The Ithaca episode of Ulysses is made up of separate, and separated, items and contains many dead pan enumerations and in many respects in itself constitutes a catalogue. But the word itself only occurs as a verb, and an imperative at that: “Catalogue these books”, and Bloom’s small library is given in detailed, even pedantic bibliography. It begins, appropriately with a book that consists of nothing but lists, Thom’s Dublin Post Office Directory (U17.1361). In its wake The Useful Ready Reckoner contains money calculations, that is to say nothing but numbers. No one would ever read these two books, they are catalogues in their purest form, informative and certainly not entertaining. The following sketch tries to demonstrate how Joyce manages to make his multifarious catalogues both informative and diverting. Such a probe could become the subject of a systematic thesis, but only a few pointers are attempted in the following random remarks.(1)
As it happens, Ulysses was the first modern novel to be turned into a mere list of its words. Hanley’s Word Index is a concordance of all the words in Ulysses that occur more than 25 times. It treated a prose work the way that before only classics or major poetry had been dignified with. In later years all of Joyce’s works have been transformed into alphabetic word lists, concordances or handlists. Incidentally, the best support to our understanding of Joyce is still the comprehensive list of words that we call Dictionary.
Catalogues are a standard feature of traditional epics. The catalogue of Ships in the Iliad is perhaps the best known instance. In this respect, like many others, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are epics in which at times catalogues usurp and thereby stop the narrative. As indicated an episode like Ithaca not only contains many lists but in itself comes closest to parcelling out the events or reflections in neat questions and answers, independent units that might, in theory, be rearranged. Similarly II,5 of Finnegans Wake is made up of twelve numbered questions whose answers can again proliferate into lists, for example the snowballing and in part highly implausible attributes of Finn MacCool (FW126–39).
Joyce’s works tend to contain more catalogues as they become increasingly complex. Often they were added in constant revisions. One reason may just be that catalogues can be expanded without elaborate textual surgery, more items can be added almost ad libitum; this is what Joyce manifestly did with Ithaca. Classical scholars suspected that the Athenian contingent in the ships’ catalogue in the Iliad (Il. 2:3436ff.) were added later for patriotic reasons. In revising Ulysses at the last moment a few additions came too late for inclusion, like “Boris Hupinkoff” who is only to be found in Hans Walter Gabler’s “Corrected Text” (U12.566) and not in any of the previous editions.
In Greek a katologos could be a record, a list or else a whole tale; the verb katalegein served for mere enumeration as well as for exhaustive reports. The two activities are intimately related and at times hard to separate. Bloom for example registers a short and boring tale, M’Coy’s “— I was with Bob Doran, he’s on one of his periodical bends, and what do you call him Bantam Lyons. Just down there in Conway’s we were”, into a terse “Doran Lyons in Conway’s” in mental shorthand (U5.107). We can see the “Overture”, as it is often called, of Sirens as a sketchy form of what is to come, or else as an abbreviated though fairly complete narrative, even if the action can hardly be extricated from the jumble of motifs. In this perspective, the action is told twice, one in abbreviated and distorted form, and then in expansive orchestration. Or else the overture serves as a sort of embroidered contents page, jottings of what is to follow, in its warped nature however more puzzling than informative.
