Every year on June 16, fans of James Joyce worldwide grab copies of his masterwork, Ulysses, don their best Edwardian garb – think bowler hats and neckties, pastel skirts and parasols – and gather to celebrate the life of the acclaimed Irish writer. Why? It’s the date that Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Joyce’s book, made his famous 1904 journey around Dublin in the vein of Homer’s Odyssey.
One of the 20th century’s greatest novels, Ulysses is known for its revolutionary stream-of-consciousness narrative; countless readers and critics have praised it as a work of genius, while others damn it as an impenetrable, albeit ambitious, Modernist tome. But here’s something you may not know: Marilyn Monroe was a huge fan of Joyce. And Magnum photographer Eve Arnold once photographed her reading Ulysses. In a bathing suit. On Long Island.