James Joyce's "Ulysses" takes place in the Irish city on June 16, 1904, marking the day when Joyce reportedly first met his wife, Nora Barnacle. Soon after the novel's first complete publication in 1922, Joyce lovers began celebrating June 16. Joyce in a letter in 1924 noted an early Bloomsday gathering.
Leopold Bloom, whose wanderings across Dublin form the core of the novel, and other characters seem as distant from us as the characters in Homer's ancient Greek epic upon which Joyce patterned his book. While sex preoccupies Joyce's characters, they live in a a more innocent time, before World War II shattered the moorings of European culture.
One of the first of the 20th century exiles who would shape the course of history, Joyce never left Dublin creatively. His short story collection "The Dubliners" and his "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" showed the revolutionary ambition fulfilled in "Ulysses" and taken to extremes in "Finnegan's Wake."
With all of the changes in technology in the years since Bloom made his journey, with all of the artistic waves in literature, music, painting, sculpture and drama, we recognize Bloom and the other Dubliners who come alive in Joyce's language.
Like Shakespeare and very few others, Joyce is a writer who defines the human heart.