Joyce and Joycean events: A literary legacy

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in Rathgar, Dublin, on 2 February 1882, the eldest of ten surviving siblings. Throughout his life he was quite superstitious especially about dates and he considered coincidences of dates, particularly birthdays, to be good omens… He died in Zurich, Switzerland on 13 January 1941 and is buried along with his wife, Nora, and son, Giorgio, at the Zurich Fluntern Cemetery.
Joyce was deeply rooted in the Dublin and Catholic tradition. He attended a Jesuit boarding school and college before studying modern languages, specifically English, French and Italian, at University College Dublin (UCD).
He was a brilliant scholar, and with Nora Barnacle, he finally left Ireland in 1904 spending most of his life exiled in Europe. He rarely returned to Ireland but his Irish experiences were essential to his writings and Dublin provided him with all the settings for his fictional work.
Joyce and Joycean events
Sunday, 25 January, 2009 saw the 75th anniversary of the publication of the first authorised edition of Ulysses in the United States that was initially banned. Joyce’s literary legacy remains the subject of international literary and academic debate. His work is promoted in Ireland and beyond through many Joycean foundations, institutes and universities that offer study scholarships.
The 127th anniversary of his birth was celebrated in 2009 with ‘Happy Birthday’ literary, academic and social events that were held in Ireland and elsewhere commemorating the genius of his writings and the literary legacy of James Joyce.
Organised by leading scholars, many events including seminars, graduate and postgraduate workshops, films and exhibitions were also open to the public. University conferences carried imaginative themes such as Metamorphosis and Rewriting (Rome), and Ireland: Global Village (Prague). In June 2009 an international James Joyce Conference will be held on Eire on Erie: Bloomsday and James Joyce at Buffalo, State University of New York. The annual James Joyce Summer School is held in collaboration between University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin’s English Language Department.
A literary legacy
Widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, he is commemorated every year on 16 June in celebration of Bloomsday, from the character Leopold Bloom in the novel Ulysses. It is the date he chose to set his Dublin odyssey.
Joyce claimed that should Dublin City be destroyed by some catastrophe, it could be built brick by brick, using Ulysses as a model, so accurate is it in every minute detail. The book consists of eighteen chapters, each one covering one hour of one eighteen hour day in a detailed account of Dublin that deeply explores areas of life there.
Dublin’s Bloomsday Festival includes re-enactments of Bloomsday as people visit the places where the novel is set with readings, performances, breakfasts, look-alike contests and visits to pubs. Special events are organised in collaboration with the James Joyce Research Centre (UCD), other Dublin institutions and places with Joyce connections that include the National Library of Ireland.
On 14 January 2009 the newspaper Guardian reprinted the report dated 14 January 1941 from the Manchester Guardian by Kevin Cryan on the death of James Joyce. These are extracts…
With the death of James Joyce there passes the strangest and most original figure which Ireland gave to Europe in this generation …
His originality lay in his discovery of a literary form for expressing the inconsequent complexity of the human mind and the dim resemblance that is its migrations possessed to the orderliness of grammatical sentences or the appearance of time and space …
The stranger may get the feel of the city from it, but Ulysses must be first a book for Dubliners where the graces and disgraces of their little life bounded by the Hills of Howth, the Dargle and the Circular Roads have capital magnitude …
Europe appreciated him and yet he was at last locked out of Europe, as of Ireland, in some secret temple of his own mind, as removed from the great passage of events as his own countrymen today.
Note: Acknowledgement is given to all sources used in this text. It follows articles written for Bloomsday entitled James Joyce: Irish-Swiss connections, JOYCE in Geneva, James JOYCE in Pula, James Joyce and Ulysses, Ulysses revisited: Mr. Joyce. (2003 – 2008).