Fans of Irish author James Joyce’s modernist novel “Ulysses” took to Twitter to celebrate the classic work and its author on Monday in an annual literary holiday recognized by readers around the world.
Otherwise known as Bloomsday to fans of Joyce’s famous — and famously daunting — novel, June 6 marks the date on which the book’s action takes place, all in the year 1904.
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While the novel is praised by readers and critics for its wordplay, encyclopedic references, and original literary techniques — the long final section of the book is made up of eight colossal sentences, for example — some readers decided to use Twitter’s 140-character limit to pay homage to the long-winded Irish bard.
Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s ambassador to Britain, gave readers a look at a confiscated first edition of “Ulysses” held by The British Postal Museum & Archive.
What would the great writer have made of all the digital fuss?
“Joyce’s notebooks are filled with scraps of quotations taken from his incredibly wide reading,” Sean Latham, professor of English at the University of Tulsa and editor of “James Joyce Quarterly,” wrote to NBC News in an email. “He had a real magpie mind and even called himself a ‘scissors and paste man.’”
So how many followers would Joyce — who died in 1941 after finishing his masterwork, “Finnegans Wake” — have had on Facebook and Instagram?
The writer was “a very private man,” Latham said. “So despite his intimate exploration of the minds of others, I suspect he wouldn't have used Facebook or other social media. He loved the lives of others, but wanted to guard carefully his own.”
While the novel was first published as one volume in 1922, Joyce chose June 6, 1904 as the date when the book’s meandering plot takes place because it was when he first hit the town with his future wife, Nora Barnacle.
The story follows advertising man Leopold Bloom and melancholy student Stephen Dedalus as they wander around Dublin drinking, eating, talking, and generally mucking about. In between, those who praise the book say, Joyce wove one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century.
For those who just can't get enough Poldy, Buck Mulligan and the whole gang, there's a Twitter account that spits out quotes from the nearly 800-page novel year round.
First published June 16 2014, 9:39 AM