Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bloomsday 2012

From the catechetical “Ithaca” episode of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922):

What is home without Plumtree’s Potted Meat?


With it an abode of bliss.

Manufactured by George Plumtree, 23 Merchants' quay, Dublin, put up in 4 oz pots, and inserted by Councillor Joseph P. Nannetti, M. P., Rotunda Ward, 19 Hardwicke street, under the obituary notices and anniversaries of deceases. The name on the label is Plumtree. A plumtree in a meatpot, registered trade mark. Beware of imitations. Peatmot. Trumplee. Moutpat. Plamtroo.
The present time of Ulysses: June 16, 1904. (The novel ends in the early hours of June 17.) June 16 is Bloomsday, named for the novel’s hero, Leopold Bloom. “Potted meat” is death: yes, ads for Plumtree’s appear in the newspaper under obituary notices, and Bloom’s just-buried friend Paddy Dignam is, as Bloom thinks, potted meat. Potted meat is also sexual union, something missing from Leopold and Molly Bloom’s marriage. Without: incomplete. With: yes, an abode of bliss. Yes: that’s Molly’s last word, the novel’s last word. Happy Bloomsday.

[The Strand Magazine, December 1898.]

Other Bloomsdays
2007 (The first page)
2008 (“Love’s Old Sweet Song”)
2009 (Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses)
2010 (Leopold Bloom, “water lover”)
2011 (“[T]he creature cocoa”)

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