18 Reasons to Read Ulysses: A Centennial Celebration

From 06/01/2022 to 09/18/2022

This year marks a century since the publication of James Joyce’s Modernist masterpiece, Ulysses. The Rosenbach, home to the only complete manuscript of the novel and the location of Philadelphia’s annual Bloomsday celebration, marks this occasion with a thematic walk around the novel’s eighteen episodes.    

The exhibition challenges the novel’s reputation as a difficult book to read, presenting eighteen highlights from the manuscript, each representing a single theme—along with related objects from The Rosenbach’s collections.  Visitors can engage with these thematic groupings separately or connect them to the larger nexus of ideas at play in the novel.  Nationhood, food, literature, music, identity, and love are just a few of the themes we ask you to ponder. 

The exhibition will be enhanced by over one hundred paintings by contemporary artist, Heather Ryan Kelley, whose work on Ulysses is a visually engaging meditation on the themes of the novel. Pictured below are selections of her work. 

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Pictured in exhibition logo: Heather Ryan Kelley, Ulysses, 1996. Oil on canvas, 16.5 x 11 inches. 2022.1.101