Into a nutshell

Joyce makes sly comedy out of Deasy's longwinded letter, which takes its dilatory, desultory time to get to the point. The schoolmaster says that "I have put the matter into a nutshell," but Stephen has to wade through a paragraph or two of unrelated concerns before reading, "To come to the point at issue." After such an opening, Deasy's pride in his epistolary economy is amusing: "I don't mince words, do I?" The word "nutshell" makes it tempting to hear an allusion to Shakespeare's Polonius in this passage.

John Hunt 2012

Oliver Ford Davies playing Polonius. Source: