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In our age of fast-obsolescing smartphones and apps, it’s hard to find fault in a makeshift holiday that celebrates a book nearly a century old.But nevertheless, it’s also troublesome to observe Bloomsday as a rote paean to Joyce and .The episode presents vignettes of the activities of 19 Dubliners.
Each chapter (or “episode”) of the novel corresponds with, and plays with the themes of, a book of the epic.
The struggle and collision between all these possible stories, none fully told, analogize the chaotic planktai.
And yet, these wandering rocks, a bulwark of total danger in Homer’s epic, become neither positive or negative in Joyce’s novel.
The choice of June 16 as an homage to his future wife’s first date is partly romantic, but partly bawdy, too.
As the story goes, the date ended in a handjob, a sex act profane in such a humdrum way that is “not even deserving of its own Latinate nickname,” as the writer James S. The book itself was long considered profane, too: it was banned for vulgarity in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1920s, although that history is as forgotten today as are Robert Mapplethorpe photographs, which now seem genteel compared to just about any Google Image search.