Simon Dedalus

Joyce conceived Stephen Dedalus as a fictional persona for himself and created Stephen's father, Simon Dedalus, in the image of his own father, John Stanislaus Joyce. Simon plays a mid-sized role in Ulysses, appearing in a handful of chapters and receiving mention in many others. Stephen keeps his distance from his charming ne'er-do-well progenitor throughout the book, charting his own dissolute course and brooding on metaphoric conceptions of paternity (spiritual, artistic) that make readers wonder whether Leopold Bloom might become a surrogate parent to him. But John Joyce does not enter the novel only as a failed parent. As his son acknowledged to friends after his death in 1931, he inspired much of the book's humor and its extravagant flair for story-telling. Simon's accomplishments also include a glorious singing voice, a gift for memorable witticisms, and a large circle of friends and acquaintances. The many companions may well be the largest contribution that John Stanislaus made to his son's book. James left Ireland in 1904, at the age of 22. The gregarious male society he portrays in Ulysses is mainly his father's.

John Hunt 2023

John Stanislaus Joyce, father of James, in an oil portrait painted by Patrick Tuohy in 1923. Source:

Gisèle Freund's 1938 photograph of Joyce with his son Giorgio and grandson Stephen, sitting under Tuohy's portrait of John Joyce. Source: Gisèle Freund and V. B. Carleton, James Joyce in Paris: His Final Years.