June 16, the Monday following Father's Day this year, is what day ?
Anyone ? Anyone ? Bueller ?
Bloomsday, June 16, is the day in 1904 on which James Joyce's
epic novel Ulysses takes place. A landmark book where, arguably, "one
mans' day is condensed into an experimental epic that can take years to
plough through" and where "James Joyce gives mythic significance to
the wanderings of Leopold Bloom, a modest man of Hungarian Jewish
origin, by using the framework of Homer's Odyssey".
In the words of Baltimore writer Baynard Woods, "there is something fitting
about the coincidence of Bloomsday with the more generally recognized American
holiday celebrating paternity, because Ulysses is, in many ways, a book about
fatherhood and the surrogates we find for fathers and for sons (Leopold Bloom and
Stephen Daedalus, two of the primary characters come together after a long day of
wandering, Daedalus playing the role of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus in the
Homer's epic, upon which Joyce's book was based)."
Here it says "Princeton may seem far from Dublin, but it nurtured a book lover named
Sylvia Beach, who would go on to publish the first edition of ''Ulysses'' in Paris in 1922.
Beach never let go of her ties to Princeton (...) and is buried in the Princeton Cemetery
next to her father, the Rev. Sylvester Woodbridge Beach, Princeton Class of 1876 and
pastor of Presbyterian Church".
More about Sylvia B in an excellent Town Topics article. She and Einstein share the same
birthday (aka "Pi Day"); the alleyway behind the public library is now named Sylvia Beach
Way, although the novel Chasing Sylvia Beach isn't part of said library's collection.
Many have mapped Bloom's peregrinations. The latter word can mean "the undefined journeys
or wanderings whether physical and/or spiritual, allowing us the possibilities of transformation
in new territories, across landscapes with unfamiliar horizons".
But here's a possible route in case you'd prefer to celebrate Bloomsday by biking around
town in a less undefined framework. It's a 7-mile loop with start/end on Sylvia Beach Way. It
allows the possibility of re-enactment as you ride past local facsimiles (school, hospital, library,
newspaper building, pub) of places immortalized in the novel. Link: http://goo.gl/maps/xM5Kz
Speaking of Homer, the other main character in Ulysses is named after Daedalus, the creator of
the Labyrinth on Crete. According to the co-owner of Labyrinth Books, "a labyrinth implies a search
and the experience of getting lost along the way". So perhaps in the spirit of Bloomsday you really
ought to be writing about and mapping the unplanned route afterwards. Labyrinth Books, by the
way, offers a Carbon-Neutral Books program, in honor of the owner's environmentalist father.