Today I Learned (TIL) is my play on Reddit’s highly entertaining and informative forum.
I recently read my first James Joyce novel, Dubliners (thank you Carolyn for stopping me from adding “the” in front the title). The review will be posted soon on Carolyn’s blog, Rosemary and Reading Glasses, but looking back I feel that my review was written hastily and probably doesn’t reflect a respect for Joyce that has developed over the last couple of weeks. Reading about Joyce’s life, getting context to his work and re-reading passages in Dubliners has made me really appreciate his talent as a writer and poet. I look forward to when I finally take on Ulysses.
In the meantime, Joyce had a fascinating life and there are all sorts of interesting stories about him. But as always, I love when literature and pop culture intersect and thought I would share five little factoids I picked up in my research.
All of the events in one of my all-time favourite movies Before Sunrise, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy, take place on June 16th, just like in Joyce’s Ulysses. As many of you probably know, Joyce chose this date because it marks his first (unsuccessful) date with his wife. June 16th would go on to be known as Bloomsday, a day to commemorate and celebrate Joyce and reenact what happens in the book.
The likeness of James Joyce appeared in several episodes of The Simpsons.
Musician, Kate Bush waited more than 20 years for permission to use passages from Ulysses that she interwove in her song, The Sensual World. When Kate first approached Joyce’s estate about using text from Molly Bloom’s soliloquay, they refused and she wrote her own lyrics instead. Once granted permission, Kate revamped The Sensual World and created a new song called Flower of the Mountain.
Actress, Marilyn Monroe claimed Ulysses was one of her favourite books and she has been famously photographed reading the book. Eve Arnold, the photographer behind the pics, said Marilyn had the book at their shoot. Marilyn told Arnold she liked to read the words out loud to understand the book better. Some dispute arose as to whether Marilyn actually read Ulysses or if the photos were merely a PR stunt; however, Marilyn’s personal library was catalogued following her death and proves the actress, at least, owned a copy of the book.
James Joyce Award
The Literary and Historical Society of the University College Dublin annually gives out the James Joyce Award to anyone who achieves outstanding success in their given field. Previous winners include Will Ferrell, Jack White, Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Tony Hawk and J.K. Rowling. In 2013, YouTube star, Jenna Marbles received the award leaving me question even more what this award is about. But anyhoo …
What is your favourite story or fact about James Joyce?