Irish Times

Irish Times

In Brief

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 Clifford."

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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 about Ireland."

JH 2018
Page 1 of the 10-page Irish Times for 16 June 1904, almost entirely taken up by advertisements. Source: