@11ysses Considered: “Our Home on Eccles Street”

In Uncategorized on 3 September 2011 by 11ysses

 By Caetano Waldrigues Galindo, one of the @11ysses Bloomsday 2011 contributors.

In Dublin, in the James Joyce Centre, they have a door.

It’s the door to a house. A house that no longer exists, and that, in a very important way, has never existed. It’s the door to number 7, Eccles Street, taken from where it stood when the house was demolished.

That may be why the house no longer stands.

But as a matter of fact it may be said it is still there, because the reason so many of us have stood before it, photographed it and, even, written about it (QED), is the fact that we are not there to see the house, or the door, as in reality they may have existed. We are there to see, to touch, a little piece of the life of Leopold Bloom, who obviously never once touched that doorknob, who never held a candle that shone through its “semitransparent semicircular glass fanlight.”

We are there, by that door, to see if it opens for us (avid readers, intimate friends of Mr. Bloom’s) the ‘real’ reality of a made up world, where that fellow may still live.


For all of its importance as avant-garde, groundbreaking literature, I am sure (and the older I get, the surer I become) that what keeps us reading Ulysses is its sheer weight as a novel, a weight that can even be adequately measured by standards that were created for the classic novel. Amazing characters, solid psychological work, wisdom (as Harold “no-relation” Bloom would have it), beauty.


The opposite of hate, as our new “apostle to the gentiles” said at Barney Kiernan’s. That same man who in the beach, at dusk, summarized Dedalus’s concerns about the man and the world by thinking “longest way round is the shortest way home”, because he knew, as all of us know (and as Ulysses has been teaching us for almost a century), that we walk through ourselves always meeting ourselves.


That’s why I read Ulysses. That’s why I’ve spent the last nine years translating it. To meet me. To learn about love and about the world. To try to touch the reality of the invented lives of Dedalus and the Blooms.


And this, now, is all to say that the whole experience of ‘tweading’ Ulysses has been, for me, a huge boon, a wonderful lesson about the relevance of the novel to so many persons, all over the world. And, at the same time, has made me (readers and translators tend to feel quite alone) feel I’m part of a group.

A group that, this time, was the group of the great Stephen Cole (a round of applause, please). But a group that, fundamentally, exists only as the group of Joyce’s sons, as the group of Leopold Bloom’s brothers.

We all live right behind that door.

And in this, the rarest occasion in which we’ve all shouted together, we’ve known the house is still inhabited.

Caetano Waldrigues Galindo teaches linguistics and translation theory in the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil). He has translated authors such as David Foster Wallace, Saul Bellow, Thomas Pynchon, Tom Stoppard, Ali Smith and James Agee. His version of Ulysses will be published in March 2012.



How “Ulysses” Met Twitter 2011: Part 3

In Uncategorized on 2 September 2011 by 11ysses

We hope you have enjoyed the previous installments of this Bloomsday experiment, rendered in glorious PDF. Here is Part the Third (of Five). Things get out of hand (hand in pocket?) in this installment, as Women take center stage: on the beach, in hospital, and in the fevered dream of Nighttown.

What bit is your favorite of this Twitter rendering of James Joyce’s Ulysses?



How “Ulysses” Met Twitter 2011: Part 2

In Uncategorized on 28 August 2011 by 11ysses

For your continuing reading enjoyment, we present here the second part of our serialized re-telling of the Bloomsday 2011 Twitter experiment, once again downloadable in glorious PDF for your convenience and portability.

In this installment things begin by looking U.P., but conclude on the very different notes of Force, Hatred, and History for our persecuted hero Mr. Bloom.



How “Ulysses” Met Twitter 2011: Part 1

In Uncategorized on 27 August 2011 by 11ysses

Beginning with this post, we present for your re-reading pleasure a serialized version of the entire Twitter reimagining of James Joyce’s Ulysses, which was first presented to the world on 16 June 2011 — Bloomsday.

The tweets are organized into numbered sections, from start to finish of the novel. A key to the sections can be found on “The Script” page of this blog. The writers of these tweets can be found, collectively, on “The Brave Cast” page.

For your convenience and portability, we present this Twitter outflow in PDF format, suitable for printing. And, herewith, Part1.


@11ysses Considered: “The Signatures of Ulysses”

In Uncategorized on 27 June 2011 by 11ysses

Years ago, a professor in my Ph.D. program described her dismay upon reading a paper that semester from an undergraduate. She read it over and over again trying to decipher why it was driving her mad. Finally, she started counting the words in the sentences. They all were the same: 17 words. She remembered that she had mentioned to her class that studies showed the most effective sentences were precisely that long. Her student had taken the advice remarkably, annoyingly to heart.

140 characters at a time, for one of the greatest novels ever written – were we crazy too, like that obsessive undergraduate? Our brave leader, Stephen (you can’t make this stuff up), known to us as @11ysses, was right to worry when he initiated this grand Ulysses experiment, “Would recasting Ulysses in tweets produce something horrific or beautiful?”

Horrific, I assume, if we butchered Joyce’s work beyond recognition, or, if beyond recognition was actually okay, if we turned Ulysses into something so unlike the original as to seem to mock rather than honor what we loved.

What I see reading all of the 612 @11ysses tweets is readers trying to capture the song of the book that inspired them. Again and again our tweets invoked language and motifs that no Ulysses reader can escape once under its spell. Scrotumtightening. Seawrack and seaspawn. Metempsychosis. Those lovely seaside girls. Poldy. Stuck, the flies buzzed. Mother’s deathbed. Bronze by gold. Tell me I want to know. I Am. A. Bloomusalem. Yes.

As editors working separately from around the world without a plan, we could not maintain the flow of plot and character with our tweets, perhaps reminding ourselves how hard it was to follow those parts of the novel our first time through it. In this sense, Twitter seemed doomed to disappoint Ulysses.

