Bloomsday — who knew? Not me! I recently learned that June 16, the day James Joyce chronicled in Ulysses (June 16, 1904, to be exact), is celebrated every year in Dublin, where the story took place, and elsewhere as well. In 1954, it seems, a band of Irish authors celebrated Bloomsday by dressing up in costumes, traveling from one end of Dublin to the other in a horse-drawn carriage, and (probably) stopping off at a pub or two on the way. More recently, for the past 30 years, Symphony Space in Manhattan has hosted an annual “Bloomsday on Broadway” where Leopold-loving actors and writers come together to perform scenes from the novel.
This year in Brooklyn, Bloomsday inspired a tour of five pubs, complete with a banner and bagpiper to accompany the celebrants. The popular Irish social club hosting the pub crawl also orchestrated a marathon, six-week reading of the entire hefty novel. Impressive!
Well if James Joyce can have his day, why not Willa Cather, Charles Dickens, or one of my new favorites, Emily Dickinson? Charles was born on February 7, 1812 (a Pisces, like me!), Willa on December 7, 1873, and Emily on December 10, 1830.
Right now, I’m thinking of organizing a little celebration of my own for each of them. Mmm…wonder what I can come up with, besides devoting the day to reading their work?
Dickens surely enjoyed hoisting a glass, so a trip to a pub for dinner sounds like a festive way to carouse and commemorate. Willa absolutely adored music and the theater, so I could treat myself and a friend to a play I’ve been longing to see in her honor. And Emily was passionately fond of flowers and herbs, so a trip to the Botanical Garden might be the perfect way to celebrate her amazing poetry.
I love this idea! How about you? Which authors would you party with?