I had the pleasure of curating a series of readings for the 2018 Bloomsday celebration at T.C. O’Leary’s Pub in Northeast Portland, where members of their Ulysses Support Group (aka book club) read portions of the great novel at intervals throughout the day. I tried to choose passages that not only reflected the prose, characters and themes of Ulysses, but that also captured its humor, vulgarity and surrealism. I chose selections that would give the casual listener a taste of the story if they happened to hear all fourteen selections or feel entertained if they were only to catch one. Additionally, I tried to choose passages that would give readers dialogue to play with as an “actor” and capture some of our club’s favorite lines. I wanted to make sure the spirit of the novel came across more than its reputation for difficulty (although I didn’t avoid all the challenging passages). Most of all, I didn’t want it to be boring.
Below, is brief description of each selected passage and why I chose it along with an approximate page number. I redacted portions of some of the passages since they were just too long (I tried to keep each passage in the 600-800 word range to keep the readings brisk and entertaining). My page numbers are based on the 1990 Vintage International edition of Ulysses.