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The Mystery of “The Mystery of Marie Roget”

When we say that Edgar Allan Poe invented the detective story, we may as well say that Poe invented the detective. In 1841, when “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” was first published in Graham Magazine, Boston was still five years away from founding the first professional police detective unit in the United States. Indeed, in creating …

Making a Verbal Monster:  Cyclops in Virgil’s Aeneid 3 and Joyce’s Ulysses

For this year’s Bloomsday and the rest of this summer, the Rosenbach’s partner desk display in the historic library is filled with objects that show classic literary influences on James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Starting with his introduction (at age 10) to Homer’s Odyssey through Charles Lamb’s school edition, we see that the characters and language of …

How true do we want true crime to be?

I was in graduate school when Oprah Winfrey confronted author James Frey about fabricating portions of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces. Oprah, who had previously defended Frey’s memoir as a meaningful book with or without a strict adherence to the facts, apologized to her viewers: “I left the impression that the truth does not …

2017 Bloomsday Essay Contest Graduate Student Winner: “‘Greeker than the Greeks'”

The first annual Bloomsday Essay Contest invited graduate and undergraduate students in the tri-state area to submit their best essays on Ulysses or another Joyce text. The winners were announced during the Bloomsday celebration on June 16, 2017. The 2017 Bloomsday Essay Contest award for an outstanding paper written by a graduate student was presented …

2017 Bloomsday Essay Contest Undergraduate Student Winner: “Consumption of the Intimate”

The first annual Bloomsday Essay Contest invited graduate and undergraduate students in the tri-state area to submit their best essays on Ulysses or another Joyce text. The winners were announced during the Bloomsday celebration on June 16, 2017. The 2017 award for an outstanding paper written by an undergraduate student was presented to Katie Paulson …

Everything you need to know about Bloomsday

What is Bloomsday? June 16 is the day the world celebrates James Joyce and his literary masterpiece, Ulysses. The celebration is called “Bloomsday” after one of the main characters, Leopold Bloom. As the residence of the complete manuscript of Ulysses, the Rosenbach has celebrated Bloomsday for more than 20 years. The main event features readings from Ulysses, …

James Joyce and his feline friends

With June 16 merely days away, we’re getting serious about Bloomsday here at the Rosenbach. Certainly more serious than Ulysses: this novel may contain passages of great beauty, but it also contains moments of great silliness. Consider “Calypso,” the fourth chapter and the reader’s first introduction to Leopold Bloom. “Calypso” features many of the themes and literary techniques that established …

To Catch a Thief in the Days before Detectives

In 1750, Philadelphia was plagued by a series of domestic robberies over several weeks. The items targeted were primarily the luxury goods that were becoming increasingly available to residents who had financial means: jewelry, fine cloth, good silver. Although the colony of Pennsylvania was still largely an agricultural economy, the City of Brotherly Love was …

The Many Bans of Ulysses

Joyceans and longtime Rosenbach friends are well-acquainted with the history of how James Joyce’s Ulysses ran afoul of the Comstock Law, which prohibited use of the postal service to mail “obscene” literature among other things. The magazine The Little Review, which published the first chapters of Ulysses serially up until the “Nausicaa” episode in 1921, was brought …