Alive all the time

As the gravediggers start to bury Paddy Dignam's coffin under "heavy clods of clay," Bloom thinks, "And if he was alive all the time? Whew! By jingo, that would be awful! No, no: he is dead, of course. Of course he is dead. Monday he died. They ought to have some law to pierce the heart and make sure or an electric clock or a telephone in the coffin and some kind of a canvas airhole. Flag of distress." Bloom's alarm, and his proposed remedies, are not peculiar to him. They were a pronounced cultural phenomenon in the Victorian era.

JH 2021

The Premature Burial, 1854 oil on canvas painting by Antoine Wiertz. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Franz Vester's Improved Burial-Case, recipient of U.S. Patent no. 81,437 issued on 25 August 1868. Source: Wikimedia Commons.