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Mapping Bloomsday
By Frank Jacobs

With typically Hibernian hyperbole, James Joyce once claimed that “if [Dublin] suddenly disappeared from the earth, it could be reconstructed from my book.” That book would of course be Ulysses (1922), Joyce’s masterpiece, seen by many as the most influential novel of the 20th century.

Ulysses takes place on a single day - June 16th, 1904 [1] - and focuses on the wanderings through Dublin of Stephen Dedalus, protagonist of Joyce's earlier novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and of Leopold Bloom, this novel’s protagonist, an early 20th-century Everyman. In the latter’s honour, June 16th is celebrated the world over as Bloomsday; in Dublin, fans mark it by retracing the itineraries and visiting the places described in the book.


Joyce’s book mirrors the structure of the Odyssey. Each of Ulysses’ 18 chapters corresponds with an episode of Homer’s classical epic, which recounts the decade-long, danger-fraught journey home from Troy of Odysseus [2]. The juxtaposition of that Greek hero’s mythical adventures with the mundane events of Bloomsday infuses the work with a grand irony - Ulysses has been summarised, not entirely unfairly, as: "Man goes for a walk around Dublin. Nothing happens."

The rest of the article can be seen here.








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