When I was in college, I signed up to take a class on James Joyce’s Ulysses. What followed was an epic saga into what is often described as one of the best books ever written*. My pride at being able to (mostly) complete this book is akin to that of people who have run marathons, joined Crossfit, successfully birthed triplets, etc. Following college I worked at a company where I read literary journals and wrote short summaries of the articles (because that was a job in the late 1990s; everything was a job in the late 1990s) and of course I was assigned to both literary journals that focused on James Joyce**.
James Joyce’s Ulysses takes place on a single day, June 16, 1904, in Dublin, Ireland. It primarily tells the story of Leopold Bloom, but also Stephen Dedalus, in their travels around the city. It links to Homer’s Odyssey. It’s a modernist book, and it’s very dependent on a through understanding of Irish history and culture (which was obtained for me primarily from guidebooks I read on the side, and the occasional drinking song that I learned from my uncles). Because of this, it’s somewhat inaccessible. However, it’s got wonderful depth, and the language is deliciously immersive, and once you get your arms around what’s going on, it’s just one of the best books. Here is the Wikipedia page on the book because it’s been close to 20 years since I’ve had to write about literature and I’m a bit rusty.
So tomorrow is June 16! And I have taken the day off work and I am going to attend at least one, possibly two, readings of James Joyce’s Ulysses as part of the Bloomsday in Pittsburgh events.
I have decided I am going to attempt to liveblog this. I have been meaning to attempt a liveblog and this seems like a good opportunity to give it a shot. I have hockey playoffs in the evening, so I probably won’t be able to drink as much whiskey as I’d like, but I’ll try to make do. Be sure to check back tomorrow to see how this adventure goes.
*not that I subscribe to literary canon, of course, because that would be elitist
**I couldn’t remember the names of them both, but Google tells me that one is the James Joyce Quarterly.