In Lestrygonians Bloom walks by the offices of the "Irish
Times" at 31 Westmoreland Street, heading south.
The Times, a daily newspaper, has lasted
from 1859 to the present day. In 1904 it was one of three
Dublin newspapers that
enjoyed a large national circulation, along with the Freeman's Journal and
the Evening Telegraph, and
it espoused modestly conservative, unionist politics. Bloom
considers it the "Best paper by long chalks for a small ad.
Got the provinces now." Among other occasions when
he may have put this conviction into practice, the Times has
published the ad that put "Henry
Flower" in touch with "Martha
Lestrygonians gives us most of what we can know about
this solicitation: "He passed the Irish
Times. There might be other answers lying
there. Like to answer them all. Good system for
criminals. Code. At their lunch now. Clerk with the glasses
there doesn't know me. O, leave them there to simmer. Enough
bother wading through fortyfour of them. Wanted, smart lady
typist to aid gentleman in literary work."
Bloom, then, has placed an ad in the Times for a
"smart lady typist," and he has waded through the first 44
replies, at least one of which satisfied his desire to conduct
intimate personal correspondence with anonymous women
possessing at least a minimal interest in literary writing.
One of the hallucinations in Circe ties Bloom's guilty
secret to the enabling newspaper: Martha comes forward, "(Thickveiled,
a crimson halter round her neck, a copy of the Irish
Times in her hand, in tone of reproach,
pointing.) Henry! Leopold! Lionel, thou lost one!
Clear my name."
Bloom's program of placing personal ads in the Times clearly
goes beyond this one instance of surreptitious erotic
correspondence. In Penelope, Molly remembers having
lost a pair of gloves at the Dublin Bakery Corporation: "I
forgot my suede gloves on the seat behind that I never got
after some robber of a woman and he wanted me to put it in
the Irish times lost in the ladies lavatory D B C Dame
street finder return to Mrs Marion Bloom." The
circumstances are very different from the lady typist ad, but
the willingness to entrust personal needs to a public forum is
very similar. Molly's "he wanted" makes blazingly clear her
response to Bloom's wish to give thousands of daily readers
the mental image of her sitting on a toilet seat in the DBC.
Fargnoli and Gillespie note that "While he was away in Paris
from 1902 to 1903, Joyce repeatedly tried to earn money by
selling articles on Paris and Parisian life to this paper. The
7 April 1903 issue carried his essay 'The Motor Derby:
Interview with the French Champion (from a correspondent),'
which focused on Henry Fournier, the leading contender for the
James Gordon Bennett Cup, an automobile race to be held in
Dublin that July. The article provided Joyce with background
that he would incorporate into his Dubliners story
'After the Race.' After he had left Ireland permanently, Joyce
relied on the Irish Times as a source of information