June 16, 2008

Bloomsday 2008


Once upon a time Padraigin Mcillicuddy ran a radio show, "A Terrible Beauty," on KPFA in Berkeley. Irish Music and notes on Celtic happenings around the Bay. Somehow she got hold of a copy of RTÉ Radio 1's dramatic reading of Ulysses by James Joyce, and in 1986 or so, arranged to have the whole thing broadcast, all 29 and a half hours of it, beginning on Bloomsday, June 16, and carrying on through the night and into the next day. It's a magnificent piece of work. I followed along with it for hours, watching as the words on the pages of the book took life in the voices of the cast. I had other things to do, of course, including sleep, but I returned the radio often over the course of those hours and as I listened and read (and watched in the way only radio dramatizations can make possible) Joyce's Dublin come to life for me.

Since then every Bloomsday I've taken out the book, and opened it up randomly and started in again, sometimes engaging with it for an hour or so, sometimes prodded to revisit the whole long thing, always with the memory of that program in mind.

Happy Bloomsday. I'll be off in the corner here reading for a bit.

[Map of Dublin via]

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