Perhaps you’ve held off on listening to Re:Joyce, Frank Delaney’s line-by-line, episode-by-episode podcast exegesis of James Joyce’s Ulysses, because you want to listen not just to a breakdown of the novel, but to the novel itself. If so, then boy, have we got another ongoing project for you to follow: The Complete Ulysses, which has a mandate to record every word of Ulysses as “the first American production” of the book “using mostly American and Irish-American actors like Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Jerry Stiller, Garrison Keillor, Anne Meara, Wallace Shawn, Bob Dishy, Anne Enright, Bob Odenkirk, Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, and Caraid O’Brien as Molly Bloom.” The producers have planned to make available recordings of each chapter as soon as they finish them, “on almost all current and future audio media.” You can browse the so-far completed material here.
“The project began more than 30 years ago,” says The Complete Ulysses’ site, “when [radio station] WBAI broadcast a marathon reading of Ulysses from the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore at 81st and Broadway in New York.” Bookstore owner Larry Josephson “took the idea of a long-form radio reading of Ulysses to Isaiah Sheffer, then Artistic Director of Symphony Space.” This resulted in Bloomsday on Broadway, an 18-hour “live, staged reading of excerpts from Ulysses and other Irish literature and song.” Having then created Radio Bloomsday, a WBAI reading series “featuring live and pre-recorded readings from Ulysses and lots of other things Irish,” Josephson “got the ‘insane’ idea of recording the entire book, which will run about 30 hours.”
Ambitious, yes, but then the same applies to Re:Joyce, and indeed to Ulysses itself, which you can find in our collection of Free eBooks. Joyce has long had a way of inspiring creators to execute their own “insane” ideas, and this one in particular gives his own work a whole new means of expression. Tuning into Radio Bloomsday has, for a few years now, appeared as a mainstay on various press outlets’ “what to do on Bloomsday” lists, but with The Complete Ulysses, you certainly don’t need to wait until June 16 for a Joycean experience; these days, a properly equipped iPod can turn every day into Bloomsday.
If you can’t wait for The Complete Ulysses to be completed, you can always download a reading of Ulysses in its entirety here (in audio format).
Note: The drawing above is none other than Leopold Bloom, drawn by Joyce himself in 1926, when his eyesight was failing. We have more on that story here.
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.