HAPPY BLOOM’S DAY!

 Yes, it’s the 16th of June, better known to James Joyce geeks like me as Bloom’s Day. The day is named in honor of Leopold Bloom, the Jewish advertising sales rep and Freemason who is one of the major characters in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The novel also brings along Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist of his earlier novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. For those unfamiliar with this work, Ulysses is Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness novel in which he metaphorically features the events from the Odyssey in a single day – June 16th, 1904, in Dublin. (The day he met Nora Barnacle, the woman he would eventually marry after living together for decades) Bloom represents Ulysses/Odysseus, Stephen represents Telemachus and Leopold’s wife, Molly Bloom, represents Penelope.

The novel is jam-packed with allusions to all manner of mythology (including sly references to the ancient Semitic myth which was the forerunner of the Odyssey, that’s why the character representing Ulysses is Jewish), Irish history and politics as well as a great deal of mystical and literary philosophy. Anyone into the Rosicrucians and their teachings should love spotting all the hidden meanings. 

When I was in my teens and twenties Ulysses was my favorite Joyce novel, but after that Finnegan’s Wake became my favorite. Anyway, I figured I’d use one of the few photos of James Joyce in which he does not look like the love child of Floyd the barber and Wally Cox. Enjoy!

14 Comments

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14 responses to “HAPPY BLOOM’S DAY!

  1. Happy Bloom’s Day! You know way too much stuff! I like the pic – Joyce doesn’t look comfortable at all. It’s funny. I want to tell him to lighten up! Take care.

    • I know! And hell, this pic is from 1918 so he still had most of his eyesight at that point (“take out his eyes, apologize”) so I don’t know why he looks so damned uncomfortable. He would probably say he looks “Byronic” but I’m just glad it’s a picture where for once he doesn’t resemble the two people I mentioned.

  2. Happy Bloom’s Day. I had no idea this was when Bloom’s day was. Not much of a Joyce fan though, I like ‘Potrait, but I was just tired and a little confused by the end of Ulysses.

    • I know what you mean. I think that for its day Ulysses pretty much rewrote the rules, but these days so many of Joyce’s techniques have been so overused and imitated it makes the original seem almost “obscure just for the sake of being artsy”. “Sunny Jeem” was a mythology geek like I am, so being into a LOT of world mythology helps you follow what’s going on. The movie version was okay, but even the filmmakers apparently admitted the book is pretty much unfilmable, so I don’t know why they bothered doing it. Supposedly the stage play, titled “Ulysses in Night Gown” is good but I’ve never seen it.

  3. Woman

    Ohhhh…. this sounds intriguing. I must see if I can get this book at the book store. I had no idea that this book existed!!!!

  4. Ed, what a great post. Congratulations! Any initiative to publicise true culture is to be aplauded. I spent a whole term at uni studying Joyce, and it proved a challenge at times. Which is why I loved his work so much, I’m not one for easy reading. However, I’ve never heard of Bloom’s Day, I don’t know why it’s not celebrated here. I mean, I wouldn’t expect the whole world to celebrate it, but you should hear about it in any university…Anyway, I’ve bookmarked the date and will try to spread the word for next year.

  5. Thanks, Didi! In Ireland (for obvious reasons) it’s a much bigger deal, but I always like to mention the day and the novel whenever I can. Glad you enjoyed JJ’s work. (It is dy-no-miiiiite!) Years ago I used to mentally tick off what was going on in the novel each hour of the day on the 16th of June.

  6. Pingback: Persephone

    • Ha! I miss you, too, thank you, but hey, the subject of Woman’s blog and her way of expressing herself ARE kind of Molly Bloomish. I never said a word about “met him pike hoses” or related matters, so there’s no need for any alleged “jealousy”.

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  9. Dalton

    I like Ulysses, too.

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