Quaker librarian

Thomas W. Lyster, "the quaker librarian," was an actual Dubliner who served as director of the National Library from 1895 to 1920. At the time represented in the novel he was 49 years old. In 1883 Lyster published a scholarly translation of Heinrich Düntzer’s Life of Goethe—hence the reference that Joyce's character makes to Wilhelm Meister and the truth of "Goethe's judgments" at the beginning of Scylla and Charybdis. His highminded spiritualism flags him as an argumentative antagonist for Stephen, though he never opposes the young man's assertions.

JH 2016

Thomas W. Lyster at his desk in the director's office of the National Library, in 1897. Source: www.nli.ie.

Pencil drawing of T. W. Lyster by John B. Yeats, held in the National Library of Ireland. Source: digital.nli.ie.