bloomsday

As Open Culture explains, this rare 1924 recording of Joyce reading from the Aeolus episode of the novel was arranged and financed by his friend and publisher Sylvia Beach, who brought him by taxi to the HMV (His Master’s Voice) gramophone studio in the Paris suburb of Billancourt. She writes in her memoir, Shakespeare & Company:

Joyce had chosen the speech in the Aeolus episode, the only passage that could be lifted out of Ulysses, he said, and the only one that was “declamatory” and therefore suitable for recital. He had made up his mind, he told me, that this would be his only reading from Ulysses.

I have an idea that it was not for declamatory reasons alone that he chose this passage from Aeolus. I believe that it expressed something he wanted said and preserved in his own voice. As it rings out–”he lifted his voice above it boldly”–it is more, one feels, than mere oratory.

Pair with these rare 1935 illustrations for Ulysses by none other than Henri Matisse

Having trouble getting through Ulysses? We don’t blame you!  Marilyn told her photographer that she loved the sound of it and would read it aloud to herself to try to make sense of it — but she found it hard going.  Kevin Birmingham’s new book on the remarkable fifteen year-fight to publish Ulysses may change your mind about this difficult novel and hopefully persuade you to give it another shot! Click here for more info 

Happy Bloomsday: James Joyce met and fell in love with Nora Barnacle. The day of their first walk together, 16 June 1904, was immortalized as Bloomsday, during which the entire narrative of his masterpiece Ulysses takes place. To this day, Dubliners celebrate Bloomsday with literary walks and celebrations.

The meaning of ‘Ulysses’ was always bound up with buying it, owning it, and showing it off, actions that assert the primacy of pleasure—the moral right to experience it—over sanctimony.
—  Dan Chiasson on Bloomsday and James Joyce’s most celebrated work: http://nyr.kr/1i25BSs
Yes I said yes I will read 'Ulysses!'

Can’t manage to plow your way through the winding words of James Joyce? There’s an app for that! 

1) Ariel Malka, a designer and programmer, recently launched his app called “He liked thick word soup.” Malka’s word-stringing app is designed to have the user closely read and interact with select excerpts from Joyce’s monumental novel.

2) The record label Naxos emphasizes the auditory elements of Ulysses through an interactive guide that allows users to listen to the music — “from Mozart to traditional Irish ballads” — mentioned in the classic novel.. 

3) In 2012, students at Boston College launched an app called “JoyceWays,” which traces the 1904 journey of Leopold Bloom through Dublin in contemporary times. At each point of interest, users can hear Frank Delaney, who NPR once called “the world’s most eloquent man,” read an excerpt of Ulysses.  

Who said technology was bad for books?

— Interns Cara & Nicole

I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish Wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
— 

Ulysses, James Joyce

Happy Bloomsday!

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"Joyce has a most goddamn wonderful book."
-Ernest Hemingway on Ulysses, Letter to Sherwood Anderson


Pictured: From our collection, an unbound press copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses signed by Ernest Hemingway.This copy of Ulysses is one of the first 1,000 printed. Allegedly, James Joyce personally stamped each of these one thousand copies, though we have yet to confirm this! Other notable recipients of press copies were T.S. Eliot and Ford Madox Ford.

James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway became friends in Paris in the 1920s, and both frequented the same bookstore: Shakespeare and Company.The owner of Shakespeare and Co. -Sylvia Beach- published Ulysses.

Credit: Joyce, James. Ulysses / by James Joyce. Paris : Shakespeare and Co., 1922. Unnumbered press copy. Unbound. Ernest Hemingway’s signature on cover page.