Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dublin in New York

The Dublin of James Joyce's "Ulysses" barely exists any more, though tour guides will point out the brick building with the faded sign that says "Finn's Hotel," which is where Nora was working as a chambermaid when she and Joyce met. But Joyce's cascade of words brings it all back.

For the last 26 years, some New Yorkers have observed Bloomsday — June 16 — the date on which the events of "Ulysses" occurred — by attending the marathon reading at Symphony Space (Broadway at 95th Street). Dozens of well-known actors read from "Ulysses" and other Joyce works starting at noon and continuing until midnight.

"Ulysses" can be a hard slog for many readers, but I wonder if Joyce scholars would quarrel with me when I say that it was meant to be heard. It is full of poetry and playlets that come to life on the stage. I attended part of the reading last year and was entranced.

Tickets to the marathon are sold in three-hour segments. For more information, call the box office at (212) 864-5400 or go online at