Mistaken identity

As the constables arrest Bloom in Circe, he claims that he has been confused with someone else: "Mistaken identity. The Lyons mail. Lesurques and Dubosc. You remember the Childs fratricide case. We medical men. By striking him dead with a hatchet. I am wrongfully accused. Better one guilty escape than ninety-nine wrongfully condemned." Life here imitates art, which imitates life: a play performed in London in the late 1870s presented the real-life story of a French man who was wrongfully accused of a crime, condemned, and executed. And Bloom's protestation closely echoes Stephen's paranoia in Proteus.

John Hunt and Senan Molony 2021

Program for Henry Irving's 1900 revival of The Lyons Mail at the Lyceum Theatre, London. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

1870s postcard, colorized by Senan Molony, showing Henry Irving as both Lesurques and Dubosc in the London production. Source: Senan Molony.