Irish - most revolutionary writer of the 20th century!

Roibeard McElroy

The novel, Ulysees, published in 1922, has been claimed to have changed the face of literature and to have revolutionised the novel in the 20th Century. The book is set on the day of June 16, 1904 and chronicles a day in the life of Leopold Bloom - a Jew - as he goes wandering around his native Dublin, much akin to the Greek epic, The Odyssey of Ulysees (Odysseus) from whom the novel takes its name.

Joyce through the voice of Bloom, outlines the history of the Irish race, Ireland, Dublin, its streets, its sites, the commercial nexus of the city, its pulse, its epicentre, its veins and arteries; in essence every component and part of the fabric of Dublin - of its topography - in voluminous detail. James Joyce's research and erudition is truly awesome (he studied the old ‘Thom's Directories' and detailed maps for years, which gave him this colossal knowledge).

Herein lies the power and the influence of Ulysses: Joyce changed fundamentally the structure of the novel, he used no punctuation, to give it an uninterrupted flow; the wordplay and punning is infinite, done in a totally unique way. To cite but one example, Bloom breaks up the word Castile into cast steel. It's these innovative verbalisings, fusions of linguistic expressions and colloquialisms, its encyclopaedic knowledge, which makes it one of the most influential novels that literature has ever been bequeathed. All that one ever wanted to know about Dublin and indeed Ireland, its history, its people, its culture, its idiosyncracies, its charms, its contradictions, its betrayals, its heartaches, can be found here narrated through the medium of Leopold Bloom in one solitary day.

Small wonder that June 16, has been immortalised in the annual calendar as ‘Bloomsday'. Ulysees is totally unique, a pioneering work in English literature produced by an Irish writer in exile, which contains a wealth of information, linguistic flair, a descriptive genius, an intricate awareness of the layout of Dublin, its heartbeats, its resonances, its good and bad, its charm. James Joyce gave the world a modern odyssey of his native Dublin. Come with me and see the flash points of Joyce's Dublin!