Wednesday, June 20, 2007


June 16th was Bloomsday. 103 years after the first Bloomsday, in the novel Ulysses, wherein Leopold Bloom takes several hundred pages to wander about Dublin on a single day. There was a time in my life when I would have lifted a pint of Guinness to the immortal memory of James Joyce and Leopold Bloom. Less connected to the ivory tower these days I see the big day slipped by unremarked in my household. It doesn't seem like long ago that I had invites to 24-hour Ulysses-reading parties. Yes, that's right, time for some T. S. Eliot:
I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
The Onion should do one of those mock "what do you think" polls: "What are you doing to celebrate Bloomsday this year?" The CBC's Jian Ghomeshi had a great answer last year, as he was actually reading Ulysses as he filled in as Sounds Like Canada host on CBC Radio. Throughout the summer we had regular updates on Jian's progress, plus discussions with Joyceans like Michael Groden, a world-renowned Joyce scholar who is a professor at UWO (University of Western Ontario). Groden was the host of some of those Ulysses parties back in my UWO days I believe.
Reading Ulysses is an extremely quixotic task these days, an easy target for mockery, but Jian pulled it off quite well I thought. Almost makes me want to finally read the whole blasted thing. Almost.


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