Davy Stephens

In Brief

In Aeolus "Davy Stephens" emerges from "The door of Ruttledge's office," a small man "in a large capecoat, a small felt hat crowning his ringlets," newspapers "under his cape." Stephens, a newspaper-seller, was a fixture on the Dublin street scene.

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Gifford writes that he "styled himself the 'prince of the news vendors' and was called 'Sir' Davy Stephens. He kept a newsstand at Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) and had a de facto monopoly on newspaper sales to mailboat passengers. He was witty and uninhibited, and anecdotes about an amusing confrontation between Stephens and King Edward VII when the latter visited Ireland in 1903 provide for the epithet 'a king's courier'" (129). Pierce adds that "In a working life of nearly half a century he met all the leading politicians and public figures of his day" (106).

In Circe Stephens passes by Bloom with "a bevy of barefoot newsboys," hawking a fantastical newspaper "Containing the new addresses of all the cuckolds in Dublin."

JH 2014
Photograph of Davy Stephens owned by the National Library of Ireland. Reproduced in David Pierce, James Joyce's Ireland (1992), courtesy NIL.