End of 'Ulysses' copyright may breathe new life into Bloomsday

Wed, Jun 8, 2011, 01:00

THE EXPIRY of the copyright on James Joyce’s Ulyssesnext year will liberate the text from the “notoriously restrictive” instincts of his grandson Stephen Joyce, the co-ordinator of the Bloomsday festival has said.

Stacey Herbert said those trying to organise celebrations of the book often found themselves without permission to do so by Joyce’s Paris-based grandson.

To date the only place where public readings of Ulyssesare allowed are on Bloomsday in the James Joyce Centre in North Great George’s Street.

As organisations and individuals as diverse as the State, the Abbey Theatre and Cork University Press have found, the Joyce estate, whose main trustee is Stephen Joyce, is fiercely protective of the writer’s work.

Ms Herbert said this year’s Bloomsday celebrations, which take place on Thursday, June 16th, will be the last where such restrictions will be observed.

She said the lifting of the copyright restrictions would be celebrated by a flash mob next year which would perform from each of the 18 chapters in the novel, while it would also allow for a proliferation of musical and dramatic representations of Joyce’s most famous work.

This year’s Bloomsday festival events begin today with the launch of a book of Joyce-inspired photographs by Japanese photographer Motoko Fujita.

The festival will run until Bloomsday itself, where the traditional Bloomsday breakfast will be held at the Gresham Hotel.

There will be an opera and airs in St Stephen’s Green based on music from Ulysseson Wednesday and Thursday next week and a talk on the Jewish element of Joyce’s work in the Irish Jewish Museum next Monday.