Stephen says bitterly, "It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked lookingglass of a servant." M. H. Abrams showed in a classic study that mirrors have long been regarded as symbols of art conceived classically as a faithful mimetic representation of external reality. Stephen's characterization of the mirror seems to suggest that faithful representation of reality is difficult within the confines of colonial subjection.

JH 2011

M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (1953).

Stuart Gilbert, James Joyce's Ulysses: A Study (1930)