But we also seemed to say that Twitter was custom-made for the pithiness, puns and vividness that are among the markers of Joyce’s language. Forced to condense paragraphs, pages, into 140 characters at a time, the cast repeatedly settled upon terms by now iconic in the Joycean vocabulary.

In this regard, I don’t think we simply honored Ulysses, I think we may even have emulated it. Amid language that threatens to overwhelm a reader’s understanding, Joyce keeps giving us a Bloom emergent in certain memories, certain events – his son’s death, his wife’s transgressions, Martha’s letter, Plumtree’s Potted Meat. And we, in Twitterform, kept evoking imagistic and material touchstones that by now are shorthand for pivotal scenes, critical moments, particular characters. Like Bloom’s mind itself, our collective mind returned us through signatures of Ulysses to the scenes they recall, just as the book threatens to bury Bloom beneath its originality but never quite does.

For a Joycean, it was a redolent barrage suggesting why the book keeps drawing us back. For newcomers, maybe it was enough of a taste to try the real thing. So with cap tipped to @11ysses, I thank him in Twitter-style for building our mad Ulysses Borg, which was fun, horrific and, yes, beautiful.

— Pete Mackey (@macposter), Ph.D., is the Vice President for Communications at Bucknell University, author of Chaos Theory and James Joyce’s Everyman, and father of identical twin daughters. For two years he and his wife happily called Ireland home and there once met U2′s Adam Clayton going into the Bloomsday reading of Ulysses.



‘Ulysses’ Begins: Post from the Martello Tower

In Uncategorized on 18 June 2011 by 11ysses

This late Bloomsday report just in from Brave Cast member @harryfiddler: Bloomsday 2011 dawns (literally) in Dublin, courtesy of one Lachlan Montgomery, who sent this wonderful photo and report:

“Might be a bit late (I’ve been busy) but here’s a shot taken about 8.10 on top of the Martello tower.  Amazing experience to be there at that hour.  The reading just hits you and there’s sections where you know you’re looking at what Joyce was thinking.  I spent yesterday going over notes Beckett made for FW.  Hope you all had a great Bloomsday. LM.”

Thank you thank you, Lachan!


The Day After: Feedback on Tweeting ‘Ulysses’

In Uncategorized on 18 June 2011 by 11ysses

It wouldn’t be an experiment if there weren’t results & findings, right? Below are some of the first assessments of this “Ulysses Meets Twitter 2011” experiment, both solicited and unsolicited. The first is a blogger’s two cents, included here because of the great headline.

1. Some guy decided he wants twitterites to tweet their favorite passages in short teeny weeny sentences, the way perhaps the book should have been written to begin with? Why? Again, I ask, why? The Bookshop Blog

2. By having it pop up every 15 minutes on twitter, I felt like I was living through the day. It felt like the day was just like Bloom’s. Readings never conveyed that. Every contributor had their own style and that kept it interesting. I saw other tweets saying people were interested in the book from all the chatter on twitter. It became part of the day’s conversation on twitter. Putting it on twitter gave readers a taste, and hopefully they’ll go read more! I think I will. — @daliawithnoh

3. first of all: it was a great idea! But too many Bloomsday Bursts contained quotes from the text, and I thought the English language was a given, but there was at least one who tweeted in German. So next time I would emphasise the summary aspect of it a bit more. P.S.: I don’t think the experiment failed, but I expected something else. — @tomwaitsripoff

4. I loved getting bundles of joyce via text all day while working. It took me out of my day and made me part of the book. Different voices and approaches were great.

5. Enjoyed it all, especially typographically imaginative tweets. Made me want to reread Ulysses. 

6. Amazing experience. Loved the individual styles. Great inspiration for new forms of art and culture.

7. Successful. The process of whittling down Joyce’s words to a series of tweets was challenging and satisfying. As an English teacher, I will recreate the Bloomsday experiment by having my students, young readers of literature, take a dense piece of text and break it down in order to better understand it. — @XanaTenshi

8. it feels as if this event came as close to spending an entire day with a book as possible without actually reading it all day. a community reading, too: 71 people chattering away like crazed medieval monks in the service of a literary god gone bonkers globally. — @marcus_speh

9. I thought most of it was quite good, particularly those tweets that quoted from Ulysses directly and/or conveyed the musicality of Joyce’s voice. I don’t think words can convey the disappointment I felt when the last series of tweets thudded onto my Twitter feed. For the final pages of Ulysses to be summarized dryly and heartlessly was an awful way to finish an otherwise ambitious and entertaining project. — @mighty_flynn

10. I loved writing/reading the tweets. Each one called to mind lots of other material around/behind it, so I was able to re-experience much more of Ulysses than just the 140-character abridgments. Hence my question: How was the experience for those of you who had not read the book?

11. Liked: the incredible consistency of Joyce’s voice, filtered through so many different interpreters. Hated: the upsideownnesss of it, reading from bottom to top. And having to do other things on Bloomsday other than read the feed.

12. One thought: there is a dilemma in using both plot summary and favourite lines and quotes, where does each bit begin and end. Would it be possible to split the tweets, so that direct quotes are in one tweet and narrative summary is in another? — @TheBalloonatics

13. Though it would have been difficult to follow had I not read the book previously, I loved this way to experience the book. The intervals between bursts gave a rhythm to the story not unlike breaking news unfolding through the day.

14. To distill a sprawling iconic novel into tweets was an ambitious undertaking and a marvelously creative idea. This project exemplifies the best of social media by making a daunting canonical text accessible, relevant, and sexy. Keeping to Poldy’s timetable was brilliant. Rereading Ulysses now because of this experiment.