Bloomsday is the day on which James Joyce’s Ulysses takes place. Set over the course of one day — June 16th, 1904 — every hour is represented by a chapter (or episode) of the novel. This novel is the story of Leopold Bloom, his daily life and tribulations, the quotidian reality of jobs, social awkwardness, flawed nationalism, relationships, and different aspects of personal loss.
Widely hailed as a masterpiece of Irish literature, and one of the most challenging novels in the English language, Ulysses is known for its avant-garde and experimental writing. Each episode reflects its content (i.e. "Aeolus," an episode of hot air, takes place in a newspaper office and is written as headlines and articles; "Sirens," where Bloom seeks to be distracted by music, is structured as a fuga per canonem; the nightmarish, midnight "Circe" episode is written as a dream play; etc.). Furthermore, each episode also contains a parallel to Homer’s Odyssey, which is only one piece in its massive puzzle. In fact, Joyce once claimed that the enigmas and puzzles of his works would keep professors and students busy for centuries; and considering its publication a century ago, in 1922 and the strength of the Joyce "industry," his threat has proven true.
Today, Bloomsday is celebrated all over the world through dramatizations, the singing of songs, urban pilgrimages, and the consumption of kidneys, gorgonzola, burgundy, and cider at their designated hours.
Our Bloomsday at the EUF is a little different, but just as Joycean! It features a culinary odyssey through Ulysses, with chefs showcasing their tasty interpretations of quotations from the novel. We also have dramatic scenes from Joyce's work, live music, and a BBQ.
This year's Bloomsday has passed, but stay tuned for the next one on June 16th, 2024!!
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