Telemachus 0015

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[Cf. 1922 6:7-28; Gabler 1:112-134]

Mulligan is fencing with Stephen fairly aggressively here.  He is by turns generous and condescending, surprisingly dismissive and admiring, charming and intolerable.

One thing that strikes me on reading this passage is Mulligan’s none-too-subtle playing of “the class card” with Stephen. “Dogsbody” has all kinds of associations, and will gather even more in the “Proteus” episode, but at the very least it refers to an underling or a “gofer.” Mulligan also teases Stephen for his “second leg” trousers, his improper etiquette, and even offers his own old clothes to him. We’ll soon learn he’s wearing Mulligan’s boots already. [“Poxy Bowsy” is glossed in Gifford, but basically means vd-ridden lout.]

Stephen’s insistence that he can’t wear grey is pretty extreme. Gifford‘s gloss is very useful–like many other entries, it “reminds” us of things we don’t yet know, that Stephen’s mother died on June 23, 1903, and so it’s been almost a full year… though we actually won’t find out it’s June 16, 1904 for a few hundred pages yet. Gifford observes that under the strictest standards of Victorian mourning, a son would wear only black for a full year after his mother’s death, so Stephen’s within that period. Mulligan catches the irony of Stephen’s assiduous sartorial etiquette and his cruel treatment of his mother, but we don’t necessarily feel better about Mulligan for this.

Point of trivia: if you’re following along in your Gabler edition, you’ll see that several of Mulligan’s lines here end with exclamation points [Dogsbody! Insane! Bard!]. He’s quite an exclaimer. The exclamation points appear in the Rosenbach manuscript, but not in the 1922. Because we’re following the ’22 here, they’re not used. Write them in if you like.

Point of admiration: I love how Rob has Mulligan using the mirror here.

so, riddle me this:

1. We’ve been wondering what the mirror should look like. Anyone have a good sense of what the cracked lookingglass of a servant should look like? Please post a picture.

2. About that dogsbody. What difference does it make, given the trends and themes of this chapter, that Mulligan is talking about Stephen’s body and his appearance?

3. Why is it important that Stephen is so hyper-observant of the etiquette of mourning? Can you answer this question by going through Hamlet or the Odyssey?

Reader’s Guide for I: Telemachus

Dramatis Personae for I: Telemachus

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