Calypso 0012

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We’ll take a closer look at the visual inspirations for these images on the next page, but this is not the only source Joyce draws upon. Some of Bloom’s imaginings here come from the pantomime, a 19th-early 20th century form of popular theater–specifically, Turko the Terrible, first done at the Gaiety Theatre in 1873. You may recall that this panto forms part of Stephen’s memory of his mother in Telemachus. Tidbits and trivia from popular theater and music-hall show up quite a lot in Joyce (here and in Finnegans Wake, too). Turko the Terrible is a bit of popular culture so much a part of the fabric of Dublin life at the time that it emerges in the memories of two very different men at very different times in their lives. What’s interesting too is that for Stephen, it is part of his memory of his mother; for Bloom, the pantomime, and all the other pop culture flotsam and jetsam, like songs and postcards and pornography, is entirely transformed by his imagination. We could say the same about Joyce, too.

We also have here another mention of Molly’s father’s name, Tweedy, who melds into the figure of Turko the Terrible. It strikes me that Bloom has thought of his wife’s father’s name before he has said her name to himself; we’re on page 11, and he still has not thought the word “Molly.”


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Reader’s Guide for IV: Calypso