Lestrygonians

Episode 8, called "Lestrygonians" in Joyce's schemas, presents a relatively straightforward response to a short passage in Homer's Odyssey. Having left the newspaper offices at about 1:00, Bloom strolls southward down O'Connell, Westmoreland, and Grafton Streets and then heads east along Duke and Molesworth Streets to end up at the National Museum on Kildare Street. He is hungry. The chapter begins with him pausing at a candy shop, taking in its smells. As he walks on he sees famished people, and people selling food. Eventually he finds a place to have lunch, after being nauseated by the ambience of the first restaurant he enters. Inspired by the Homeric analogue, the chapter's prose relentlessly throws up figures of food, hunger, eating, digestion, excretion, baiting, feeding, killing, and cannibalism. Reflecting on food's passage down the alimentary canal (echoed by his own long passage down urban corridors hemmed in by large buildings, at the end of which he will search for a statue's anus), Bloom thinks also of time's passage and the changes it wreaks in human lives.

JH 2020

Stephen Crowe's giclée print illustration of Lestrygonians for a de Selby Press edition of Ulysses, date unknown. Source: invisibledot.storenvy.com.

Fourth panel of the Odyssey Landscapes painting, ca. 60-40 BCE, held in the Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

  Modern rendering of the Roman painting in an illustration in C. Andrä's German-language Greek Heroic Stories for Young Readers (Berlin, 1902). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Detail of 1920 Bartholomew map of Dublin with overlays showing the course of Bloom's walk in Lestrygonians (blue), Lemon's candy store (red), Burton's restaurant (orange), Davy Byrne's pub (green), and the National Museum (purple). Source: John Hunt.