Feels great to be able to celebrate June 16th with an audio edit of James Joyce’s masterpiece novel, Ulysses.
The language in this book is incredible and the 2 readers featured in this episode of BOTR, Donal Donnelly and Miriam Healy-Louie, really evoke the musicality of Joyce’s words.
Ulysses was first serialized in 1918 to 1920 in The Little Review before being published in Paris by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922.
Sylvia Beach was the famous owner of the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookstore which still exists to this day and has become a kind of mecca for book lovers from around the world.
Ulysses takes place during a single ordinary day – June 16th, 1904 – and follows Leopold Bloom as he goes about his average Dublin day.
Even though the book was considered to be a masterpiece of Modernist literature when it was published the book was variously banned and persecuted for obscenity in its time.
Of course, lest we think that we live in some kind of enlightened age that has learned the lessons from our puritanical past, Apple only now allowed a new illustrated version of Ulysses to be sold for reading on the iPad.
Apparently even today in enlightened California a cartoon penis can cause us to believe that censorship will protect ours and future generations from the reality of our basic nature.
So cheers to the sound of the English language and to Joyce’s handsome work and to a work of art that still challenges us as a society almost a century after it was written.