31 May 2011

Ulysses Meets Twitter 2011

On Bloomsday, 16 June, 2001, James Joyce’s novel Ulysses will be tweeted more or less in real-time. I am honored to be one of the twriters, tasked with distilling 6 to 9 pages of the text into 4 to 6 tweets. An explanation of Ulysses Meets Twitter 2011 can be found on the 11ysses Blog. You can also follow @11ysses on Twitter as the project develops.

The organizer, Steve of Baltimore, has divided the book into 96 sections; I am working on section 71, in the Nighttown/Circe chapter. The tweets will flow commencing 8 AM, GMT/Dublin time (2 AM Eastern US Time), and will continue for 24 hours. Section 71 will go out between 1:30-1:45 AM GMT or 7:30-7:45 PM Eastern Time.

I first read Ulysses when I was sixteen years old, about fifty years ago. My parents had a copy of the Modern Library edition, and I borrowed Stuart Gilbert’s “James Joyce’s Ulysses: a Study” from the library. A month later, August, 1961, I finished and I felt that I had undergone a kind of initiation into modernist fiction. In the intervening years, I’ve read here and there in the book many times, but never again all the way through. I feel like I should re-read it before starting my alchemy on section 71, and started last night with Part I. What a pleasure to savor Joyce’s language, and, with fifty more years of life and experience, it seems much more rewarding than in my adolescence. The Modern Library book disintegrated, so now I am reading a beautifully printed Folio Society edition. I must make haste to read 500 more pages and get to my section so I’ll have time to write my tweets in an appropriate twitter-style. It is good that I am retired.

I’ll post on my progress from time to time until I submit my tweets to 11ysses, in a week or so.