A day in the life
Reading James Joyce’s "Ulysses" as a guide to the art of everyday life. As the pandemic forces many of us to live from day to day with less anticipation for the future, Sudip Bose reflects in The American Scholar on how Joyce’s Ulysses explores the art of everyday life. "Much of Ulysses is devoted to Bloom’s encounters on a typical day. (The ordinary incidents will, by the end, gain mythic significance, but this is Joyce’s point: that the routine, the typical can be endowed with heroic potential.) Bloom goes to pubs, visits a library, attends a funeral, drops in at a chemist’s shop, talks to friends on the street. In other words, he lives a very public life, one that allows for fulfilling random meetings with other residents of the city. 'The streets,' Declan Kiberd writes of Joyce’s Dublin, 'are the dwelling-place of the collective: and the street people, many of whom are unhappy at home, are enthusiastic users of public space.'" This article was originally published in The American Scholar in September 2009.
From The American Scholar