Mother Slipperslapper

In Hades Bloom imagines that women tending to a corpse would "Slop about in slipperslappers for fear he'd wake." In Circe Zoe calls Bella Cohen "Mother Slipperslapper," and later in that chapter a "woman's slipperslappers" are among the items flung at Bloom as he flees the whorehouse. Clearly the reference is to flimsy slip-on house shoes, but this word appears in no dictionary I have consulted. The name Mother Slipperslapper suggests that Joyce must have taken it from an old English folk song called The Fox, or A Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night. If Bloom is thinking of this song in Hades, he is, very typically, keeping dismal adult facts of life at bay with the childish play of nursery rhymes.

JH 2020

Amanda Powell and Apollo's Fire performing The Fox on 30 October 2015. Source:

The Petersens performing The Fox on 22 August 2019. Source:

Sheet music of The Fox, with the American variant, Flipper-Flopper. Source:

The Irish Rovers performing Finnegans Wake. Source: