Robert Berry, artist for Ulysses Seen, an app and online comics adaptation of James Joyce’s 20th Century literary masterpiece Ulysses, is traveling to Dublin for the first time to take part in celebrations that will mark Bloomsday, the global June 16 celebration of the novel’s day-in-the-life account of its protagonist Leopold Bloom, as well the end of Ulysses’s copyright this year and the book’s entry into the public domain.
Beginning June 16 on Bloomsday, Berry and his wife will be the guests of the James Joyce Center and spend the next week in Dublin in his first visit to the city he has spent the last few years drawing in great detail. Ulysses Seen, a graphic adaptation of the novel, is the initial project of Throwaway Horse, a venture co-founded by Berry to make classic and “difficult” works of literature like Ulysses and T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland and other works, more accessible to modern readers by using online comics adaptations and colloquial well-researched readers guides.
Dublin will also be the scene of the International James Joyce Symposium, an event enlivened this year, Berry told PW, by Ulysses’ entry into the public domain, releasing both scholars and publishers from restrictions placed on the use of the novel by the Joyce Estate. Part of the Bloomsday events will also feature an exhibition in Dublin of original artwork from Berry’s Ulysses Seen adaptation.
Ulysses Seen is an ongoing project—Berry has completed about 125 pages and estimates it will take a decade to complete—and for this event he’s publishing 10 newly completed pages on the website/flickr stream of the National Library of Ireland. Berry has written a post for the NLI’s blog and also pointed out to PW that Dublin’s Irish Times newspaper is publishing most of the graphic novel’s “Calypso” chapter—about 35 pages—in full color in its Saturday Bloomsday print edition. If that isn’t enough, Berry and Throwaway Horse co-founder Josh Levitas also submitted the winning entry in an Irish Times contest to come up with a new cover design for the masterful novel. The 10 new pages can also be seen as a Panel Mania preview on the PW website; and Berry said there will be a 14-page sequence from Ulysses Seen in the Graphic Canon Vol. 3, Seven Stories Press' forthcoming anthology of graphic adaptations of classic literary works.
Berry will give a lecture on Jue 16 about Joyce and the visual arts and he told PW, no surprise here, his tour of Dublin will take him to the Bailey pub for a pint or two, the place where the Bloomsday celebration began in 1954. But he was most enthusiastic about his first visit to Dublin and the embrace of his comics adaptation of an Irish literary masterpiece by the Irish themselves. “People just really love comics,” he said.