Matcham's Masterstroke

The prize-winning Titbits story that Bloom reads as he sits on the toilet, "Matcham's Masterstroke," strikes him as "Neat certainly. Matcham often thinks of the masterstroke by which he won the laughing witch who now. Begins and ends morally. Hand in hand. Smart." In defining the story through these details, Joyce revisited a story he himself had submitted to Titbits when he was younger. His revision benefits not only from radical cutting but also from two allusions––to an Irish saying, and to Milton's Paradise Lost––that evoke the difficulty and the promise of the Blooms' marital situation. The last three sentences in particular represent a brilliant summary of what Milton does with the image of holding hands.

John Hunt 2022

William Blake's 1808 pen and watercolor drawing of Adam and Eve sleeping. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

William Blake's 1808 pen and watercolor drawing of Satan watching Adam and Eve embrace. Source: Wikimedia Commons.