“When I was in Thom’s”
A book like Ulysses has many sources: imagination, Joyce’s life and surroundings, literary and other prototypes (Shakespeare, Flaubert), popular culture, music hall, newspapers, but also catalogues, notably those in Thom’s Dublin Post Office Directory, no doubt the bulkiest book in Bloom’s library (U17.1361). This annual compendium, of more than 2200 pages in small print, provided the statistics of the British Empire and in its second part dealt with Ireland and, in particular, Dublin. It forced all of the city into chronological, alphabetic or random lists, its institutions, shops, the inhabitants, the clergy, the streets, and even Dublin’s history in temporal arrangement, the “Dublin Annals”. Joyce certainly lifted the dates about the year 1904, “golden number 5, epact 13, solar cycle 9, dominical letters C B, Roman indiction 2, Julian period 6617, MCMIV” (U17.97), straight from page  in Thom’s. Or rather, not quite straight, for what Joyce actually wrote was not “indiction”, the technical term, but “indication”, just as he inserted the wrong Roman number “MXMIV”. Gabler’s Synoptic and Danis Rose’s Reader’s Edition took these errors to be authorial inadvertences in need of tacit rectification. Some names of Bloom’s early Jewish friends, Mastiansky, Moisel, Citron (U4.205–9, can be found in Thom’s under street names in the old Jewish area of Dublin. They are more likely to originate in Thom’s since historians in the meantime have found out that Joyce knew very little of the Jewish community, which was mainly of Lithuanian descent and would hardly have accepted a Hungarian agnostic with a semi-Spanish wife. What Joyce knew about Jews mainly came from Trieste. In such a situation a book with addresses would come in all the more helpful. As it happens, and as though in acknowledgement, Joyce also gave Bloom temporary employment in Thom’s (“in Thom’s … when I was there … late of Messrs Alexander Thom’s … the mistake about the valuation when I was in Thom’s” (7.224, 8.157, 12.1817; 13.1126).
Even so, how can we know that Joyce, with a family in tow, carried such a heavy tome all the way to Trieste, Zürich or Paris, where it was unlikely to be found in local libraries? No-one ever pointed out such a conspicuous book in of Joyce’s apartments, not even the observing Frank Budgen, and one might hardly fit the weighty and voluminous (14 x 23 x 10 cm) into the limited space of a few suitcases in wartime. That Joyce used Thom’s (and it is hard to imagine he could do without it) is circumstantial. One indication that Joyce did in fact copy from Thom’s is a mistake of Tom Kernan’s company, “Pulbrook, Robertson & Co, … 5 Dame street, Dublin” (U17.1981). The tea company was actually located at no 43 Dame Street, but the building consisted of so many numbered offices that the firm’s number 5 might easily be confused with the number of house. Danis Rose again sets matters right and places the company at no 43. Ian Gunn, Clive Hart and Harald Beck’s Joyce’s Dublin: A Topographical Guide to the Dublin of Ulysses, deals with such matters. It partly translates the novel into a geographical catalogue and, as it happens, is one of the most useful reference books that we have.
Thom’s Directory was one major source among many. Oddly enough an epic like Ulysses could be constructed from classics of the European tradition, in part works that were intimately known, closely studied and often in part learnt by heart. At the other end of the spectrum books were used that no-one ever thought of scanning from cover to cover, catalogues that are unread and only consulted for certain occasions. A few lists, notably the one listing clergyman at a meeting, which will come in for separate treatment below, could have been culled from Thom’s.
Joyce also worked from his own abundant notes, many of which have been preserved. They were gleaned from odd sources, often recondite books or newspapers. They often are random lists, words or phrases or ideas worth recording that could serve as building blocks or inspiration. They became indispensable catalogues or quarries though in the complex textual evolution many items moved far away from their original anchorage. Several teams of devoted researchers show how jumbled notebook entries were slowly metamorphosed into what, via Work in Progress, became Finnegans Wake.
No taxonomy is envisaged here, but one might roughly distinguish delimited or closed catalogues from integrated or open ones. The delimited, or boxed, ones have their area staked out, with a clear focus. They stand out as separate units and may complete or interrupt a text, in narrative halts. They impose order and clarity and tend to exclude extraneous or digressive matter. A heading may precede them, like a question in Ithaca. They are thus isolated from the surrounding passages. A list of the mourners at a funeral implies that all the participants are included in so far as they are known and so they can all be reassembled again later. The “several members” who had been at the funeral are: “Martin Cunningham (in bed), Jack Power (in bed), …” all the way to “ … Paddy Dignam (in the grave)” (U17.1235). It remains undecided whether Bloom’s companions actually are in the bed or if Bloom just imagines they are. The budget of a day should be complete, and the one that passes through Bloom’s mind (and which of course is not written down) should contain every relevant item. This particular budget (U17.1455) is complete in itself, in the sense that debits and credits tally at the bottom line, but it appears that not all expenses that occur elsewhere are included, so the budget is flawed and thereby incites comment and editorial interference. Departures from the norm prove the inherent rule. But the budget, whatever its contents, is visibly set off from the surrounding text.
