the head pressman looking for Monks

He walked on through the caseroom passing an old man, bowed, spectacled, aproned. Old Monks, the dayfather. Queer lot of stuff he must have put through his hands in his time: obituary notices, pubs’ ads, speeches, divorce suits, found drowned. Nearing the end of his tether now. Sober serious man with a bit in the savingsbank I’d say. Wife a good cook and washer. Daughter working the machine in the parlour. Plain Jane, no damn nonsense.


I had never heard the term “dayfather” so I wanted to see if I could find some clarification. According to James Joyce Online he is the leading representative of the day staff of a printing house ( source ) The article also states that Joyce’s “Monks” might have been patterned after a real person named Edward Monks, a printer of some note in Dublin at the time Joyce was writing.