A new feature length documentary to mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of Joyce’s modernist masterpiece.
Ulysses is the most notorious novel of the 20th century. Banned in the USA for obscenity in 1920 it was finally printed in Paris in 1922 by an American woman who had never published a book before.
A century after it first appeared Adam Low’s Arena: James Joyce’s ULYSSES unlocks Joyce’s book in all its surprising, poetic, moving, verbose, sexually explicit and frequently hilarious glory, from its earliest crossed out manuscript pages to the iconic first edition, bound in the blue of the Greek flag in honour of Homer’s The Odyssey. Notoriously difficult to read and written in a bewildering variety of styles Ulysses revolutionised the modern novel.
Set during the course of single day in Dublin in 1904 Ulysses was actually written in Trieste, Zurich and Paris during a time of huge historical upheaval. Its central character is a cuckolded Jew called Leopold Bloom who wanders around the city observing its everyday life. Arena: James Joyce’s ULYSSES reveals the tawdry, shocking, uplifting and gloriously kaleidoscopic humanity of this literary masterpiece.
With contributions from: Salman Rushdie, Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, Howard Jacobson, Eimear McBride, Paul Muldoon, John McCourt, Nuala O’Connor and many others.
A DoubleBand/Lone Star Co-production for BBC Arts and BBC Northern Ireland and with the support of Northern Ireland Screen