Leopold Bloom is the protagonist of James Joyce's Ulysses, which takes place Dublin on 16 June 1904. Today, June 16, 2011, is Bloomsday. Bloomsday is a national holiday in Ireland; it’s the only holiday that is based on a novel.
Leopold Bloom is introduced as a man of appetites:
Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods' roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.
Born in 1866, Bloom is the only son of Rudolf Virág (a Hungarian Jew who converted from Judaism to Protestantism) and Ellen Higgins, an Irish Protestant. Bloom converted to Catholicism in order to marry Marion (Molly) Tweedy on 8 October 1888. The couple have one daughter, Milly, born in 1889. The family live at 7 Eccles Street in Dublin, which is where the Bloom portions of Ulysses begin.
And then there’s always this (Ulysses page 674):
What advantages attended shaving by night?
A softer beard: a softer brush if intentionally allowed to remain from shave to shave in its agglutinated lather: a softer skin if unexpectedly encountering female acquaintances in remote places at incustomary hours: quiet reflections upon the course of the day: a cleaner sensation when awaking after a fresher sleep since matutinal noises, premonitions and perturbations, a clattered milkcan, a postman's double knock, a paper read, reread while lathering, relathering the same spot, a shock, a shoot, with thought of aught he sought thought fraught with nought might cause a faster rate of shaving and a nick on which incision plaster with precision cut and humected and applied adhered which was to be done.
Enjoy the day.
[Note to critics (yes, you, you know to whom I am talking): It is now Bloomsday in Ireland, even if it has not yet arrived in New York.]