Yesterday was the nth anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, at Runnymede, by King John, the only English king of that name, pretty much at sword point, the barons having finally had it with his tyranny, and wanting to wield a bit of it themselves, I suspect.
But the calendar has been fiddled with since 1215, so who knows really. Thirteen days went missing at the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the sixteenth century, named for the Pope who did it to straighten out the Julian calendar drift because of leap years. Or something.
I've always wondered about the poor guys who had vacation planned then, and suddenly found they were instantly scheduled to go right on working instead.. joke, joke.
Anyway it was a declaration of human rights and power sharing. However, England specifically appears to be in the process of abandoning it, and I thought I wouldn't get too excited yesterday.
Today however is another matter.
It's June 16, Bloomsday. The day Leopold Bloom, the hero of "Ulysses", spent wandering the streets of Dublin, encountering friends, stories, himself, Molly, and literary history.
It was Sylvia Beach, owner of the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris who first published "Ulysses" when the establishment wouldn't.
On his fortieth birthday, February 2,1922. I wonder if he had many and complicated thoughts on the date. Born on the Feast of the Purification, hmmm.
Here's my tiny annual tribute, where I read more of it, as you see getting near the end
and the massive blast of trumpets that is Molly Bloom's tour de force
Thank you to Sylvia Beach, and Kindle, which keeps my place from year to year. And Norah Barnacle who probably kept Joyce going. It's usually the surrounding women who ensure that great things happen and great literature is written then made available.
Here's to centering them! Acknowledging their own art in their own right.
Meanwhile I have to get on to Ulysses again. Maybe I'll get to the end this year, before I run out of years