Friday, June 18, 2010

Bloomsday! James Joyce in Pula, Croatia and on the Upper West Side

Last Wednesday, June 16, was Bloomsday, celebrated in NYC each year by loyal readers of Joyce's Ulysses. Had forgotten about it until bedtime, when I tuned in to my favorite radio station, WNYC-FM, which was broadcasting a special program from Symphony Space in Upper Manhattan. Instead of their traditional reading of the novel straight through—which takes all day—they were interspersing scenes from The Odyssey with long passages from the novel. The program was to conclude with Fionnuala Flanagan reading Molly Bloom's closing soliloquy. I settled myself comfortably with my bedside radio and awaited Ms. Flanagan's performance. My mistake was getting too comfortable. When I awoke about an hour and a half later, Molly was still soliloquizing. I anticipated the final sentences, but dozed off again. Yes...yes...yes....

It's gratifying that the residents of Pula, Croatia (not that far from Trieste, where Joyce spent some time teaching English and where there's a small museum devoted to him as well as a statue overlooking the harbor) had enough respect for the great Irish writer to erect this statue of him enjoying a drink at a local café. It was a pleasant surprise to encounter him there. Yes.

No comments: