James Joyce railed against family, religion and nationalism as the nets that Ireland casts around its artists and free-thinkers. As the annual celebration of his greatest work, Ulysses, begins those same traditional values have come back to haunt the leading Irish authority on the country’s most famous novelist.
While senator David Norris prepares for the annual Bloomsday festivities – when thousands dress up in Edwardian attire and follow the same mock-epic journey Joyce sent his novel’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom, on – he knows he is also fighting for his political survival.
Until a fortnight ago this bearded, gregarious Joycean scholar seemed on course to become not only Ireland’s, but Europe‘s, first openly gay president. Successive opinion polls put him way ahead of his nearest rivals in the race to succeed Mary McAleese as the republic’s head of state. READ MORE