It is that time of year again, when a date featured in a work of classic literature that very few people have actually read becomes a day to celebrate study guides and wiki pages. During your vaguely themed celebrations, it is possible, although highly unlikely, that somebody in the room has actually read the book. To avoid embarrassment, here are some ways to bluff your way through Bloomsday.
The most important thing to remember right from the start is that Bloomsday is completely different from St. Patrick’s Day. Leave those leprechaun hats and Blarney Stone condoms at home. Remember, not everything Irish is green and vice versa. On a related note, there are no leprechauns in Ulysses.
If you do find yourself talking about the actual book, remember that being confident when discussing themes and subtext will indicate that you haven’t read the book. Not every study guide is trustworthy and, especially, those published online without peer review or accountability. I can’t emphasize enough that there are no leprechauns in Ulysses.
If you avoid talking about the text but end up talking about the author there are things to be wary of. Do not try to quickly scan search results for ‘Joyce’ and ‘Author.’ If you are about to say something like, “I am very familiar with the works of Joyce, in fact, I was her student at Princeton,” you have the wrong Joyce.
If you are going for a costume, most people dress in costumes that could either be for Leopold Bloom or Joyce, the author (remember to use images of the right author). While it is impressive to attempt to emulate the complicated language of the book, keep in mind that “stately” is sometimes considered disagreeable and nobody appreciates being called “plump.”
When it comes to activities for Bloomsday, consider that this day is intended to foster literacy and celebrate a remarkable text. This should guide you to authorized and enjoyable activities, such as a letter-writing challenge, a performance of the work, or even a whiskey tasting. There are other events that are purely organized to take advantage of the less well-read. Avoid the Nausicaa Challenge.
The fourth of May can be enjoyed by people who have never seen the Star Wars films. So too, the 16th of June can obviously be enjoyed by people who have never read Ulysses. It is important to note that surface readings or flawed interpretations are more obvious though and some things are even more confusing than watching a red shirt in a lightsaber battle. Again, there are no leprechauns in Ulysses.