This weekend I am traveling to a dual celebration, of a great Irish writer and of copyright freedom. For June 16 is Bloomsday, the day in 1904 captured through the eyes of Leopold Bloom by James Joyce in his epic novel Ulysses. Each year in Dublin fans of Joyce gather to celebrate the work in a day of public readings conducted at locations across the city that are featured in the book.
2012 is a special year for these Joyceans. The 71st since Joyce’s death, it marks the first — across the EU at any rate — that his work may be shared freely among them, without needing permission — for public readings, performances, or re-interpretations — from his estate. This is no small matter: since inheriting the estate in 1982, Joyce’s grandson Stephen Joyce has gained a reputation as the most controlling literary executor in history.
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"So Bob Doran comes lurching around asking Bloom to tell Mrs Dignam he was sorry for her trouble and he was very sorry about the funeral and to tell her that he said and everyone who knew him said that there was never a truer, a finer than poor little Willy that’s dead to her. Choking with bloody foolery. And shaking Bloom’s hand doing the tragic to tell her that. Shake hands, brother. You’re a rogue and I’m another."
:: James Joyce, Ulysses