Mr Deasy’s question whether Stephen can say “I paid my way” engenders an interior catalogue, in the separate box of a paragraph:
The list no doubt informs us of debts and of Stephen’s having his way paid by supportive friends. It may also throw doubt on whether Stephen (“I paid the rent”, U1.631) would really have advanced funds towards a prolonged residence with Buck Mulligan. If we read that the “secondhand breeks” which “fit well enough” (U1.113) indicate that Stephen is also wearing trousers lent by Mulligan, the list is not complete but made up in passing.
A register of debts fits well into a chapter devoted to History as some of the earliest written documents are often commercial lists of goods supplied and debts. Remarkable exploits were remembered in prosodic poetry and orally transmitted, but commerce relies on accurate, written documents. In the library George Russell dismisses “the poet’s debts” as not artistically relevant, and records of what artists owed are often extant, like the proverbial tailor’s bills.
Nestor contains a list of famous “vanished horses” framed around the walls of Deasy’s office. “… lord Hasting’s Repulse, the duke of Westminster’s Shotover, the duke of Beaufort’s Ceylon, prix de Paris, 1866” (U2.300). The short roll call of equine heroes bears testimony to Deasy’s British and aristocratic leanings and would hardly be exciting (except possibly for historians of the racetrack), yet the mention of a Grand Prix de Paris hints at classical vibrations. The prize, or bribe, given to Paris, prince of Troy in a divine beauty contest, was Helen, the most beautiful woman. She is prominent in a list that Deasy soon after offers to explain what went wrong in history. His fourfold catalogue of women causing evil starts with Eve, who “brought sin into the world”, then moves on to “Helen, the runaway wife of Menelaus”, and by way of the Norman invasion of Ireland (“A faithless wife first brought the strangers to our shore here, MacMurrough’s wife and her leman O’Rourke, prince of Breffni”), Deasy arrives at the last of them, “A woman too brought Parnell low” (U2.390). This amounts to History, from Genesis to almost the present, in nutshell prejudice: Cherchez la femme! The facts may not quite conform but the pattern is neat.
The open or integrated, or embedded catalogues do not stand out from their context and may even have to be extricated from it or they turn into random excrescences. They may merge into the third person narrative or interior monologue process and may not be clearly set apart, or they simply trail off. No clear line of course can be drawn. Two items can amount to a list, “Shapely goddesses, Venus, Juno: curves the world admires” (U8.920). Bloom is introduced by a list of peculiar food preferences: “He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes”. One might consider the sentence immediately following the conclusion of the list, since the last item often tends to be longer or more conspicuous: “Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine” (U4.2). Few readers would expect, of all things, a tang of urine in a palate. If the previous sentence with its consonant clusters (they cannot be easy on, say, an Italian tongue) is spoken aloud, the tongue has to move about a lot in the palate as though in imitation of the deglutition that is suggested. The initial list is echoed in abbreviated from in Sirens” “As said before he ate with relish the inner organs, nutty gizzards, fried cods’ roes” (U11.519). As it happens, Bloom’s exit is also close to a pure list of variations: “With Sinbad the Sailor and Tinbad the Tailor and Jinbad the Jailer and Whinbad the Whaler … and Xinbad the Phtailer” (U17.2321).
When Bloom, flustered by the sight of an approaching Boylan, deviates to the National Museum in Kildare Street and hides his embarrassment by searching his pockets his belongings are enumerated with internal comments: “Try all pockets. Handker. Freeman. Where did I? Ah, yes, Trousers. Potato. Purse. Where?” (U8.1188). Within the framework of listing the contents of his pockets “Where did I? Ah, yes, Trousers” translates into the key which he does not have in his funeral trousers. “God wants blood victim”, Bloom thinks and instances follow: “Birth, hymen, martyr, war, foundation of a building, sacrifice, kidney burntoffering, druids’ altars” (U8.11). In one respect it does not matter whether all the items listed are in fact connected with blood, they are also conjoined by vague similarities.
