< Back to Exposições virtuais



James Joyce’s (1882-1941) Ulysses is quite possibly the greatest of all novels. Full stop.

Since its publication in 1922, the book has fascinated and bewildered readers and critics alike with its radical approach to the daily lives of Dubliners. His linguistic and formal inventiveness, as well as his unshakable optimism in the face of the ills of a financially disadvantaged society, and also in the face of all the hardships and unpleasantness of the human condition, seem to have spoken very closely to the hearts of Brazilians.

Today, for example, Portuguese is the language that has the most translations of Joyce’s novel. Only Brazil has four different versions already, three already published and one more on the way. Among Joyceans, there is also constant activity to celebrate “Bloomsday”, which takes place around the world on 16 June each year. Music, memory, joy and thanks are central to these events, which have been taking place for decades in São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul and, over time, in many other states.

Joyce’s other books have also been translated and retranslated in Brazil. His poetry, his play (Exiles, 1918), his short stories (Dubliners, 1914), his first novel (A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man, 1916) – and even posthumous works, such as the fragment of the manuscript of the first version of the Portrait (Stephen Hero, 1944), letters and essays. Even his last work, Finnegans Wake (1939), a novel that many consider illegible, has already been translated twice in Brazil, with two more translation processes in progress.

Joyce, who includes references to Rio de Janeiro in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and who recently took our stages by storm with Bete Coelho’s fantastic Molly Bloom, would certainly like to see himself recognized, so many years later, as an honorary citizen of our “carnivalised” republic of letters.