Almost human

Figure of speech. Listening to the sounds in the printing press room, Bloom thinks "Sllt. Almost human the way it sllt to call attention. Doing its level best to speak. That door too sllt creaking, asking to be shut. Everything speaks in its own way. Sllt." Later in Aeolus this principle is put into dramatic action when some dental floss speaks a line of dialogue, and Mr. O'Madden Burke uses it narratively to tell an allegory of Youth and Experience. Most of us today know the principle as personification or impersonation; ancient rhetoricians called it prosopopoeia, a device whereby the speaker adopts the voice of absent persons or inanimate objects. 

John Hunt 2023


Randolph Caldecott's pen and ink, gouache, and watercolor illustration of "And the dish ran away with the spoon", in the book Hey Diddle Diddle and Bye, Baby Bunting (Routledge, 1882). Source: Wikimedia Commons.