Into a nutshell

Joyce makes sly comedy out of the longwinded letter, which takes its dilatory, desultory time to get to the point. "I have put the matter into a nutshell," Deasy says, 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 quite funny: "— I don't mince words, do I? Mr Deasy asked as Stephen read on." The word "nutshell" makes it tempting to hear an allusion to Shakespeare's Polonius in this passage.

JH 2012

Oliver Ford Davies playing Polonius. Source: