In all my travels over the years one subject which I have repeatedly been questioned on is James Joyce and the meaning of Ulysses. Reputed to be one of the most influential novels of the 20th century it has proved to be one of the more difficult books in the world to read never mind interpret. I have searched far and wide for a ‘bluffers guide’ to demystify its circa one thousand pages. As luck would have it 2004 was the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday. Bloomsday is known to Joyce readers and scholars as that symbolic and mythical date in 1904 when the modern Ulysses set forth in search of Telemachus. On a factual level, it was the day Joyce had his first rendez-vous with Nora Barnacle. To mark the anniversary the national broadcaster RTÉ celebrated the centenary by creating a special 20-part audio series. The archived audio series can be found at the following link Reading Ulysses.
In the first program of the Reading Ulysses series, Joseph O’Connor, Edna O’Brien and Gerry O’Flaherty recall the events and characters of this day and explore why James Joyce’s fictionalized events of an ordinary day should become such a literary masterpiece. Programs 2-19 are an episode by episode guide to the book with Gerry O Flaherty, Dublin historian and Joyce expert, in conversation with Fritz Senn, Director of the Zurich James Joyce Foundation, with illustrative extracts from the book. The final program of the series is a feature on the music of Ulysses. Best of all this audio stream is free. Enjoy.