Eumaeus is the first of two chapters in which Stephen and Bloom finally spend time alone together, after several glancing encounters earlier in the book. The chapter evokes the scenes in which Telemachus and Odysseus converge on a pig-keeper's hut after their separate wandering adventures, joining forces to return to the palace and slaughter the suitors. But Joyce comically subverts the narrative archetype. Bloom little resembles the strong, wily Odysseus, and Stephen responds to his overtures of friendship very grudgingly. Another possible Odysseus-figure enters the story in the form of an old seaman recently landed in Dublin, but he does nothing of consequence, and everything is narrated in prose so stumbling and digressive that readers can hardly imagine anything heroic happening. At the end of the chapter, though, after so many deflations of the epic model, Stephen lets Bloom escort him to his home, and he seems to be warming to him. Eumaeus finally validates Bloom's own sense of his heroism.

John Hunt 2023

Telemachus and Odysseus in the house of Eumaeus by an unknown artist, printed in volume 4 of the William Cullen Bryant translation of the Odyssey published in 1905. Source:

The cabman's shelter on the edge of Beresford Place, seen amid a sea of protestors in a 1917 Keogh Brothers Ltd. photograph held in the National Library of Ireland. Source:

The cabman's shelter in the 1950s. Source: Tindall, The Joyce Country.

A three-master called Queen Elizabeth on the Dublin quays ca. 1900, in a photograph held in the National Library of Ireland. Source:

More sailing ships moored to the southern quays, in a photograph held in the Dublin City Libraries. Source: