BLOOMSDAY 2023 SEMINAR
The Seminarians and their Papers
JOYCE AND THE MYSTERY OF EXILES
More than perhaps any other writer, Joyce requires us to take his biography into account when we consider his work, and never more so than with Exiles, written at a crucial stage in his life. Steve Carey takes five key biographical moments and shows how they help us to understand what Joyce is doing in his only play, and in particular how they shed light on Joyce's fascination with betrayal - personal, sexual and political.
Steve Carey wrote his PhD on James Joyce under the supervision of Joyce's biographer, Prof. Richard Ellmann. He is Treasurer of Bloomsday in Melbourne and Producer of Exiles.
A HUNDRED BLOOMSDAYS FLOWER:
How Writers Have Remade Joyce’s Feast Day
The word Bloomsday does not appear in Ulysses, yet today the word is synonymous with the novel, styled by some as a literary secular feast day. In this paper, Philip Harvey engages with several novels written after 1960 in which Bloomsday is a main theme and driving force of narrative. Introduced in chronological order they describe the changing nature of Bloomsday celebrations worldwide in the past sixty years and writers’ different ways of responding to Ulysses in creative acts of fiction.
The paper attends to the authors’ interest in Joycean invention, a form of reader-response creation (not always super-critical) that serves reception history, while also setting out the changing nature of Bloomsday festivities through time. For example, Martin Johnston’s accounts of hippie Bloomsday in Sydney in his Cicada Gambit (1983), while similarly obsessive about Ulysses, are a world away from the Spaniard Enrique Vila-Matas’s Dublinesque (2012), with its doomladen feelings about the End of the Book.
To be part of Bloomsday is to be part of an expanding history. This paper gives some pointers to what it is, wittingly or unwittingly, we’ve got ourselves into.
Philip Harvey is a poet, a librarian and was Poetry Editor at Eureka Street. He has often contributed to Bloomsday scripts and given seminar papers.