Bloom’s off the cuff roll call of famous Jews is slightly off target when “Mendelssohn” is followed by Karl Marx and Mercadante and Spinoza” (U12.1804). Spinoza was excommunicated from the Jewish community; Marx abandoned his faith and even showed traits of anti-Semitism. To cite Karl Marx in conservative and Catholic Dublin of 1904 would not have the desired effect. Mercadante seems due to an earlier confusion with Meyerbeer. So Bloom’s ad hoc case for the defence would backfire in any trial. Lists, in other words, are apt to go astray.
All episodes have lists, most of all Cyclops, Circe and Ithaca. For obvious reasons, the breathless sweep of Molly’s monologue formally excludes framed catalogues, in marked contradistinction to Ithaca. Molly runs through her husband’s occupations: “he puts his big foot in it Thoms and Helys and Mr Cuffes and Drimmies either hes going to be run into prison …” (U18.1223). In the flow of associations no structural control can be exerted for long. The odd name of Dedalus leads her to “those names in Gibraltar Delapaz Delagracia they had the devils queer names there father Vilaplana of Santa Maria that gave me the rosary Rosales OReilly in the Calle las Siete Revueltas and Pisimbo and Mrs Opisso in Governor street O what a name Id go and drown myself in the first river if I had a name like her O my…” (U18.1463). Thoughts are wayward and tangential; in particular “Psisimbo and Mrs Opisso” with the one perilous syllable call up a river. As it happens the “absurd … ancient Greek” name of Stephen Dedalus (U1.34) is de-Hellenized by being brought in line with the Spanish “De”-pattern. In this way Molly Bloom brings Stephen Dedalus, and a potential liaison, closer to her own origins. She has a way of assimilating Greek words, as in “Met him pike hoses” or by savouring the first part of “Arsenic” as English (“I wonder why they call it that”, U18.240). She also un-lists or de-catalogues the mode of Ithaca.
Lists may not even be intended as such, as in interior monologue, whose associative and digressive nature does not favour any given thematic line (even many of the Ithacan lists contain an element of interfering free association). In Proteus Stephen Dedalus is watching two women coming nearer in Proteus and somehow drifts into a cluster of femininity:
Facets of Womanhood are dispersed, mother, midwife, relict (an old and originally respectable word for a widow), bride, sister, nun (by implication). “Bride street” does not refer to a bride but to Saint Bride or Bridget, so a Celtic saint is added gratuitously The paragraph leads to the Ur-mother Eve. In this framework, the odd German term “Frauenzimmer” is like a heading for Womanhood. The German word fits well into an episode of changes. It originally meant the room (Zimmer) for women, afterwards became a collective for them, then was narrowed down to one individual. In the 18th century it was a perfectly honourable term but in recent times is has acquired a ridiculous or even disdainful air. It is the sort of quaint word that Stephen Dedalus seems to treasure. Its appearance, literally a room, contradicts its meaning, a person.
A few chapter peculiarities affect the catalogues they contain. The less the realism of earlier chapters is supplemented, or replaced, by metatextual elements, narrative experiments or self-reflection, the more it features catalogues.
Aeolus is the first episode that departs visibly from a narrative norm that emerged in the preceding six chapters, intrusive headings subdivide the ongoing action. They amount to a series of possible titles. Right at the outset we find trams that start south “for Blackrock, Kingtown and Dalkey, Clonskea …”. Such destinations frame the episode. Towards the end the trams bound for “Rathmines, Rathfarnham, Blackrock, Kingstown and Dalkey …” are immobile due to a “short circuit”. (U7.1,1044). Such and other lists, like “sacks of letters, postcards, lettercards, parcels, insured and paid, for local, provincial, British and overseas delivery” (U7.17), are inventories of urban or institutional reality.
