Bloomsday in Zürich

Today, 16 June, is Bloomsday. It is the day on which events take place in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses and which has become a commemorative occasion for Joyce’s afficionados celebrating the Irish genius.

For me, personally, it also commemorates 7 years since I first came to Zürich, the city where James Joyce rests in peace under the beautiful folliage of Züriberg’s Fluntern cemetery, and in the esteemed company of Elias Canetti’s neighbouring memorial.

I was on this trip with my father who is a Joycean scholar and beamed at the prospect of making the trip from down south in Lugano, where he was a visiting lecturer, to Zürich on the 16th of June 2001. By a most spectacularly serendipitous occurrence, as we were crossing the gate of the cemetery, we ran across a small group of people speaking English, who were clearly on the same pilgrimage as us. It turned out, in fact, the group was lead by Fritz Senn, a Joycean scholar my father admires. The group was indeed on a walking tour of Joyce’s Zürich, which we were only too pleased to attend, including an apéro in the evening at The James Joyce Foundation. The foundation is home to an impressive library with translations of the author’s work into every language imaginable. What a delightful surprise, nevertheless, when among the balancing of canapés, glasses of wine and verbal juggling, Fritz Senn appeared with a copy of a translation my father had done almost 20 years ago of Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man into Bulgarian!

At the time, I had no idea that 2 years later I would end up moving to Switzerland and Zürich. It’s been a garden of forking paths…

For Joyce enthusiasts:

James Joyce Walking into Eternity Dublin Tour

Part 1



Part 2



Also of interest:




2 Responses

  1. What a lovely walk in memory’s forking lanes. This time, Boon the mountain doodle and his dad celebrated Bloomsday on Abernathy Peak (el. 8321′) in the N Cascades. I wonder if we were the highest Bloomsday celebrants that day. Greetings, Fritz: I know you read everything. N

  2. Let us not also forget where the garden of forking paths eventually leads.

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