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What is Bloomsday? Who is Leopold Bloom?

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 beginner's guide). It also weighs in at at close to a thousand pages in the paperback edition. 

Who is Leopold Bloom?
Leopold Bloom is a salesman and a middle-aged father of a teenage daughter, Milly. His only son, Rudy, died after only eleven days. Bloom is unswervingly devoted to his wife, Molly, but is aware that she is having an affair with the flashy Blazes Boylan. 

In crucial respects Bloom is an outsider in a very insular society.Though he has converted to Catholicism in order to marry Molly, he is never allowed to forget his Jewish origins. 

An unlikely hero?
Funny, kind, gentle, unfailingly polite in the most trying of circumstances, Leo…
Recent posts

Where does the word baseball come from?

The earliest reference to baseball comes in a diary entry of a Surrey solicitor, William Bray.

What is kabuki theatre? How is this term used in politics?

Kabuki theatre is classical Japanese dance-drama, with very stylised action, masks and heavy make-up. It dates back to the early 17th century. As in the original Shakespeare productions, all the actors are men.

Which Irish words have passed down into English?

I was born into an Irish family living in London. This has left me with an Irish name, an English voice and an extra trove of words and phrases that have passed down from the Irish language.

Irish English: What is cat melodeon?

Cat (a): dreadful, no good, awful, very bad. Or for a more emphatic version, Cat melodeon (Sounds like 'melojen')

Irish English: What is a gossoon?

gossoon Irish a boy [C17:fromOldFrenchgararçon]