James Joyce’s Ulysses on BBC Radio 4

The splendid news is that BBC Radio 4 will be broadcasting an adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses on Bloomsday, June 16. All five-and-a-half glorious hours of it, broken up into seven, easily digestible chunks. I’m sure it will be as tasty as Leopold Bloom’s breakfast, which makes me drool every time I read it.

Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.

June 16, 1904, is the day in this fictional alternate reality when Mr Bloom, an everyday hero, sets out on business and returns, after many trials and tribulations, to his beloved Molly.

For those who think the novel difficult, really, it isn’t. The fearsome reputation, like rumours of a fire-breathing dragon, sends prospective readers fleeing. But help is at hand. If you want to get the gist in 18 animated cartoons, without having to read the book, here is Ulysses for Dummies. For the more committed there is the extended comic version – quite a serious undertaking, though less time-consuming than the novel. There is also a 1967 film, the component parts of which can be found here.

A short review of the book by Stephen Fry.

But you should read the book for the full experience.

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