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What is Bloomsday?

June 16 is a special date for admirers of James Joyce. On this day in 1904 the Irish author had his first date with his future wife, Nora. He later chose the date as the one on which Leopold Bloom would carry out his twenty-four hour mock-odyssey in Ulysses (1922). 

Ulysses is renowned for the daunting challenge it poses readers (see here for a brief beginner's guide). It also weighs in at at close to a thousand pages in the paperback edition. 

What happens on Bloomsday?
Joyce - whose sense of self-importance  matched his monumental talent - believed Ulysses would provide scholars with 'a lifetime' of material. Doubtless, he would think it fitting that thousands now attend public readings of his work - most famously in Dublin where Bloomsday is a major tourist event.  

What happens in Ulysses?

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Recent posts

Top 10 most quoted lines of poetry in English?

Mark Forsyth (The Inky Fool) has analysed Google Search query result data for lines of verse requested online. Here is the Top Ten:

Why do Y and Z end the alphabet?

The Romans adapted Greek to form their own (Latin) alphabet.

What are the most used letters in the English alphabet?

The most frequently used letter in the English language is e, which has 12.49% of the total. This is followed by t (9.28%) and a (8.4%) Why these letters?The gold and bronze medals are unsurprisingly but a surprise to see 't' to be up there on the winners rostrum. E is the champion in other languages, too. George Perec famously wrote a detective novel in French without an es (as it were) La Disparition (1969). This was then translated into English by Gilbert Adair as A Void.
More on this topic here.

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What is the origin of the word alphabet?

Why is English not the official language of England?

58 countries list English as an official language - but not the UK. The world's lingua franca or second language is not, technically, the 'official' language of its birthplace. The de factoofficiallanguage of the United Kingdom is English,[3][4] which is spoken by approximately 59.8 million residents, or 98% of the population, over the age of three.[1][2][10][11][12] An estimated 700,000 people speak Welsh in the UK,[13] an official language in Wales

Why 'Maundy' Thursday?

The first citation of maunde  to describe the Thursday before Easter in middle English comes in the mid-15C. It described not only The Last Supper in general but also the ceremony of the washing of the feet of the poor or downtrodden.

The immediate origin was Old French mandé. This in turn derived from the Latin mandatum or "commandment" (see mandate (n.)).

For Christians the crucial reference is to the opening words of the Latin church service for this day, Mandatum novum do vobis "A new commandment I give unto you" (John xiii:34). This new commandment is to love one another: the supreme example of which will be the events of the following day.