Molly’s doggery-woggery

U 18.613-17: my dearest Doggerina she wrote on what she was very nice whats this her other name was just a p c to tell you I sent the little present have just had a jolly warm bath and feel a very clean dog now enjoyed it wogger she called him wogger wd give anything to be back in Gib

U 18.634-5: yes he used to break his heart at me taking off the dog barking in bell lane poor brute and it sick what became of them ever I suppose theyre dead long ago the 2 of them

Don Gifford (Ulysses Annotated) reads "wogger" as "uncomplimentary English slang for an Arab or dark-skinned person". Joyce implies that young Molly hears Mrs Stanhope call her husband by this epithet around 1884/5. But this is a usage for which even the base form ("wog") is not recorded until 1921 (Lionel James, History of King Edward’s Horse, p. 188), only one year before the publication of Ulysses.

But the context clearly suggests that we do not need such a drastic anachronism to make sense of the word. It simply derives from an elaboration of the word ‘dog’ as a term of endearment.

Mrs Stanhope addresses Molly as “dearest Doggerina” and her husband was on one occasion “taking off a dog barking in bell lane” (on Gibraltar, not Dublin, as Gifford misleadingly suggests). So obviously dogs were involved in naming and fooling around among Molly and her friends.

The dog/wog connection was well established before Joyce "created" "Doggerina" and "wogger", as these examples show:

Are we not cross, old dog-sey wog-sey, very cross and snappish?

Christian World Magazine (1866) June, p. 429

[...] at present she was employing a local artist to paint her two pet pugs.

To which Miss Pemberton — that Nannie — who was hugging one of the pugs in question, added with a laugh, "Yes, and he was a wog, a wog, a wog!"

Belgravia (1887) vol. 61, p. 80

"Tell me what it is, you dear dog-wog," she said, patting his head. He turned his eyes to the sky, threw back his head, and gave a short exultant bark.

Margaret Bloodgood Peeke Vestal: or, The problem of vibrations (1893), ch. 9, p. 148

And we find them both united in this source:

How could Caruso know that it was only dear, fat, lazy, old Mr. Dogger Wogger, who had oceans of cat friends that knew him to be perfectly kind and harmless?

Mary Shaw Attwood Adventures of six little pussycats (1915), ch. 4, p. 34

and "Wogger" in this one:

"Wogger", the bulldog, is also a favourite, and the sporting terrier, the spaniel puppy, and even the alleged griffon, take their share of public favour.

Wilfrid Theodore Blake Plane tales from the skies (1918), p. 137

Harald Beck

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