A Bloomsday roundup…

This website pretends to the world that it’s about politics and culture. That was certainly my intention, when it began just over seven years ago. And indeed, politics and culture in Ireland are often intimately (too intimately?) entwined. One cultural date we try to make every year is a celebration of James Joyce’s successful binding of the hyper local with the universal: Ulysses. I’m going to invite Slugger’s bloggers, if they wish, to add their own thoughts, links, news on how the world celebrates. But first off, a round up of the things that caught my eye on the day that’s in it…- Of course it has already started in Australia, and ABC has a report on Melbourne’s celebration of Buck Mulligan… “Buck is one of the boyos…”

– Colum McCann discovers where his Grandfather is ‘buried‘, “happily between the covers of a book, where he sits, smoking and drinking still.”

– Robert McCrum has found a way to take the pain out of Finnegan’s WakeFinnegans Wake (Modern Classics)” title=”Buy the recording instead”>Buy the recording instead…

– And John Naughton, in leiu of the Dublin media’s preoccupation with matters more pressing than obscure literary events, has unearthed this gem of a recording of the man himself and is shocked to discover the same boy was no ‘Dub’….

– And if you are worried you’ve never read it and don’t get what all the fuss is about, Angela’s only up to page 310 (which could be a third or half way through depending on which edition she’s reading) but clips her best bits so far…

– Mike Barsanti who’s handling the Bloomsday production of Ulysses in Philadelphia: “It calls into question the basic assumptions of what an artist is supposed to give a viewer, what the basic ground rules of a certain genre of art are.”

Twenty is distinctly unimpressed, but when I hit the play button on the YouTube video, all I get is a message saying “invalid parameters”… Is that the Cosmos trying to tell you/me something Twenty?

– Oh, and Joyce himself was once called “blasphemous and unreadable”.

– And here’s a map to help you trace the journey

– Even Trieste’s taking time out to remember it’s former resident

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  • Pete Baker

    Worth a look.

    Sean O’Hagan’s review of Declan Kiberd’s Ulysses and Us from the Observer a couple of weeks ago.

    The last word, though, should not, for once, go to Joyce but to the common reader, in this instance Declan Kiberd’s father, a Dubliner through and through. “My father loved Ulysses as the fullest account ever given of the city in which he lived,” writes Kiberd. “There were parts that baffled or bored him, and these he skipped, much as today we fast-forward over the duller tracks on beloved music albums. But there were entire passages he knew almost by heart.”

  • Mick, your message may have got through. The Youtube video on the Twentymajor site works for me.

  • What gets to me is the “all human life is here” aspect. And the book’s ability to have contemporary reverberations.

    At the most banal extreme, there was the Martello Tower in one of last weekend’s supplements, leading the list of swimming places.

    Or the serial bore who took the seat opposite me at King’s Cross, and by York was still telling me all the faults of the book. Not bad, since he never stopped for breath and had read no more than the synopsis.

    I’ve just noticed that my “good” copy (the one without the markings and comments) is 42 years old — still in its green dust cover, as bought in Hodges Figgis’s old shop.

    That would be the copy that features in one of those bizarre memories…

    I was accosted in the grammar school staffroom by the Deputy Head. Usually this implied I had overstepped the boundaries of decorum and good taste, again. This time it was a whispered request: did I have a copy of Ulysses? Could the headmaster borrow it?

    Anxious to please, I used my lunch-break to bring it in and hand it over.

    I was staggered, first thing next morning, to have the text returned, sealed in the conventional brown manilla envelope.

    And even more taken aback when the local newspaper reported a further event of that intervening evening. The Borough Council’s Watch Committee refused permission for a showing of Joseph Losey’s (far more deplorable, for artistic reasons) film. Particular mention was made of the opposition to the showing by an “independent” alderman, the said headmaster.

    He had read the book, he declared, and found it obscene and scurrilous, without redeeming merits. Yet it has apparently taken me 15,000+ times the length of his reading not to be convinced of that view. He was severely dischuffed when I stood at the next Borough Council elections for Labour. By which time I felt it appropriate to move on. As was leaked to me by a sympathetic member of my next appointment panel, he gave me a superb teaching reference, to which he appended that I was a revolutionary activist and a socialist agitator.

    If John Naughton had read Portrait he would recognise the Corkonian in Joyce,

  • Rory Carr

    Like Pete, I too was drawn to Declan Hibert’s latest reflections, though in my case it was in The Times:


    although it would seem he is not without his critics as this piece by Kevin Jackson from The Sunday Times indicates:


  • Rory Carr

    That would be “Declan Kiberd’s latest reflections…” I have no idea what Declan Hibert (whoever he might be) has cause to reflect upon and if he is out there I do offer him my sincere aplologies.

  • Works for me, Mick.

    Try this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ4c1X5ene8

  • Mick Fealty

    The message was singularly for me then Twenty… 😉

  • You should feel privileged the cosmos speaks directly to you.