High-brow funGAMBIER, Ohio (September 15, 2003) The best way to experience James Joyce's Ulysses is to read it aloud, not only because of its Homeric roots but also, and especially, because of its astonishing linguistic richness. The Kenyon community is invited to participate in a marathon public reading of the twentieth-century classic beginning Saturday, September 20, at 8:00 a.m. in Peirce Hall Lounge. The reading continues through Sunday until all 644 pages have been given tongue.
The core group of readers will be students enrolled in Associate Professor of English Kim McMullen's James Joyce Seminar. McMullen conceived the idea as a way to "have some high-brow fun" and to expand the wealth of the classroom into the Kenyon social scene.
Published in 1922, the sprawling, complex, comic novel follows the wanderings of Leopold Bloom, Joyce's modern Ulysses, around Dublin, Ireland, in the course of a single, eighteen-hour day on June 16, 1904.
Each of the book's eighteen chapters is associated with a particular "art," in the sense of the liberal arts, McMullen notes. Chapter One is linked to theology, Chapter Two to history. Architecture figures in Chapter Seven, politics in Chapter Twelve.
While most of the reading will take place in Peirce Lounge, the group will occasionally move to other venues associated with various chapters. Chapter Six, involving a funeral cortege, will likely be read in the cemetery, weather permitting, while Chapter Nine, set in the atrium of Ireland's National Library, will be read in the atrium of Kenyon's library. McMullen will be posting e-mails to the campus every three hours giving a progress report and letting people know if the group has moved.
To encourage people to get into a high-minded party mode, McMullen has arranged for refreshments to be served throughout the event. Participants who read significant portions of the text will also receive a commemorative t-shirt designed by Margaret McGuire, Class of 2004.
To sign up to read your favorite passage, please contact McMullen at email@example.com. Drop-ins are welcome.