Today is Bloomsday, the day on which the events of James Joyce’s Ulysses takes place, chosen because it was the day of his first date with Nora Barnacle.
I have not read Ulysses (although I have read the cheat’s guide!*), but I shall be listening to BBC Radio 4’s dramatisation, which is being broadcast in chunks throughout today. It is available to listen to on iPlayer, or podcasts can be downloaded.
There is a whole Ulysses mini-site on the BBC website, which describes the book as a ‘modernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to new heights’.
Joyce liked vulgarity. He was a dirty old man: just read his letters to Nora. Not for the lily-livered. One of the cleaner comments that I enjoyed was:
Here is another note to buy pretty drawers or stockings or garters. Buy whorish drawers, love, and be sure you sprinkle the legs of them with some nice scent and also discolour them just a little behind.
* Also, I own the audio book of Finnegan’s Wake. Yeah, straight to the hard stuff, me. I bought it to listen to when a friend and I drove round Ireland for a couple of days. She listened for about thirty seconds, talked over it for five minutes, then made me switch it off and put on Roddy Doyle instead.