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    Will you take the Ulysses in 80 challenge?

    Dan Sheehan

    June 2, 2023, 11:08am

    yes I said yes [you] will Yes.

    80 days to read the Big One? That’s only 6 to 8 pages a day. Piece of piss. Sure, you could knock those out each morning in less time than it takes stately, plump Buck Mulligan to have a shave, even if you’ve always feared those big words which make us all so unhappy.

    What on earth am I talking about? A Ulysses book club, of course.

    The brainchild of an immunologist and a bus driver, Ulysses at 80 is an online book club which aims to democratize Joyce’s famously challenging writing by dividing his opus into digestible daily chunks.

    After the success of last year’s inaugeral, Trinity College immunologist Professor Cliona O’ Farrelly has teamed up with Dublin Bus driver (and regular Ulysses reader) Kevin Anderson, as well as a gaggle of other James Joyce enthusiasts, to launch the second installment of Ulysses at 80, which runs from June 1 to August 19 (yes, if you’re reading this, you are already a day behind).

    Here’s how it all works:

    At 7am on each day, a message will be posted on the dedicated website and social media as well as emailed to members who have signed up on the website, giving the first words and the last words of the section to be read that day, together with the line numbers (from the Gutenberg Press edition).  The relevant page numbers of several printed editions will also be posted on our website. Members can be listeners as well as, or instead of, readers if a podcast version of Ulysses is preferred. TikTok fans are encouraged to take part as well.

    Book club members will be invited to contribute their thoughts, comments and insights—and maybe even dance moves—about the day’s section using the hashtag #Ulyssesin80.   

    By Bloomsday (which marks the date in 1904 when the novel is set) on June 16th, 2022, readers will have reached the middle of its 8th “episode,” “Lestrygonians,” and will be “in” Davy Byrne’s Pub in time for Leopold Bloom’s famous lunch of a Gorgonzola sandwich with a glass of Burgundy.  The last episode, [number 18, “Penelope”], Molly Bloom’s eight-sentence soliloquy, will be read over ten days in August. 

    You had me at “dance moves,” Professor O’ Farrelly. I’m in.

    On August 19, when the last page has been read and discussed and transmuted into a viral TikTok dance, all participants will (I trust) gather at Sandymount Strand, where they will launch themselves, naked and delirious, into the sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea.

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