021.

Considered to be Joyce’s masterpiece and a seminal piece of 20th century literature, the modernist novel Ulysses is known for its dense and dialect rich text and tells the story of a day in the life of Leopold Bloom.

Bloomsday commemorates the life of Irish writer James Joyce and the day of June 16, 1904, an otherwise nondescript day depicted in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. Bloomsday is named after Bloom, the principal character of the novel.

Major festivities take place in Dublin – where the story is based and Joyce’s hometown – from early morning of the 16th until well into the wee hours of the 17th. Events around the world on the same day also celebrate the occasion and the works of the author.

In an article for The Guardian, Mark Traynor of Dublin’s James Joyce Centre, says around 40 events are scheduled for the day, including walking tours, “public readings led by drag queen Panty Bliss,” Stephen Fry in conversation with senator David Norris, and “people dress up in Edwardian garb.” Another big draw of Bloomsday is getting to see scenes from Ulysses played out throughout the day across Dublin in many of the actual settings where they occurred in the story.

In Trieste, Italy where the author lived a number of years and wrote The Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the first three chapters of Ulysses, events centered around the town’s Joyce Museum promise the opportunity to “act, dance, converse, play and toast James Joyce and his great (anti)hero, secretly triestine, Leopold Bloom.”

Other cities observing the day include Pula, Croatia where Joyce worked as a teacher and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Rosenbach Museum where the manuscript of this famous novel as well as a number of first edition copies are held.

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