Leopold Bloom

Joyce continued the story of Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses, but his persona had exhausted its potential. He needed a more adult protagonist, someone open to registers of experience that Stephen could not accommodate. The Homeric design of his new novel encouraged him to create such a person, "many-minded," practical, tested by adversity. He found his Ulysses in the man he called "Mr Leopold Bloom." Bloom too is autobiographical in many ways, the self-expression of an older James Joyce. But in many other ways he represents a leap outside of the artist's personality, an effort to sympathetically inhabit different registers of human existence. Several Jewish men appear to have contributed details to the portrait.

JH 2018

Joyce's quick pencil sketch of Leopold Bloom, executed in 1926, with the first line of Homer's Odyssey: "Tell me, Muse, of that manyminded man, who wandered far and wide." Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Richard Hamilton's image of Bloom, made on paper in the 1980s by soft-ground etching, roulette, engraving and aquatint, held by the Art Institute of Chicago. Source: www.artic.edu.

Novelist and businessman Ettore Schmitz, a.k.a. Italo Svevo, in a portrait of unknown date. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Ettore Schmitz in his later years. Source: Source: pushkinpress.com.

Photographic portrait, date unknown, of a man who may be either Albert or Mendal Altman (family opinion is divided). Source: jamesjoyce.ie.

1913 photograph of George Holbrook Jackson taken by Alvin Langdon Coburn, first published in Coburn's More Men of Mark (Knopf, 1922). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The photographic portrait of Jackson smoking a pipe that Sylvia Beach showed to Joyce and published in her book. Source: Vincent Altman O'Connor.

John Martin-Harvey in a photographic portrait from the early 1900s. Source: Wikimedia Commons.