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Showing posts from June, 2019

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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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?