The action of Ulysses took place 100 years ago today. Read about it in Andrew Lewis Conn’s Voice essay; follow the links in riviera’s MeFi thread; listen to the Symphony Space reading hosted by Isaiah Sheffer being broadcast by WBAI at this very moment (audio here) [Note: “very moment” guarantee has expired]. Added value: Sean O’Faolain’s “50 Years After Bloomsday” from the NY Times of 1954.
Update. Fionnula Flanagan read the Penelope chapter so brilliantly my wife and I were mesmerized and hated having to go to bed before “…yes I said yes I will Yes.”
Also, John Banville has a disillusioned take on the whole thing in the NY Times Sunday Book Review, “Bloomsday, Bloody Bloomsday,” which ends with this sad anecdote:

[Anthony] Cronin was the instigator of another Bloomsday event in 1982, when writers from around the world were invited to Dublin to celebrate Joyce’s own centenary. Among the many notable artists who came was — yes — Borges, who by then was in his 80’s and totally blind. He was collected from the airport by a couple of volunteer meeters-and-greeters, who deposited him in his suite at the Shelbourne Hotel and went off to do more meeting and greeting. When they returned, late in the day, Borges was still in his room, and in fact had not left during the intervening hours. What was he to have done, Borges asked, since he did not know the city or anyone in it? Ever since, when I hear talk of Bloomsday celebrations, that, I am afraid, is the image that springs immediately to mind: an old, blind writer, one of the greatest of his age, sitting alone in a hotel room overlooking an unseen St. Stephen’s Green.


  1. Thelonious says

    Last night I listened to WBAI on the radio. An Irish actress read the entire last chapter – Molly’s stream-of-consciousness monologue – from about 9:30 until well after midnight. She read it in such a way that it actually made sense and wasn’t just non-punctuated words thrown together. I wish I could have stayed up for “yes I can yes I will yes yes yes” but that was probably around 1:30 AM.

  2. Me too. In fact, I should add an update about it. Thanks for reminding me.

  3. Also, the text of the book will be posted one page a day here, starting yesterday and culminating on June 14, 2006.

  4. Terrible. Thanks for the story.

  5. Lord. A further indication of the incompetence of Cronin’s people: Borges, according to some of the pieces in the Viking press Selected Nonfictions, never read Ulysses.

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