Blooms of Dublin

Scope and Content

This series contains draft libretti, lyrics and scores for the English and Italian adaptations of Blooms of Dublin and some accompanying correspondence. It includes a full vocal and orchestral score of the operetta in English.

See also AB/ARCH/K/9: Notebook/diary, dated 1969-1971.

Administrative / Biographical History

Blooms of Dublin is a musical play by Burgess, based on James Joyce's Ulysses. It was first broadcast on BBC radio and Radio Telefis Eireann in February 1982 to celebrate the hundredth birthday of James Joyce, and it was published for the first time in 1986. Burgess had begun developing the work as early as the mid 1960s and, according to him, a draft of the libretto and score had been completed as early as 1971. The draft score was subsequently converted by Burgess into a complete orchestral work in preparation for the radio broadcast.

In the summer of 1982, Burgess started a close collaboration with Mario Maranzana, an Italian actor, stage director, and scriptwriter. They intended to produce an Italian theatrical version of Blooms of Dublin (titled: I Blum di Dublino / Il Bloom di Dublino), assisted by Burgess's wife, Liana. The Teatro Comunale "Giuseppe Verdi" in Trieste expressed interest in producing the operetta, which they intended to call Ulyssea (or Ulissea), and a good deal of progress was made in translating the vocal score. In 1993, the Trieste production was cancelled before work on it had been completed.

The text of some songs from Blooms of Dublin also appears in two of Burgess's novels, Earthly Powers (1980) and The End of World News (1982).

Access Information


Records described as being in a fair or poor condition are available to researchers in consultation with the Archivist.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The majority of records within this series are in a good condition, with the exception of one item.

Related Material

For a home-recording (on audio-cassette) of Burgess and Liana discussing proposals for an Italian translation of Blooms of Dublin, see the audio collection.


For a discussion of documents relating to the Italian translation of Blooms of Dublin (titled I Blum di Dublino / Il Bloom di Dublino // Ulyssea / Ulissea, see1) "Exploring the Backstage of Translations: A study of translation-related manuscripts in the Anthony Burgess archives" by Rosa Maria Bollettieri and Serenella Zanotti in Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series: Themes in Translation Studies, 14, 127–1482) "Diasporic Archives in Translation Research: A Case Study of Anthony Burgess’s Archives" by Serenella Zanotti in The Future of Literary Archives (ARC Humanities Press, 2018) edited by David C. Sutton and Ann Livingstone.