On June 16, 1904, a cuckolded advertising salesman named Leopold Bloom wandered the streets of Dublin, unwittingly acting out Odysseus’s journey home. Nowadays, on June 16—Bloomsday—lovers of literature and Irish culture celebrate Bloom and the great epic novel in which he appears, James Joyce’s Ulysses.
All well and good: Literature is splendid, and we all enjoy a pint of Guinness every now and again. But the traditional, Gaelic way of honoring Bloom denies a crucial aspect of his identity. For Joyce’s best-known creation, and one of the most memorable characters in all of literature, is a Jew.
This year, Tablet Magazine will not let people forget that. On Wednesday, June 16, at 7 PM, at the bar Solas in Manhattan’s East Village, we will be ringing in Bloomsday with readings and music:
• Novelists Joshua Cohen and Ben Greenman will read selected excerpts.
• Alicia Jo Rabins, of Girls in Trouble, will sing an original, specially commissioned song about Bloom’s wife, Molly.
• Actors from the New Yiddish Repertory Theater will enact one scene from the novel that has been translated into the language of Bloom’s ancestors.
• There will be a presentation, “Ulysses in Five Minutes,” for those who haven’t yet tackled the novel’s 800 or so pages.
Plus! Starting next week, The Scroll will be blogging up a storm about Cohen’s new novel, Witz, a great big wonderful Joycean novel about the last Jew on Earth. And Bloomsday attendees can expect a special midrash from Josh on this ever-so-Jewish genre.
So save the date: We’ll all be there. Let’s claim Bloom for his people!
Sweet poster, designed by our very own Len Small, after the jump.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.