Happy Bloomsday! June 16th

Happy Bloomsday! We’re celebrating the dynamic force of human creativity, love and the great yes of the eternal feminine from the novel Ulysses by James Joyce. 

Bloomsday honors Leopold Bloom, the novel’s protagonist.  He is one of many colorful characters who walk – and lie about – the city of Dublin on June 16th. Love it or hate it (and I love it though admit to also skipping some of the boring bits 🙂 the novel is forever important for bringing stream of consciousness into modern literature. With that comes a fuller expression of the darkness – and light – of the human heart just before the wars of the 20th Century. 

My second favorite quote is spoken by Leopold Bloom (aka Ulysses) during one of his stops on a walk that lasts almost a full day. After a glass Burgundy and some Gorgonzola at a pub off Grafton Street in the middle of the day, he speaks about the world altering power of love (and is met with mockery) …

— — But it’s no use, says he. Force, hatred, history, all that. That’s not life for men and women, insult and hatred. And everybody knows that it’s the very opposite of that that is really life.

— What? says Alf.

— Love, says Bloom. I mean the opposite of hatred.

My favorite quote is spoken by Molly Bloom, Leopold’s wife. We find her lolling about in her bedroom in the middle of the night waiting for Leopold’s (Ulysses’) return.  Unlike Penelope, Ulysses’ wife in the original Greek Hero’s tale, Molly has not waited chastely. In her unpunctuated flowing speech – it takes about 90 minutes to read out loud – we hear from a woman now in her mid 40’s. She ponders her girlhood in Gibraltar, her romantic affairs and the deep sadness she and Leopold felt in losing their young son. Then she starts to recall Leopold’s marriage proposal as they lay together on Howth Head, in the sunshine overlooking Dublin Bay. The book which helped open up modern literature then ends with Molly’s yes, her great YES…

“and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

I’ll be having a little Burgundy and Gorgonzola party myself!