James Joyce, Bloomsday and faulty plumbing
On this day in 1904 all the events in James Joyce’s book Ulysses took place; it is known as ‘Bloomsday’ because the book’s hero is Leopold Bloom.
The day is now celebrated worldwide. In Dublin, fans in Edwardian dress retrace the route taken by Bloom as described in the book. Joyce was a huge admirer of the original epic by Homer and the book roughly follows the various episodes of the original – Circe, Lotus Eaters, and Cyclops etc.
Bloom takes the part of Odysseus (Ulysses) and Stephen Daedalus that of his son, Telemachus. Much of the book is ‘stream of consciousness’ in style which Joyce was in the habit of dictating to his then amanuensis, Samuel Beckett (later to become a great writer himself). Once while dictating in his apartment, a visitor knocked on the door and Joyce shouted ‘come in’, words that Beckett faithfully recorded and included in the day’s script. Joyce later decided to leave them in.
Here is a poem that was written by Joyce. Some critics have unkindly wondered if the plumbing in his apartment was faulty:
All day I hear the noise of waters
Sad as the sea-bird is when, going
He hears the winds cry to the water’s
The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing
Where I go.
I hear the noise of many waters
All day, all night, I hear them flowing
To and fro.
Today I will consider the description of prayer as ‘the lifting up of the heart and mind to God’ and use my own stream of consciousness for the purpose.