Aeolus is a pointedly collective episode: many characters intersect, some never to be heard of again. It is an episode of crossroads. Bloom’s ad for Alexander Keyes with its crossed keys may be expressive. The focus is on an “OMNIUM GATHERUM” which is spelled out: “All the talents … Law, the classics … The turf … Literature, the press, … The gentle art of advertisement:” (U7.604)
A flowery speech like Dan Dawson’s which is read out in part is not a catalogue, but is made up of stereotypes that can be aligned and, in part, almost predicted: “the meanderings of some purling rill … tumbling waters of Neptune’s blue domain …” (U7.243). The ever jocular Lenehan offers a list of near synonyms: “Reflect, ponder, excogitate, reply” (U7.514). The Hagadah book that Bloom remembers has its own alignments.” And then the lamb and the cat and the dog and the stick and the water and the butcher. And then the angel of death kills the butcher and he kills the ox and the dog kills the cat” (U7.210).
As it happens, Joyce with Stuart Gilbert extracted a list of (potentially all) rhetorical tropes in the episode; it is now conveniently assembled in the Appendix of Rhetorical Figures in Gifford (635–43). In their listings the Hagadah passage (“the lamb and the cat …”) is termed “Climax: arrangement of words, phrases, clauses in order of increasing importance”; the listing in “OMNIUM GATHERUM” is dignified by “Synathroesmus”, an accumulation by enumeration. Whether these ultimately authorial labels are to be taken at face value or not, they show at any rate that catalogues in various shapes were part of the traditional oratorical stock in trade. In fact these tropes with often overlapping labels were handed down in the form of catalogues.
Even Stephen’s impromptu story of the two women climbing up Nelson’s Pillar is retrospectively graced with three possible titles: “Deus nobis haec otia fecit”, “A Pisgah Sight of Palestine”, and “The Parable of the Plums” (U7.1056). This triad comprises, incidentally, the sources of western culture as they pervade Ulysses, the classical antiquity alongside the Hebrew and Christian roots. According to these categories the tale is open to interpretations from any of those three angles.
“They come trooping” (U14.1091)
The Oxen of the Sun episode has its own quota of enumerations. One reads like a checklist of Noah’s ark: “Elk and yak, the bulls of Bashan and of Babylon, mammoth and mastodon, they come trooping … horned and capricorned, the trumpeted with the tusked, the lionmaned, the giantantlered, snouter and crawler, rodent, ruminant and pachyderm, all their moving moaning multitude” (U14.1090–95).
The changing period styles of Oxen of the Sun are almost united in a nearly compulsive tendency to group items, from the “greatest doctors” of bygone Ireland: “the O’Shiels, the O’Hickeys, the O’Lees” (U14.37) to elaborations like “Every phase of the situation was successively eviscerated: the prenatal repugnance of uterine brothers, the Caesarean section, posthumity with respect to the father and, that rarer form, with respect to the mother, the fratricidal case known as the Childs Murder …, the rights of primogeniture and king's bounty touching twins and triplets, miscarriages and infanticides, …, acardiac foetus in foetu and aprosopia due to a congestion, the agnathia of certain chinless Chinamen …, the benefits of anaesthesia or twilight sleep, the prolongation of labour pains in advanced gravidancy by reason of a presure of the vein, the premature relentment of the amniotic fluid (…) …, artificial insemination by means of syringes, involu¬tion of the womb …, the problem of the perpetration of the species in the case of females impregnated by delinquent rape, that distressing manner of delivery called the Brandenburghers Sturzgeburt, the recorded instances of multiseminal, twikindled and monstrous births conceived during the catamenic period or of con¬san¬guineous parents – in a word all the cases of human nativity which Aristotle has classified in his masterpiece with chromolithographic illustrations” (U14.955-77). Perhaps such swelling passages may help to stimulate a process of growing.
