On June 16 literary nerds across the world celebrate a little known holiday — June 16 is Bloomsday, a day that honors the famous author James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses. Berkeley pays homage to this holiday (although summer school is never canceled which is baffling) by hosting a series of readings.

Mrs. Dalloway’s bookstore will be hosting a reading of Ulysses at 1:00 PM. They will be reading from Episode 5 of the epic (this is the point where you thumb through your dusty, yellow-paged copy of the book, which you doubtless have somewhere if you majored in English and triumphantly exclaim, “Ah! Yes! The Lotus Eaters!”). If you feel like going into the city, hop on the BART, and go over to the Mechanic’s Institute to hear readings from Ulysses, as well as Portrait of the Artist and some traditional Irish music. It is an evening event at 7 PM, and will cost you $20.00. Sound like a bore?

Well, if you are NOT an English major, have absolutely NO idea what we are referring to and are asking yourself why in the world would people celebrate a holiday dedicated to intellectuals and other snobs who enjoy literary readings, well, you are one of many. But, Bloomsday is about much more then sitting and listening as a man in a maybe-fake English accent pronouncing words ab-so-lut-e-ly perfect. Leopold Bloom, Ulysses’ hero/main character would certainly have never gone to a reading.  Here are  three ways to honor the author and his everyman novel (yes, we really mean that) by having fun.

1. Go out to a bar with your friends and get absolutely hammered: Both Bloom and the books’ other protagonist, Stephen, spend most of their time doing just that. The book ends with Stephen getting punched because he is too drunk to keep his mouth shut and insults a man twice his size.

2. Go to a strip club: This is actually a tamer version of what happens in the novel, as Bloom and Stephen visit a brothel and hang with the whores for hours on end, while being incredibly drunk.

3. Masturbate: Yes, this novel is in fact famous for its masturbation scene, as Bloom sees a pretty girl in a bathing suit and just can’t help himself. Early in its history the  book was actually banned because of this scene and deemed “pornography”.

Ok, so now do you understand why Ulysses is awesome? A true celebration of this novel is a celebration of being human, of making mistakes, and following the needs of your body rather than your brain. Joyce meant for his novel to be for the masses, not just for stuffy bookshop owners. Happy Bloomsday everybody!

Image Source: BrianDamage under Creative Commons

El Blum said:
Jun 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Insanely idiotic. Even Jums Juyce himself was in for a little levity in regards to his work, but not this level of Maxim-Magazine-like twaddle. Titty bars and wanking? Laughable. Not with, but at. And as well, I’m sure that Misser Joice didn’t intend the book to be for the masses; it didn’t matter that he couldn’t see a pisses length ahead of him because all he cared about was his pruny prose and pungent puns. If you truly want to celebrate Bloomsday wee kids, then just put down your goddamn ipod and pick up the damn book (Ew-lisses) and READ it (for real)-what a radical idea, right? However, you, Ms. King, please stay at said bar with the royal knaves and other usurpers.