Sunday, 17 June 2012


Radio 4 went to Dublin yesterday, and did so in style. Bloomsday has never been so widely publicised, surely! I failed to stay awake for Molly's soliloquy, but have hopes to ListenAgain.

My battered copy of Ulysses has two covers: this is the inner one. (The outer one contains photographs from Joseph Strick's film.) I bought it in July 1967, rather later than the Lady Chatterley trial: Philip Larkin, whose ‘Annus Mirabilis' also dates from 1967, had therefore already received his sexual awakening.

I can't recall Ulysses doing much for me in that regard. The linguistic ingenuity grabbed me far more than any dirty bits. I know I took a long while to struggle through it - I recall reading part one hot Summer's afternoon when lying on the deck of Freddie Harmer's boat, as we sailed down the River Alde. The dust cover has a quote from The Times, half a century pre-Kindle: it begins: "That the format of a book can affect its readability has long been known..."

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