It’s June 16th, 1904. James Joyce walks with Nora Barnacle, his future wife, out on their first date. They walk together in Dublin, Ireland. More specifically, to Ringsend. He would later immortalize this day in the book, Ulysses, perhaps the greatest novel in the English language. As he celebrated his first date by writing that book, we celebrate him every year on June 16th.
In the novel, Molly Bloom is married to Leopold Bloom, the everyman of Ulysses. The Odysseus of the book. Molly was based on Nora. And Penelope. Leopold was also based on Italo Svevo, the author of The Confessions of Zeno. At least to a degree. Joyce, of course, is in all of his characters. Inside and outside. Joyce is also Stephen Dedalus, the Telamachus of the novel. All of this might be a bit confusing, if not for the fact that there are literally thousands of books about the book. And, perhaps, thousands about those books about the book.
I’ve been to Dublin, but went in September of 2003. It’s a grand wish of mine to be there on some June 16th of the future. To walk where they walked, to hear similar sounds and see similar sights. There are many guides that map the route of that walk. I’ll go with me own Molly, to be sure.
(Will post more about Bloomsday later this evening . . . )