Thursday, May 13, 2010

What is Bloomsday?

Bloomsday is a literary holiday. It is celebrated each year on June 16th commemorating the day that James Joyce's epic novel, Ulysses, takes place - on June 16th, 1904. Joyce chose this date for his novel in honor of the first time he went out walking with his future wife, Galway girl, Nora Barnacle the inspiration for the character of Molly Bloom.

Ulysses is considered by many to be the greatest novel of the twentieth century. Certainly, it popularized the stream of conscious monologue within literary texts. James Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1882. He spent most of his writing life in exile in Paris and Zurich where he died in 1941.

On Bloomsday every year, actors, writers and readers of all sorts get together and read Ulysses aloud. These celebrations take place onstage, in the street, in private homes, on the beach and in our case, broadcast live on the radio from 7pm to 2am on WBAI, 99.5FM or anywhere in the world.

One of the most famous chapters in Ulysses is the final Penelope episode or the Molly Bloom monologue which takes place as Molly is lying in bed, thinking about her day, her lovers, her life. Consisting of eight very long run on sentences without punction, Molly Boom's solilquoy is a sexy, powerful, magical piece that takes 3 hours to perform. Caraid O'Brien will be performing the entire Molly Bloom monologue this year beginning at 11pm.

In the photo above, the actress Marilyn Monroe reads Molly Bloom's thoughts from Ulysses.

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