Man in the macintosh

Like the never-quite-real Martha Clifford introduced in Lotus Eaters, the mysterious stranger that Bloom spots in the cemetery––"that lankylooking galoot over there in the macintosh"––never quite becomes a known person. He appears in two more chapters and is mentioned in another six (in the second half of the novel, every chapter but Penelope), but the air of mystery surrounding him remains. Joyce made the man a puzzle, larding him with enough intriguing details to send readers off in search of his identity. As Joycean puzzles go it is an unusually difficult one, and some critics have judged it to be insoluble. This may be so, but no one should jump to such a conclusion hastily, since Joyce's obscure clues usually lead somewhere. In this case he supplied an extraordinary number and wove them together in precise patterns, using details in one chapter to buttress impressions created in another. Whether or not he had a name in mind, he seems to have labored to create a coherent picture of someone. One critic has advanced strong arguments that this someone is the ghost of Bloom's father.

John Hunt 2022

British officer in a macintosh, publication venue and date unknown.

Ad for a gentleman's macintosh in the 1893 catalogue of Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co., by an unknown illustrator. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Uncaptioned illustration, presumably of Dusty Rhodes and presumably published in Illustrated Chips. Source:

Quantitative analysis of ingredients in meat broths in The Chemistry of Food and Nutrition, by A. W. Duncan (1905). Source:

1892 ad for Bovril. Source:

Ghost of Hamlet's father rising through a trap door in Janet Suzman's 2006 Stratford-upon-Avon production. Source:

1843 print by illustrator George Cruikshank showing Hamlet's ghost being lifted through the trap door while two beaters supply sound effects.

IIlustration from 2016 edition of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White by Victoria Semykina. Source: