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Dancers from Darrah Carr Dance performing at "A Bloomsday Breakfast in Bryant Park" Photo by: Erin Baiano

Central website launched to celebrate everything James Joyce on Bloomsday

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Dancers from Darrah Carr Dance performing at "A Bloomsday Breakfast in Bryant Park" Photo by: Erin Baiano

The Rosenbach Museum & Library has announced the creation and launch of a website to celebrate the work of James Joyce, author of the landmark novel, Ulysses.

Joyce (1882-1941) has been called the greatest 20th-century novelist writing in English and Random House’s Modern Library division voted Ulysses the best English-language novel of that century.

Bloomsday, celebrated around the world annually on June 16, is a commemoration and celebration of the life of James Joyce, during which the events of his novel Ulysses, set on June 16, 1904, are relived. The Rosenbach Museum & Library, home to James Joyce’s original manuscript for Ulysses, will hold its 20th Bloomsday celebration in Philadelphia this year.

The Bloomsday Central website provides a listing of Bloomsday events worldwide, Bloomsday-related landmarks and places to see, and an online resource section that provides insight on websites, social media properties, reading guides, and James Joyce societies. It also allows visitors to submit Bloomsday events that are not yet included on the website. 

The Rosenbach is launching the site as part of its decades-long efforts to help people read and understand Ulysses, a novel often considered a challenge for even the most avid of readers. With the expiration of the American copyright on Ulysses, new resources and creative endeavors featuring the novel are more readily available than ever before.

Previous efforts at the Rosenbach to help people tackle Ulysses include an annual scholar-led reading group, annual exhibitions featuring Joyce materials, and hosting one of the world’s largest Bloomsday celebrations.

“Bloomsday is not just a passive celebration of James Joyce, one of the most important modernist writers of the 20th Century, but offers participants an easy way to enjoy his landmark novel,” said Derick Dreher, John C. Haas Director of the Rosenbach Museum & Library. “When you listen to someone read Ulysses aloud, the humor that fills the book comes alive and it is captivating. As the home of the Ulysses manuscript, the Rosenbach feels a special responsibility to share the work, so we are very proud to launch the Bloomsday Central website.”

The Rosenbach holds its Bloomsday celebration, now a well-known Philadelphia tradition, every year on June 16, drawing thousands of friends, neighbors, Joyce enthusiasts, book-lovers, and other curious participants. Additional Bloomsday celebrations include those in Dublin, where Ulysses is set; the Australia Business Arts Foundation in Melbourne, Australia; and Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, will have discussions and the presentation of Ulysses‘s second edition in Armenian.

Other items in the Rosenbach’s Joyce collection include impressive editions of all of Joyce’s works, including four copies of the rare first edition of Ulysses, a few loose manuscript items, such as an early letter from Joyce, some corrected proof pages, and a corrected errata sheet for an early edition.

Here’s footage of last year’s Bloomsday being celebrated in Bryant Park, New York:

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