In Telemachus Stephen says to Mulligan, "You saved men from drowning. I'm not a hero, however."  Drawing on a real-life difference between Joyce and Oliver Gogarty, the novel returns repeatedly to the theme of rescuing another life, beginning with Stephen's meditations in Proteus on whether he could ever be capable of such a thing: "He saved men from drowning and you shake at a cur's yelping. . . . Would you do what he did? A boat would be near, a lifebuoy. Natürlich, put there for you. Would you or would you not?"

JH 2011

Ulick O'Connor, Oliver St. John Gogarty: A Poet and His Times (1963).