Bloomsday Montréal 2012
February 4, 2012 § 19 Comments
I am on a steering committee attempting to launch Bloomsday Montréal this year on 16 June.
For those who don’t know, Bloomsday is an annual celebration worldwide of James Joyce’s masterful novel, Ulysses, which was first published in 1922. Ulysses traces the travels of one Leopold Bloom, a Dubliner, across the city on 16 June 1904. That date was significant for Joyce as it was the date of his very first outing with his wife to be, Nora Barnacle. Many consider Ulysses the finest novel of the 20th century. The first Bloomsday was celebrated on 16 June 1954, the 50th anniversary of Bloom’s travels, in Dublin, where the Irish artist John Ryan and the novelist Flann O’Brien decided to re-trace Bloom’s route around the city.
From there, Bloomsday has grown to be a massive cultural phenomenon, celebrated in over 60 nations around the world. In 2004, the 100th anniversary of Bloom’s travels, a massive celebration was held in Dublin, with over 10,000 people in attendance. On 16 June 1958, the star-crossed Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath were married on Bloomsday. Why Montréal, a major city of the Irish diaspora has not had a Bloomsday until now is beyond my ken. But, it is time.