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Happy Bloomsday!

June 15, 2012

June 16 is the biggest literary day on my annual calendar:  Bloomsday! 

June 16, 1904 is the date on which the action happens in the book Ulysses by James Joyce, which has as its “hero” the character Leopold Bloom.

I won’t be posting tomorrow, but to help get you into the celebratory mood, here are some posts from BLT that mention James Joyce:

A very incomplete listing of Joyce events is here, but many communities will have some sort of James Joyce-themed event.  (Here are some events in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.)

There are streaming broadcasts from BBC Radio 4 (all day long), WBAI, KPFK, and KPFA and from Symphony Space in New York.  (With a little effort , it is fairly straightforward to listen to all these recordings after the fact if you act within a week.  For capturing the BBC action, I recommend the free tool RadioDownloader – when you open the application, look under BBC broadcasts at “James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Or, more easily, there is a podcast here.   You can find WBAI archives here and KPFK archives here.)  More unusually, you can listen in German at SWR

There is a celebratory web site and a blog, a new iPhone app, and ruminations here, here, and here.  All sorts of multimedia work is going on at the liberateUlysses web site.  The Rosenbach Museum and Library has all sorts of interesting online exhibitions (including selections in Joyce’s hand of his original drafts.)

If you’d like to here a recording of Ulysses (listening to it can provide great insights into the book), my favorite recording is by the Irish broadcaster RTE (available for free on the Web, or on CD or MP3 format.)  The free Librivox version is above average, and there is a second one in progress here and here.  There are also some fine readings from Naxos (if you just want a reading of Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy, look here) and an OK one on Recorded Books.

There is plenty of ancillary material as well:  Frank Delaney is working his way through the novel with plenty of down-to-earth comments at his podcast; BBC has interesting ancillary programs on Saturday Live, James Joyce’s Playlist, and in Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Times; and RTE has its recording of Joyce Songs.

If you want a more exotic experience, listen to a complete recording of Finnegans Wake (which I liked, but some rather disliked) – or this abridged recording.

Or, if you don’t want to go out on Saturday and don’t want a multi-media experience, you can always read the book.

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