Wednesday, June 16, 2004

One hundred years ago today, nothing happened!

Then again, it depends on your point of view. They certainly don't believe that in Dublin.

"Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland's hearts and hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybody really?" -- James Marcus

Today, one of the most celebrated novels of the twentieth century is being celebrated. James Joyce wrote his classic novel Ulysses, about a day in the life of one day -- June 16, 1904 -- in the life of its two main characters, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, who go on their separate ways, crossing paths with a variety of fellow-Dubliners. We watch them teach, eat, stroll the streets, argue, and, to quote it's review in "[T]hanks to the book's stream-of-consciousness technique -- which suggests no mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river -- we're privy to their thoughts, emotions, and memories. The result? Almost every variety of human experience is crammed into the accordian folds of a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimental work but the very last word in realism."

That day in June is today known as "Bloomsday," and throughout Dublin -- indeed, throughout the English-speaking world -- devotees of James Joyce will gather to read his work; sometimes to themselves, sometimes out loud. This in honor of a fictional day that time has made as real as any, to those who believe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nârwen here. I can never get the sign-in thing to work properly.
Another literary note:June 16, 1833 was the date Venerable John Henry Newman wrote "The Pillar of the Cloud", better known by its first three words, "Lead, Kindly Light".