Bloom looking at his dead father

Mr Bloom stood at the corner, his eyes wandering over the multicoloured hoardings. Cantrell and Cochrane’s Ginger Ale (Aromatic). Clery’s Summer Sale. No, he’s going on straight. Hello. Leah tonight. Mrs Bandmann Palmer. Like to see her again in that. Hamlet she played last night. Male impersonator. Perhaps he was a woman. Why Ophelia committed suicide. Poor papa! How he used to talk of Kate Bateman in that. Outside the Adelphi in London waited all the afternoon to get in. Year before I was born that was: sixtyfive. And Ristori in Vienna. What is this the right name is? By Mosenthal it is. Rachel, is it? No. The scene he was always talking about where the old blind Abraham recognises the voice and puts his fingers on his face.

Nathan’s voice! His son’s voice! I hear the voice of Nathan who left his father to die of grief and misery in my arms, who left the house of his father and left the God of his father.

Every word is so deep, Leopold.

Poor papa! Poor man! I’m glad I didn’t go into the room to look at his face. That day! O, dear! O, dear! Ffoo! Well, perhaps it was best for him.

Mr Bloom went round the corner and passed the drooping nags of the hazard. No use thinking of it any more. Nosebag time. Wish I hadn’t met that M’Coy fellow.

He came nearer and heard a crunching of gilded oats, the gently champing teeth. Their full buck eyes regarded him as he went by, amid the sweet oaten reek of horsepiss. Their Eldorado. Poor jugginses! Damn all they know or care about anything with their long noses stuck in nosebags. Too full for words. Still they get their feed all right and their doss. Gelded too: a stump of black guttapercha wagging limp between their haunches. Might be happy all the same that way. Good poor brutes they look. Still their neigh can be very irritating.


round bottomed bottleI did some research on Cantrell and Cochrane’s Ginger Ale. Interestingly, the company is still in business as C&C Group bottling and distributing Magner’s and Woodchuck Cider among others. ( website ) The bottles were famous in Joyce’s day for having round bottoms which would require the bottle be stored on its side keeping the cork from drying out. ( source ). At first I thought the section about Nathan’s voice was a reference to something in Bloom’s own past, but then I found that it’s a reference from the play “Leah” ( source ). It sparks his memory of his own father’s suicide which seems to me to be one of those episodes in his life that is always right behind his current thought. This is evidenced by his immediate use of his distaste of horses to try to banish the thought from his mind. Although he says he’s glad he didn’t go in and see his father’s face I think he actually wishes he had. I once again needed to reach to the James Joyce community on twitter to find out exactly how Bloom’s father committed suicide, lucky for me they always have an answer and a source. Here’s the thread.