Nameless one

The first word of Cyclops comes as a shock. With no indication of quotation, the chapter begins, "I was just passing the time of day with old Troy of the D. M. P." All preceding chapters have been narrated in the third person, but now the telling is hijacked by a fictive character, an aggressively mean-spirited barhound. His stream of palaver is entertaining (hilarious when read by Stephen Rea!), but readers learn little more about him than that he is a "Collector of bad and doubtful debts," and he never receives a name. Joyce underlines the anonymity by bringing him back in Circe as "THE NAMELESS ONE." Intriguingly, this is the title of a poem that he loved to recite, written by a 19th century Irish poet whom he greatly admired.

John Hunt 2023

Drawing by Levi Weinhagen. Source:

Stephen Rea reading extracts from Cyclops in Chicago in 2012.

Oliver Sheppard bust of James Clarence Mangan on St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, in a 2005 photograph by Storkk. Source: Wikimedia Commons.