If you know your classics, it's hard to miss Ulysses and its famed writer James Joyce. A modernist novel, Ulysses follows the accounts of the protagonist Leopold Bloom in Dublin. To celebrate the great novelist who wrote it, Ireland observes Bloomsday. The day commemorates the life and times of James Joyce and is named after his character Leopold Bloom. June 16 is therefore called Bloomsday because on this day, the events of his epic novel Ulysses officially begins. Bloomsday is also called as La Bloom by some publications.
About Ulysses and James Joyce
James Joyce is one of the greatest literary figures of the modern age. Born in 1882, the writer is one of the most important authors who shaped the literature of the age with his avant-garde sensibilities. World Book Day 2019: Some of The Greatest English Books Ever Written, How Many Have You Read?
Ulysses is his greatest work, which is notoriously difficult to read and understand. It draws parallels between the Homeric hero Odysseus and the experiences of Leopold Bloom. The novel is known for its complex tropes and its nod to various literary styles.
History of and Celebration of Bloomsday
In the novel Ulysses, James Joyce picked the date June 16, 1904, for a special reason. It was the day when he and his wife Nora Barnacle went out on their first date. The first recorded date of its celebration was in 1924, when Joyce himself came to know about a group of people who were celebrating it.
But the official Bloomsday happened only 50 years later. Two names John Ryan and Brian O'Nolan, who were important people in the Irish literary circles, organised an event following the route taken by Leopold Bloom in the novel.
The people who gathered for the first Bloomsday came along for the ride, but didn't complete the entire route.
But ever since that year, people who are fans of the esteemed novel celebrate Bloomsday by organising walks, public readings and pub tours, acts that are mentioned in the novels. They also celebrate by eating the same meal as the protagonist.
The Martello Tower in South Dublin is an important landmark in the festivities because it is here where the first chapter opens.
In the digital age today, Bloomsday is also celebrated over Twitter where fans tweet the entire novel -- all 265,000 words of Ulysses.
Although the celebrations first started in Ireland, James Joyce's native land, the celebrations spread out to other parts of the world where his fans lived. Every year, readers recreate events in the novel Ulysses in their exact locations. Ireland also hosts literary events to commemorate the day. Since Ulysses is a period novel set in the early 20th century, people also play dress up, walking around in costumes from the time period.