Calypso 0011

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Bloom’s comments to himself on the impropriety of wearing a summer suit to Dignam’s funeral echoes Stephen’s thought about the inappropriateness of wearing a gray suit in Telemachus (or his unwillingness to do so). The sight of the bread van prompts a further comment about warmth: hot loaves and turnovers. The narrator’s observation of Boland’s bread van shows how the narrator and Bloom often push up against each other: doesn’t it seem like they’re mixing into each other a bit in that central text box?

There’s a little bit of mixing between the Dublin street scene and an Eastern landscape too, in the bottom half of the page. We’re starting to slip into a fantasy of the Orient, reminiscent of both Molly’s origins in Gibraltar and Bloom’s imagined and cultural background as a Jew. Rob uses a profile shot of Bloom here and on the next page, similar to profile shots used at the Martello tower as Stephen looks out over the sea in Telemachus.

We could say that if the top of the page is the cardinal direction north, then Bloom really is facing east. The word “east” comes from a Germanic word meaning “dawn,” which recalls our title card and time of day; but it also draws us into Bloom’s fantasy of the East, continued on the next page–kind of neat his face is turned in the direction of that next page, too.


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Reader’s Guide for IV: Calypso




3 thoughts on “Calypso 0011

  1. I viewed the text in Calypso as entirely Bloom’s inner monologue. The “narrator” here, to me, seemed like Bloom narrating his own life. Especially since it contains the half-phrases that Bloom’s own thoughts exhibit.

  2. That’s definitely one possible way to read the chapter. But there’s a really different tone of voice in the more narrative passages here, and certainly the comments there seem to have a different, more focused, set of concerns.

    I think Bloom wrestles with the idea of being narrated if not a narrator himself, much more so than Stephen does in the previous chapter. So I tried to heighten that conflict a bit through comics.

  3. I sent this out to a friend for early review and they commented on the different spellings of Boland (“Boland’s” and “Bolands'”).

    This is not a typo. In fact it’s the first of many things will see in using the 1922 edition that may be accredited to typos in the original, non-English speaking printers, or any of the other really wonderful potholes in the road to making such an important modern novel during such a prudish time.

    But I’m drawing attention to this one because Joyce says “Boland’s” and advertisements from the time say “Bolands'”.

    Bloom, love him though I do, is often wrong even when printed evidence is right in front of him.

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