Joyce's Allusions

To Joyce's early readers, his allusions were often snippets of shared experience - snatches of song, newspaper headlines, ephemeral literature with which he and his contemporaries were familiar. Nowadays the reader of Joyce's fiction cannot be expected to share that turn-of-the-century knowledge. At times we do not even recognise that Joyce is alluding to some external source. The links below elucidate some of the references that have so far escaped notice or confounded researchers.

For a full listing of notes and articles on Joyce's Allusions go to Articles

A medley from Michael Rooney’s Macaronic band

In “Sirens” Bloom makes play with the idea of “Mickey Rooney’s Band” The allusion can also be found in Finnegans Wake, where it appears as “Miccheroni's band” and “Miccheruni’s band”. But who was Mickey Rooney, and what was his band? [more]

Rossini, Mercadante, Meyerbeer

Bloom’s sometimes confused reflections on music are usually treated ad hoc by commentators, but in fact some of them form a plot thread with implications going beyond the simple facts... [more]

Shrieks of silence!

Joyce tossed the expression “Shrieks of silence” into the stylistic maelstrom of the final section of “Oxen of the Sun”, an oxymoron which hardly feels out of place in this linguistic mix... [read more]

Camille Flammarion’s Astronomy for Amateurs (1904) in Ulysses

Bloom’s quick run “round the corner” to Dlugacz’s pork butcher’s on the morning of 16 June prefigures in miniature his day’s wanderings around Dublin over the course of Bloomsday. [more]

Of white hats and stolen donkeys

The references to Eugene Stratton and the Bohee Brothers in Ulysses, as well as the more extensive deployment of minstrelsy in Finnegans Wake, provide ample evidence of Joyce’s interest in and use of minstrelsy. [more]

The Ursuline Manual in 'Circe'

In the climactic scene in 'Circe' when Stephen is upbraided by his mother’s apparition in the brothel she says to him: Prayer is allpowerful. Prayer for the suffering souls in the Ursuline manual and forty days' indulgence... [read on]

The Lady Freemason and the clock

It is generally accepted now that in 1712 Elizabeth Aldworth witnessed a Masonic meeting in her father’s house unintentionally, and had to join the Lodge on being discovered, when she tried to beat a hasty retreat. [more]