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 early 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!
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