Trieste Celebrates Bloomsday 2022

James Joyce
Reading Time: 2 minutes

by In Trieste

Trieste will join cities around the world in paying homage to Joyce’s greatest work on Thursday, 16 June with live plays, music, art exhibitions, debates, and readings inspired by the text.

The action of Joyce’s Ulysses, recognized as the seminal work of literary modernism, is set on a single day in Dublin, June 16, 1904, and features protagonist Leopold Bloom’s encounters with characters inspired by the Homeric hero’s adventures.

Admirers of Joyce set up the first Bloomsday in Dublin on June 16, 1954 and the celebrations have since spread to several other cities including Trieste where Joyce, then a struggling English teacher, wrote the first part of his masterpiece and met major local writers Umberto Saba and Italo Svevo.

Trieste’s knotty dialect is believed to have inspired some of the word play in Ulysses. Although most of Ulysses is based on memories of Dublin, the shabby grandeur of Trieste and its teeming poly-ethnic underclass fired the writer’s imagination. Trieste’s former red-light district in Cittavecchia is believed to have been a prototype for the ‘Nighttown’ of Ulysses.

At first Joyce, an accomplished linguist, struggled with the Triestine dialect but it eventually became the form of Italian he and his family spoke at home. Joyce, Nora, his son Giorgio and troubled daughter Lucia regularly used Triestine at home even after their move into elevated literary circles in Paris after the 1922 publication of his Ulysses.

It is said that Svevo, then only a Trieste businessman, helped his English teacher with the language that would become his second tongue. Joyce repaid his former pupil at the Berlitz school by championing Svevo’s novel La Coscienza di Zeno, which is now recognized as one of the greatest works of 20th century Italian literature.

Trieste, among other things, is a key Bloomsday venue along with the other cities where Joyce lived, Dublin, Paris and Zurich, where he died aged 58 in January 1941. Keeping this in mind, Museo Joyce together with Comune di Trieste and PromoTurismoFVG organized a movable feast starting from 8 am on June 16 with a breakfast at the antique lighthouse “La Lanterna”, which will remain illuminated with Irish flag colors throughout Bloomsday celebrations. Trieste’s James Joyce statue will also go green in the celebration of Bloomsday. The last event of the first day will start at 3 am (of June 17), making it literally an all-day-long celebration.

You can find the full program here:

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