PHILADELPHIA, May 3, 2021—June 16 is observed around the world as a celebration of James Joyce and his epic Ulysses, a novel that has been called everything from masterfully moving to hilariously obscene. Nowhere in the United States is this global literary holiday marked with more excitement than in Philadelphia, where the manuscript for Ulysses has made its home at The Rosenbach since 1924.
For more than 20 years, The Rosenbach has commemorated Bloomsday with a day-long public reading of Ulysses on Delancey Place. This year, with health and safety precautions in place, The Rosenbach is celebrating Bloomsday throughout the month of June with a series of free virtual programs and exclusive in-person events leading up to the world premiere of I Said Yes: A Celebration of Bloomsday at The Rosenbach, a new film production, on Wednesday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m.
The film captures the celebration of Bloomsday and the significance of Joyce’s groundbreaking work. Through interviews, commentary, music, readings, and much more, I Said Yes: A Celebration of Bloomsday at The Rosenbach reflects on the literary legacy of Ulysses and The Rosenbach’s place in its history. The film premieres on Wednesday, June 16, 7:00 p.m. EST (90 minutes) and can be viewed on rosenbach.org/bloomsday or facebook.com/rosenbachmuseum.
In addition to the premiere of the new film, The Rosenbach is holding a series of free virtual programs and exclusive in-person events throughout the month of June. Full details and registration at rosenbach.org/bloomsday.
Virtual programs include:
- Written In My Heart: James Joyce & Irish Authors | Behind the Bookcase Tour on Thursday, June 3 from 6:00–7:00 p.m. The spirit of Ireland has inspired storytellers like James Joyce, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and many others for centuries. The influence of these authors continues to be felt far beyond Ireland’s rugged shores and The Rosenbach is home to a vast collection of their works. Free. Virtual program.
- The Will to Forget: Memory, the Nation, and Ulysses | In Conversation with Vincent Cheng on Wednesday, June 9 from 7:00–8:00 p.m. The subject of memory is notable in contemporary studies of culture but the desirability or usefulness of forgetting is often overlooked. Vincent Cheng, author of Amnesia and the Nation: History, Forgetting, and James Joyce, considers the subject in terms of a nation’s collective memory and Joyce’s treatment of these issues in Ulysses. Free. Virtual program.
- Love’s Old Sweet Song: The Music of James Joyce | Behind the Bookcase Tour on Thursday, June 24 from 6:00–7:00 p.m. Readers of Ulysses know that music plays an important role in the novel’s narratives. This special virtual tour will pair Celtic harp performances broadcasted live from The Rosenbach’s historic parlor along with a showcase and discussion of iconic artifacts from our collection. Free. Virtual program.
In-person programs include:
- Young Friends Party on Tuesday, June 8 from 6:00–8:00 p.m. Calling all young bibliophiles! Literary enthusiasts under 40 are invited to a special event in the garden. The Young Friends of The Rosenbach, a new committee, will make their debut at this cocktail party with a special up-close viewing of the Ulysses manuscript from our collection. Tickets required, availability is limited to maintain safe capacity and all in-person events will adhere to the City of Philadelphia’s regulations.
- The Spirit of Bloom Cocktail Mixing Workshop with Art in the Age on Saturday, June 12 in three sessions at 4:00, 5:30, and 7:00 p.m. Join us in The Rosenbach’s Garden to mix your own cocktail inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses. A mixologist from Art in the Age will walk us through the fundamentals of creating a special Bloomsday cocktail using a bottle of Tamworth Garden Gin that you’ll take home with you. Registration includes access to view Joyce’s manuscript of Ulysses in The Rosenbach’s collection. Tickets required, availability is limited to maintain safe capacity and all in-person events will adhere to the City of Philadelphia’s regulations.
Also being held this June is the Rosenbacchanal, The Rosenbach’s annual, signature fundraiser. This year, we’re celebrating on Bloomsday, June 16, with a special outdoor dinner on Delancey Place and an exclusive screening of I Said Yes: A Celebration of Bloomsday at The Rosenbach. More details about sponsorship and tickets are available at rosenbach.org/rosenbacchanal2021.
With timed tickets and safety measures in place, The Rosenbach is open to the public. Visitors will enjoy a socially-distanced guided tour of the historic house and library along with a chance to see select pages from Joyce’s manuscript up-close in our newest installation The Global Other: Race and Empire in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Visitors can also explore our literary-themed garden including plants connected to Joyce’s works.
The Rosenbach creates unique experiences for broad audiences through programs inspired by its world-class holdings of literature and history. The Rosenbach is located in Center City Philadelphia and is open to the public with growing content available at all times on Rosenbach.org. The Rosenbach is affiliated with the Free Library of Philadelphia.