Today is one of the most important dates in literature. I almost said “in history” but despite the incontrovertible truth of the existence of a day in history corresponding to 16 June, it’s importance in only evident in literature and somewhat in the life of James Joyce. So today we celebrate the arguably best novel ever written in the English language, Ulysses.
On this day each year, wherever two people congregate, you can be fairly sure it is to raise a pint or two to that day in Dublin so many years ago and the adventures of two of of the most well-known characters in literature: Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom.
Ulysses is a novel that demands constant reading and rereading. I always suggest that new students eschew the various annotations, guides, and skeleton keys, and simply read Ulysses for the humanity and humor that Joyce crams into every word of the text. Then, after having read Ulysses a couple of times, start slow with the reference materials and rely more on your own head and heart than on what some critic tells you to do.