Happy Bloomsday from The Oxen of the Sun! For those of you who don't know, June 16th marks the day that Leopold Bloom plodded around Dublin in Joyce's Ulysses (the novel spans the entire day, sunrise to sunset). If you've even fallen into the pages of Ulysses, chances are today strikes a chord--although I'm not about to rush out to my nearest pub and stage a reading of "The Sirens", I'll revel quietly in how steadfast one of my favorite novels is.
[side note: the chapters in Ulysses are all modeled after episodes in Odysseus's journey. The "Oxen of the Sun" section is notoriously intimidating, as the narrative meanders stylistically through the genesis and evolution of the written English language and somewhat catalogues the history of books and literature.]
In a moment of immodesty, I'll admit my Joyce collection is one of the most impressive corners of my library--while I don't own a copy of the famous Matisse/Joyce double-signed illustrated edition, I have a number of rarities like the elusive "Haveth Childers Everywhere" and other similar below-the-radar publications.
Embarrassingly enough, I don't have any of my Joyce here in Brooklyn, and therefore can't share any with you! So, to back into Bloomsday with a tangentially related selection, I present to you the Grove Press Centenary Edition of the complete works of Samuel Beckett:
The box set includes all Beckett's novels and dramatic works, but it's the fourth volume where the rarities are compiled. There you'll find Beckett's essay on Proust and his writings on Joyce (previously collected in a rare volume called An Exagmination of James Joyce). A handsome set, and one I've been meaning to crack into again--the Brooklyn Academy of Music is putting on a performance of "Krapp's Last Tape" this fall; it's always been one of my favorites and deserves a re-read.