Bloomsday is synonymous with the streets of Dublin. However Sandymount Strand looms large in “Ulysses”

“Listen: a fourworded wavespeech: seesoo, hrss, rsseeiss, ooos. Vehement breath of waters amid seasnakes, rearing horses, rocks. In cups of rocks it slops: flop, slop, slap: bounded in barrels. And, spent, its speech ceases. It flows purling, widely flowing, floating foampool, flower unfurling.”

Stephen walks the full length of the beach a solitary figure contemplating his future within a heightened poetic sensibility.

“He had come nearer the edge of the sea and wet sand slapped his boots. The new air greeted him, harping in wild nerves, wind of wild air of seeds of brightness. Here, I am not walking out to the Kish lightship, am I? He stood suddenly, his feet beginning to sink slowly in the quaking soil. Turn back.

Turning, he scanned the shore south, his feet sinking again slowly in new sockets. The cold domed room of the tower waits. Through the barbacans the shafts of light are moving ever, slowly ever as my feet are sinking, creeping duskward over the dial floor. Blue dusk, nightfall, deep blue night. In the darkness of the dome they wait, their pushedback chairs, my obelisk valise, around a board of abandoned platters. Who to clear it? He has the key. I will not sleep there when this night comes. A shut door of a silent tower, entombing their — blind bodies, the panthersahib and his pointer. Call: no answer. He lifted his feet up from the suck and turned back by the mole of boulders. Take all, keep all. My soul walks with me, form of forms. So in the moon’s midwatches I pace the path above the rocks, in sable silvered, hearing Elsinore’s tempting flood.

The flood is following me. I can watch it flow past from here. Get back then by the Poolbeg road to the strand there. He climbed over the sedge and eely oarweeds and sat on a stool of rock, resting his ashplant in a grike.”

Stephen mocks his ambition as a writer as mere vanity and links himself to a young Italian P
ico della Mirandola. A philosopher of the Renaissance who aged 23 proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy and magic. In 1486 he wrote “Oration on the Dignity of Man” on the necessity for such a large undertaking.

“I have not been afraid to enter so dangerous a contest even against the very strongest and vigorous opponents. Whether, in doing so, I have acted foolishly or not might better be judged from the outcome of the contest than from my age.”

It is more difficult for me, however, to find a line of defence against those who tell me that I am unequal to the undertaking. If I say that I am equal to it, I shall appear to entertain an immodestly high opinion of myself. If I admit that I am unequal to it, while persisting in it, I shall certainly risk being called temerarious and imprudent. You see the difficulties into which I have fallen, the position in which I am placed. I cannot, without censure, promise something about myself, nor, without equal censure, fail in what I promise. Perhaps I can invoke that saying of Job: "the Spirit is in all men," or take consolation in what was said to Timothy: "Let no man despise your youth."

Stephen objectifies his aspirations as mere pose, shatters romantic ideals and discarding the artificial liberates himself to a freedom of being in communion with nature.

“His feet marched in sudden proud rhythm over the sand furrows, along by the boulders of the south wall. He stared at them proudly, piled stone mammoth skulls. Gold light on sea, on sand, on boulders. The sun is there, the slender trees, the lemon houses.”

Read the full text of Proteus
“Ulysses” James Joyce Bodley Head Edition Pages 31-42
Joyce went on to write “Finnegans Wake”. He created a new language to expand our experience through a synthesis of the history of humankind. Joyce completed Pico's ambition and gave us a book that cannot be interpreted within a reductive concept but allows us to awaken within the rich knowledge base of all humanity.

The James Joyce Foundation

In 1988 The James Joyce Foundation launched the first public Bloomsday in Sydney at The State Library of New South Wales and each year organizes an innovative creative engagement with “Ulysses”.

The 100th anniversary of Bloomsday took place on June 16th, 2004 at 9.30 p.m. Dublin time National Library of Ireland and 6.30 p.m. at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. Writers Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland, Toby Litt, Rosa-Maria Bollettieri Bosinelli and Jean-Michel Rabate in Dublin were joined by Tom Keneally, David Malouf and Alexis Wright in Sydney and held a discussion exploring Joyce's use of language to liberate the concept of boundaries and frontiers beyond nationalism.

Bloomsday events in 2008 and 2009 at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney explored the Vagus Nerve. This provided a new paradigm for engaging with Joyce’s “Ulysses” which he described as the ‘epic of the body’ and this has led to a profound engagement with medicine and science.

Much of the study undertaken by the James Joyce Foundation pertains to the history of medicine and how it influenced his writing between 1907 and 1922.

Joyce’s described “Ulysses” as the ‘epic of the human body’ and it is unlikely that pseudoscience would have satisfied Joyce’s adherence to observable facts.

James Joyce’s close friends as a young man in Dublin were medical students, Vincent Cosgrave and Oliver St. John Gogarty. Joyce studied medicine in Paris and returned to Ireland in 1903 where his fascination with the human body was subsumed into his writing.

Frank Budgen noted that: “Joyce in Zurich was a curious collector of fact about the human body, especially on that borderland where mind and body meet, where thought is generated by the state of the body.”

Sydney 2015
Literary Microbes will be celebrated on Bloomsday 2015.  Sydney Bloomsday invites all those celebrating around the world as they have gorgonzola cheese sandwich and a glass of burgundy for lunch to delve into this paper: A Trail of Microbes in “Ulysses”.

Click here to download A Trail of Microbes in "Ulysses"

Venice 2014
The influence of Gabrielle D’Annunzio and Eleonara Duse on James Joyce and his creation of Molly Bloom.

Click here to download The influence of Gabrielle D’Annunzio and Eleonara Duse on James Joyce and his creation of Molly Bloom

Sydney 2013
Concepts of Memory: Molly Bloom and St Augustine by Clara Mason.

St Augustine reflections on the value of confessions and on the workings of memory as related to the five senses pre-empt much that is now being formulated about memory in modern scientific thought. Neuroscientist Gerald Edelman explains: “ever-changing composition yet ongoing integration is generated largely within the thalamocortical system”.

Click here to download Concepts of Memory: Molly Bloom and St Augustine

Sydney 2011
World Dreaming 6th World Congress for Psychotherapy - Memory as a Biological Imperative in Storytelling.

James Joyce asserts that the human condition is not a fixed entity: "...every person, place and thing in the chaosmos of Alle anyway connected with the gobblydumped turkery was moving and changing every part of the time..."

Click here to download presentation of Memory as a Biological Imperative

Prague 2010
Joyce's 'Epic of the Body' XXII International James Joyce Symposium

The young intelligent Stephen Dedalus with his ‘cranial brain’ drinks heavily and smokes cigarettes both of which we now know suppress the activity of the Vagus Nerve. This is juxtaposed against Leopold Bloom with his “abdominal brain: an  instrument of vascular and visceral function. It is the automatic, vegetative, the subconscious brain of physical existence. It presides over organic life.”

Click here to download a word document of 'Epic of the Body'

Sydney 2008
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital "Ulysses" A Map of the Human Body from the Ear to the Rear

Ulysses was written between 1914 and 1921 in Trieste, Zurich and Paris.’ The major medical breakthroughs about the Vagus Nerve began in 1907. It is therefore feasible that the wanderings in Ulysses could be explored by following the characters through the function of their Vagus Nerve.

Click here to download a word document of A Map of the Human Body