The episode, like much of Ulysses, is a Carlylean “hoary pandemonium”, in this case “of ills, enlarged glands, mumps, quinsy, bunions, hayfever, bedsores, ringworm, floating kidney, Derbyshire neck, warts, bilious attacks, gallstones, cold feet, varicose veins” (U14.1424). Its coda lists what might be picked up aurally from a welter of heterogeneous voices, and it sports, for example, alternate forms of stating insolvency — “Proud possessor of damnall. Declare misery. Bet to the ropes. Me nantee saltee. Not a red at me this week gone” (U14.1465).
One trademark of the episode is a series of roll calls of the men assembled in the Maternity Hospital, they vary in accordance with the presiding style of each paragraph. In the manner of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur the list is elaborated by explanatory tags:
A Bunyanesque type of summary has only a selection: “So were all in their their blind fancy, Mr Cavil and Mr Sometimes Godly, Mr Ape Swillale, Mr False Franklin, Mr Dainty Dixon, Young Boasthard and Mr Cautious Calmer” (U14.467). Some of the company are still recognizable, while others have to be determined contextually by cross referencing. It is Bloom who has cautiously been trying to calm boasting and then frightened Stephen. Madden has been described “as being godly certain whiles” (14.423), “Mr Ape Swillale” transforms into Punch Costello (14.416). “Mr Cavil” is likely to be Lynch (14.410). Dr Dixon has meanwhile joined the company. In a minor divergence only Stephen is without the honorific “Mr.”
The list is soon followed by another one in the clipped manner of the 17th century diarists: “There Leop. Bloom of Crawford's journal sitting snug with a covey of wags, likely brangling fellows, Dixon jun., scholar of my lady of Mercy's, Vin. Lynch, a Scots fellow, Will. Madden, T. Lenehan, very sad about a racer he fancied and Stephen D” (U14.505). Diaries have no responsibility towards completeness, and so a few listed before receive no mention at all. First names are provided in abbreviation. The three parallactic period pieces also show how catalogues can vary by different criteria.
A slightly changed team reappears in Circe: “Dixon, Madden, Crotthers, Costello, Lenehan, Bannon, Mulligan and Lynch”. They are in “white surgical students’ gowns, four abreast, goosestepping”). Otherwise they are unadorned, but they have meanwhile become “beatitudes” (U15.2238). This derives from a list in the otherwise muddled coda of Oxen of the Sun which is oddly structured. The “British Beatitudes” are spelled out as “Beer, beef, business, bibles, bulldogs, battleships, buggery and bishops”; the eight items seem to outline stereotype B-attitudes seen through an Irish prism (U14.1459). In the guise of the eight persons above they are similarly patterned, but with a few modifications: “Beer beef battledog, buybull businum barnum buggerum bishop” (15.2242). Bulldogs and battleships merge into “battledog”, “bibles” are combined with bulls and seem to become commercial, and a fake Latin ending intrudes, along with an American circus. The language already anticipates Finnegans Wake.
Insults too can be catalogued in lexical variety, as in Elizabethan fashion: “they all chode with him [Costello], a murrain seize the dolt, what a devil he would be at, thou chuff, thou puny, thou got in peasestraw, thou losel, thou chitterling, thou spawn of a rebel, thou dykedropt, thou abortion thou, to shut up his drunken drool out of that like a curse of God ape” (U14.326). The chapter closes with the imagined voice of a (real) American evangelist, Alexander Dowie: “Come on you winefizzling, ginsizzling, booseguzzling existences! Come on, you dog-gone, bullnecked, beetlebrowed, hogjowled, peanutbrained, weaseleyed fourflushers, false alarms and excess baggage!” (U14.1580). The first three compounds are based on drinks, the subsequent six depend on animals, as though in anticipation of the Circe episode to follow.
Ulysses is very much aware of itself as a verbal composition, and it can reflect on its own being and structure. This happens at least three times where the action of Bloomsday (and -night) is summarized, naturally in parallactic variation and, as the hours pass, with more events to look back to.
