Blazes Boylan

The name of the man who will cuckold Bloom comes up twice in Calypso, when Bloom scans Milly's letter and sees the words "Blazes Boylan's seaside girls" and moments later when he asks Molly who her letter is from: "— O, Boylan, she said. He's bringing the programme." This man, called "Hugh E. (Blazes) Boylan" in Ithaca, pops up in conversation and in person far more often than Bloom would like on June 16. He is a promoter of various business ventures, including the concert tour in which Molly will be singing in a few weeks. His clearest real-life model, a Dubliner named Augustus Boylan, was himself a singer, but Joyce appears to have conceived the character very freely, drawing on other people and adding other properties: a criminally entrepreneurial father, a taste for showy clothes, a large sexual appetite and a member to match, and enough outgoing confident energy to justify puns on blazing and boiling.

John Hunt 2022

Augustus Boylan in a detail of a photographic portrait with John McCormack taken ca. 1904. Source:

Larger detail of the same photograph, showing McCormack on the left.

An indigo serge suit. Source:

Three men in straw boater hats in the 1920s. Source:

David Bowie in a straw boater hat. Source: