James Joyce Fans Tweet Entire 700+ Page Ulysses For 24 Hours, 140 Characters At A Time

In perhaps one of the most ambitious literary projects Twitter has seen, 71 fans of the classic “Ulysses” are spending today tweeting out this 700+ page tome in an attempt to bridge old and new media and share this literary staple with the tweeting generation.

“Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. Chrysostomos.”

“Stephen Dedalus stepped up, followed him wearily halfway and sat down on the edge of the gunrest, watching him…”

Those are the opening tweets of the newly reimagined “Ulysses”, and they condense 2258 characters (yes, I counted) into 248.

Today, June 16th 2011, is #Bloomsday, the day that “Ulysses” will be cut up, condensed, and tweeted every few seconds for 24 hours straight.

The Bloomsday project was founded by Stephen (who has only given his first name), who describes his ambitious undertaking as an experiment:

“This is not an attempt to tweet mindlessly the entire contents of Ulysses, word-for-word, 140 characters at a time. That would be dull and impossible. What is proposed here is a recasting or a reimagining of the reading experience of this novel, start to finish, within the confines of a day-long series of tweets from a global volunteer army of Joyce-sodden tweeps.

Can you imagine such a thing? Would it be horrific, a train wreck? Or would it be beatific? Who knows. Hence this experiment.”

He’s assigned portions of the massive novel to over 70 volunteers, who have each condensed their section into 1 hour’s worth of tweets. They sent them off to the official Ulysses Twitter email address, and they will be appearing all day today on the @11ysses Twitter account.

The tweet-version of “Ulysses” began being tweeted out at 3AM Eastern this morning, and so far so good. Some of the volunteers have even added hashtags (like “#myantisemitichomophobicfriend”) and @mentions to their tweets.

And if you think all of their efforts to make the Twitter generation care about “Ulysses” are in vain, check out this morning’s trending topics. Above “Stanley Cup” (but still below #canucksriot) is “Ulysses”.