Today is the 105th anniversary of Leopold Bloom’s one-day passage through the ordinary streets of Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Dubliners and Joyce-lovers around the world are celebrating the author as well as the book, with readings, races, reenactments, and even Twitter (don’t worry, they only adapted the tenth chapter).
In The New York Times Colum McCann commemorated the day with a beautiful Op-ed about his all-but-forgotten grandfather:
Soon my grandfather was emerging from the novel. The further I went in, the more complex he got. The man whom I had met only once was becoming flesh and blood through the pages of a fiction. After all, he had walked the very same streets of Dublin, on the same day as Leopold Bloom. I began to see my grandfather outside Dlugacz’s butcher shop, his hat cocked sideways, watching the moving “hams” of a young girl. I wondered if he had a penchant for “the inner organs of beasts and fowls.” I heard him arguing with the Citizen in Barney Kiernan’s pub. I felt him mourn the loss of a child.
Read the whole piece, and look for The Rumpus interview with Colum McCann tomorrow.