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Giugno 2008
Il 16 giugno Dublino celebra Leopold Bloom, il protagonista dell’Ulysses di Joyce, ripercorrendo i suoi passi per le vie della città.

di John Rigg

File audio:

A statue of James Joyce
A statue of James Joyce

Speaker: Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent):

Bloomsday is celebrated on June 16th every year. The best place to begin the day is Eccles Street in Dublin, where a middle-aged man in Victorian dress looks impatiently at his watch. It’s 8.00 am, and it’s time for festivities to begin. But who is he and what are we celebrating? His name is Leopold Bloom, and we’re celebrating the novel in which he appears: James Joyce’s Ulysses.


Ulysses recounts a single day in the life of Bloom – June 16th, 1904 – and we follow him as he goes about his business. Bloom leaves his home to buy his breakfast, grilled mutton kidneys, the crowd of people follow him, many in Victorian clothes themselves. This signals the beginning of the day as people throughout Dublin sit down to breakfast in pubs and restaurants, though most prefer a traditional Irish breakfast of sausages, bacon, beans and a pint of Guinness.


The day is full of colourful events with walking tours, street theatre and readings. Many of the places described in Ulysses still exist; people wander the streets with the novel in their hands, looking for places like the chemist Sweny’s in Lincoln Place, the National Library, and Davy Byrne’s pub, where Bloom has lunch.  
Legend tells us Joyce knew people would imitate his hero and choose what he thought was the most disgusting dish on the menu: a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy.  


Joyce famously complained: “How sick, sick, sick I am of Dublin! I long to be out of it.” Perhaps he would prefer the festival held in Szombathely, Hungary (the birthplace of Bloom’s father, Rudolf Virág), or the street festival held in Philadelphia – where the Rosenbach Museum has the original Ulysses manuscript.
Joyce loved to tease academics, so he would choose the International James Joyce Symposium in Paris. He once remarked: “I’ve included so many puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries!”

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as he goes about his business - mentre sbriga le sue faccende.

grilled mutton kidneys - rognoni di montone alla griglia.

the crowd of people - la folla di gente.

beans - fagioli.

wander the streets - girano per le strade.

how sick... I am of Dublin! - quanto sono stufo di Dublino!

I long to be out of it - vorrei tanto andarmene.

birthplace - luogo natale.

to tease - prendere in giro, beffare.

puzzles - rebus.