June 16 is Bloomsday, the Dublin day in 1904 James Joyce utterly possessed for Ulysses, his most famous book. Joyce loyalists the world over celebrate Joyce's accomplishment today, and his famous characters Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom and Molly Bloom, with readings, drinking, etc. (Molly says yes!)
James Joyce accomplished much in his literary career. Widely regarded as a genius, many believe he became a sort of victim of that genius, descending a slippery slope from the taut, accessible, emotionally devastating stories of "epiphany" in Dubliners to the self-indulgent rococo wasteland of Finnegans Wake, which bedevils even the most determined reader -- just as it's supposed to. Of course others believe James Joyce served his genius well -- in the only way he could. Genius is famously not easy (though Einstein seemed to have a lot of fun.) For all Joyce's accomplishments, the obscurantist writer Gertrude Stein's assessment may define him best: "People like him," Stein said, "because he is incomprehensible and anybody can understand him."
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