On the morning of 16 June, 1904, Leopold Bloom began a meandering progress through the city of Dublin. The day’s events – his drinking, dining, philosophical musings and erotic fantasies – became the substance of James Joyce’s Ulysses and the high-water mark of literary modernism.
Every year Joyce enthusiasts gather to celebrate “Bloomsday” – now expanded into a week-long festival. Readings, lectures and of course drinking (occasionally even public urination) all play their part in celebrations. These extend from Dublin itself to Trieste, Genoa, Philadelphia and even the tiny Hungarian town of Szombathely – fictional home of Leopold Bloom’s father, Virag Rudolf.
The inaugural Bloomsday festivities took place in 1954. A party of Dublin literati gathered to pay homage to Joyce, intending to recreat Bloom’s journey by way of pilgrimage, complete with two horse-drawn cabs. The lure of the Duke Street pubs proved too great however, and they made it no further.
Join in this week’s Bloomsday celebrations by listening to an extract from Ulysses read by Joyce himself. And, in a lighter vein, watch original news footage of Joyce and hear of his drunken escapades with Ernest Hemingway.