Venereal disease

The recruiting poster for the Royal Dublins that Bloom sees on a wall of the post office makes him think of "an army rotten with venereal disease." The efforts of people like Maud Gonne and Arthur Griffith to get British soldiers off the streets at night may have overhyped this rallying cry, but it is a fact that Dublin brothels and streetwalkers did a brisk trade in servicing servicemen. And Bloom's thoughts throughout the day suggest that venereal diseases from gonorrhea to syphilis were widespread in the city.

JH 2013

Photograph of sex workers in the Monto district (Joyce's "Nighttown"), date unknown. Source: www.pinterest.com.