52 - What Austria's got to do with BLOOMSDAY

Originally uploaded by francessa_Rich.
Today is Bloomsday - the day on which James Joyce's "Ulysses - one of the most outstanding works of literature - takes place (in 1904). Joyce choose the 16 June as a reminder of his first walk with his later wife Nora Barnacle. Ulysses was first published in Paris in 1922, but it took until the 30's till its publication in America and England - for reasons of "obscenity".

The structure follows very losely the episodes of Homer's Odyssey. Stephen Dedalus represents Telemach, Leopold Bloom is Ulysses, Molly Bloom is Penelope, his wife. These characters find their away around Dublin and explore sites, places and relationships.

James Joyce wrote to a friend: "I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin, I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal."

So what is the Austrian connection? When James Joyce wanted to go from Trieste to Zurich during World War I, in 1915,he was suspected by the Austrian authorities to be a spy - because of his British passport - and had to wait for his visa in the little border town of Feldkirch for quite some time. He spent many hours in the railway station,listening to the many different languages and dialects of the passengers (some of it you'll find in "Finnegans Wake").
"Over on those tracks there", he said on a later visit in 1932 to Eugene Jolas, "the fate of Ulysses was decided in 1915." Fortunately he could get out of the country finally and he wrote a great part of Ulysses in Zurich, between 1915 and 1922. More of this in German by Andreas Weigel.

Bloomsday Resources


Anonymous said...

Was it just awalk with Nora? Think it was more ...

Nogbad said...

Francessa - you should check out Rob Spence's blog. He's a Joyce fan and also a Burgessian.

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