Stately, plump Bloomsday

James Joyce’s Ulysses, widely considered the greatest novel of the 20th century, follows Dubliner Leopold Bloom on a single day, June 16, 1904 – known to the literary world as Bloomsday. Three writer-educators talk about lessons from the masterpiece.
Published: May 1, 2013


Ulysses is a vast compendium of human experience. All styles are there, all emotions. A writer can learn everything from it, as long as he or she is not afraid of it. It’s a daunting work at first, but it reveals that beauty can be slowly released through difficulty. It is the greatest novel of our times.”
– Colum McCann, author of the forthcoming novel TransAtlantic

“James Joyce’s Ulysses is the old and new brought together (‘Make it new!’ screamed Ezra Pound from the rooftops). It is the return home, the return to the self, which are the same thing. Joyce taught writers that the language of the mind, the language of the heart and the language of speech are one. Joyce, in short, put back together what had been rent asunder.”
– Pablo Medina, author of Cubop City Blues

“When I do close readings of Ulysses with my creative writing students, we can feel our brain cells expanding. The artistic ambition – the pure exuberance of it – inspires us. We are reminded that the novel does not have to be a meager, highly familiar and slightly boring place. It can be a vast frontier of possibility.”
– Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia