Brooklyn Public Library



Feb 2, 2010 11:51 AM | 0 comments

Today's guest blogger is Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Director of Central Library.

Another February 2 is upon us, and with it we mark the passing of winter’s official midway point. For those of us already looking toward spring, we spend at least a fleeting moment celebrating the presentations of Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck—our nation’s unfailing rodent prognosticators. As for me, and others like me who frequent the library’s Language and Literature Division, we of course spend the day celebrating James Joyce’s birthday.

Joyceans everywhere know that today marks the author’s 128th birthday. Some folks say—and I don’t disagree—that beyond writing the best English-language novel of all time (the demanding but surprisingly accessible Ulysses), Joyce is responsible for the best English-language short story of all time (“The Dead,” collected in Dubliners). For those who are more visually oriented, John Huston’s spot-on 1987 film adaptation of the story was just re-released on DVD after an irritatingly long period of unavailability.

Central Library also holds an impressive collection of works about Joyce. I’d rank Richard Ellmann’s fascinating biography James Joyce among the greatest literary biographies of the 20th century. If you’d rather jump right into Ulysses, but want some help getting over the bumpy parts, try Harry Blamire’s New Bloomsday Book, a terrific page-by-page guide for the uninitiated.

Finally, for those who couldn’t care less about James Joyce and thought this post was going to be about groundhogs, you’re in luck. You can always check out Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day—an underappreciated classic and certainly some of the actor’s best early work.

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