A List of International Epics

In News Blog, What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Mark Garcia-Prats

Yesterday, one hundred and six years ago, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus journeyed through the cobbled streets of Dublin. Well . . . sort of. Bloom and Dedalus are the famous characters from James Joyce’s Ulysses, the story of which takes place in Dublin on a single day — June 16, 1904.

Each year on that date, fans of Ulysses from around the world celebrate the quintessential Irish novel- some retracing the steps of their favorite character, while others simply drink a Guinness or reread a favorite chapter.

Joshua Cohen, author of Witz, a “capacious” and “complex” (his words) 800-page novel about the last Jew in the world, showed his joy for Bloomsday by compiling a list of books from different cultures of the world, each of which have been referred to as that cultures Ulysses. The 12-novel list is not for the faint of heart — it includes over 6,000 pages of reading.

It’s an intriguing way to think of world lit — as one long epic. (Of course, there are some titles we disagree with . . . honestly, All About H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani is a great book — and we are fans since, of course, Desani was a long-time professor at the University of Texas, but surely there are other truly “epic” candidates.)

Enjoy and happy (belated) Bloomsday!

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A widely published critic and essayist, he serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries.