Who doesn’t enjoy a sanctioned day of reckless abandonment and public drunkenness, all in the name of literature? Today is the 107th anniversary of Bloomsday, a day in celebration of James Joyce’s work, Ulysses, which follows Leopold Bloom as he navigates Dublin on June 16, 1904. This was on a Thursday, just like today, so it’s even more important to do it up right this year. If you’re in the mood to wear Edwardian garb and don’t mind being punched in the face, then head over to any Irish bar in the city and proclaim yourself a devout Joycean and demand a free pint of Guinness — that is, after you’ve enjoyed eating some liver for breakfast. Find more creative ideas for celebrating Bloomsday after the jump.
First things first: if it has been a while since you leafed through a copy of Ulysses and you need some help jogging your memory, you can view Mike Barsanti’s condensed version of the novel below.
If you’re stuck to a computer all day, then check out the Ulysses Meets Twitter project. Follow @11ysses, where a condensed version of the expansive text — which has been divided up into 96 sections — will be tweeted out by volunteers. So far, it seems like people have really risen to the challenge and the tweets are being delivered rapid fire from all over the world. A map of the participants is below.
Another option online: Frank Delaney, the Irish author and BBC host, has just completed a full year of his Re:Joyce podcasts (and not a minute too soon). They are available here. Delaney is also offering a free copy of Ulysses to the person with the “most illuminating summary” of the novel in 140 characters or less. Just include the hashtag #FDBloomsday in your tweet, and get it in by midnight tonight.
Find a video inspired by Frank Delaney’s Ulysses rap below.
Some other ideas:
If you live in New York, Boston, Chicago, DC, or LA, then download a Bloomsday map of your city here and see where it takes you.
If you’re interested in comics, you might prefer to read the novel in this format instead.
You can find out more information about Radio Bloomsday here, where the hosts are interpreting Ulysses this evening. They’ll be broadcasting at 7pm EST on WBAI (99.5FM in New York) and at 7pm PST on KPFK (90.7FM in LA). You can also hear it online at wbai.org.
Happy Bloomsday, everyone!