Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Bloomsday!

"Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods' roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine."

Bloomsday, June 16, 1904, is the day in which all of James Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses takes place, and it's cause for celebration in Ireland and around the world. There are innumerable ways to celebrate the occasion--from readings, to tracing Leopold and Stephen's routes, to consumption of delicacies like the aforementioned mutton kidneys or, for the less offal inclined, Gorgonzola sandwiches and Burgundy. I think authors, though, would do well to commemorate also the landmark US court ruling handed down by John M. Woolsey that paved the way not only for the publication of Ulysses in this country but for all sorts of works of art with content some might judge offensive.* So, raise a pint of stout for James Joyce, and be grateful.

* I have read all of Ulysses exactly once, and it boggles my mind that anyone bothered to get exercised over the "scandalous" passages. First, they're incredibly tame by today's standards and second, you have to get through passages like chapter three (which begins “Ineluctable modality of the visible” and only gets less clear from there). Anyone who reads Ulysses for titillation deserves what jollies he or she can find.

UPDATE: Oh, I guess we're not entirely over obscenity in Ulysses.

1 comment:

Stacy DeKeyser said...

I never turn down an invitation to raise a glass of stout. Cheers!