Today, June 16, is the day known to James Joyce fanatics as “Bloomsday.” The literary holiday is named after Leopold Bloom, the main character of Joyce’s one-day novel and masterpiece Ulysses, which takes place on June 16, 1904 (and which, need I remind you, was first published by Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 1922?). (Check out earlier post for more info.)

Joyce, Sylvia Beach, and Adrienne Monnier at Shakespeare and Company in 1920

Fans around the world hold readings in honor of the day, but for our purposes, I wondered what was happening in 1924 on the second-ever Bloomsday and the 20th anniversary of the fictitious plot events.

A sufferer of long-term eye problems, Joyce spent the day in the hospital after another surgery and wrote in his notebook: “Today 16 June 1924 twenty years after. Will anybody remember this date?” Little did he know! The first official celebration for the day happened five years later for the 25th anniversary, when Adrienne Monnier organized a special lunch at the Hotel Leopold near Versailles.[1]

Joyce had to wear an eye patch for a period due to multiple eye surgeries.

Out of curiosity, here are a two other events that will appear on our map for June 16th:

  • The Théâtre des Champs Elysées held a performance of Don Giovanni for the second day of a Mozart festival. [2]
  • 300 American athletes and coaches set sail for the Paris Summer Olympics.[3]


[2] Le Figaro, June. 16, 1924

[3] New York Times, June 16, 1924