Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Bloomsday—the annual international holiday that celebrates all things relating to James Joyce—is just around the corner.

And to mark the occasion,  stately, plump Buck Mulligan
 (who kicks off Joyce’s great novel Ulysses has just been converted to 2-D bar codes.

This transformation was wrought by the Books2Barcodes website, which breaks classics like Alice in Wonderland and Huckleberry Finn into 800-character fragments, then turns them into bar codes you can scan and read on suitably equipped mobile devices. 
It’s the sort of totally pointless/oddly amusing/ultimately affecting effort that Joyce’s countryman Samuel Beckett would have appreciated. (We’re thinking, in particular, of the famous “sucking stones” sequence in Beckett’s Molloy, and hereby nominate that novel for inclusion in Books2Barcodes’ series.) 
But we suspect that Joyce, too, would have been honored and amused.

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