First, at the end of Nausicaa Bloom looks back:
In Bloom’s own perspective routine activities like a visit to the butcher’s or the outhouse are not registered, but the letter from Martha and the bath (which is only anticipated in Lotuseaters) are more memorable and, it seems, not part of everyday routine. The frustrated look at the Greek goddesses still impinges as well as the singing in the Ormond Hotel, but not the acquisition of Sweets of Sin. Naturally the most recent events loom largest and are digressively embroidered, especially the narrow escape from the Citizen and the visit to the Dignam family, which again is not covered by a separate chapter. With a projected visit to the insurance company some future actions are planned.
The sketchy synopsis has its Homeric equivalent in the adventures of Odysseus which he recalls in the court of the Phaeacians, they are the best known part of the epic and take up four books (9–12, out of 24). In book 23, when the couple is finally united in bed, Odysseus gives a brief account of his adventures where the four books are condensed to 31 lines, or reduced to an almost bare catalogue (Od.23:310–41), and in fact the thumbnail summary is referred to as “telling all the tale” — “katalexai hapanta”.
The next recapitulation is of quite a different order. In a prolonged hallucination of a quick rise to prominence, as king, potentate, judge and a rapid descent, via court trials to an execution, the Litany of the Blessed Virgin (as it was partly heard in Nausicaa) is distorted towards Bloom. The “daughters of Erin”, in variation of the Daughters of Jerusalem in the Station of the Cross, venerate him:
This, clearly, remains largely outside of Bloom’s consciousness (though he might conceivably be running briefly through his day), but is meta-textually imposed in one of the most salient instances of self-reflexiveness, as though the text itself were aware of its own composition. The twelve episodes in which Bloom has so far figured, the central part of Ulysses, are pressed into the form of the Litany. The appellations are of a different order, some refer to Bloom, who is a mentor and a canvasser and who did reprove the Citizen, just as he enjoys frillies, he may or may not be a freemason, but he is hardly a midwife. A list of objects connected with him are foregrounded: kidney, flower, soap and potato. The pattern is so compelling, at first blush, that we may take it on trust, even if the item “Wandering Soap” does not seem to fit, as it corresponds to the Library episode, where no soap is featured at all. The soap has been wandering with Bloom ever since the end of Lotuseaters. So the list in itself is tightly structured, neatly boxed, and at the same time slightly askew and heterogeneous.
The last synopsis occurs towards the end of Ithaca, chapter of recapitulations, when Bloom recapitulates “past consecutive causes … of accumulated fatigue”:
The retrospective arrangement of Bloomsday is yet one more orderly jumble. In reality Bloom probably runs through the past events, not all of which are entirely in tune with their occurrence in the episodes. The bath was only looked forward to. The lunch (left out in the first recall) and the itinerary of the Wandering Rocks episode are added. That the visit to a house of mourning is designated “a blank period” refers more to the organisation of Ulysses than to Bloom’s mind. Naturally the parenthetical tags are an authorial or narrative imposition. They ascribe mainly Old Testament terms to the preceding Bloom episodes. These parentheses were added fairly late as though Joyce wanted to supplement the Homeric schema with a Biblical one, an alternative categorization and a nod that Ulysses is multi-structured. Not all of the last minute labels are equally pertinent or instructive, some look jocular or ironic, others have an air of being forced. It is not self-explanatory that what happened in Eumaeus, where Bloom and Stephen appear more “poles apart” than in mental harmony, should constitute “atonement”, or, to put it differently, the attributions provide ample stimulation for interpreters. That the Citizen has become a “troglodyte” conforms more to the Homeric backdrop than the to the prevalent scientific style of the episode or the occurrences in Barney Kiernan’s pub where, incidentally, nothing was burnt (“holocaust”, a complete destruction by burning). The emphasis here is again on the heteroclitic nature of something that has all the appearance of meticulous order and categorisation.(2)
Another summary deserves mention in this context, Bloom’s account of his day in response to Molly’s “catechetical interrogation” which however is absent in the text and only present by “modifications” (U17.2249–66). It stands to reason that Bloom would not mention his clandestine correspondence, or the brawl in Kiernan’s pub, let alone the visual gratification afforded by a conniving Gerty MacDowell. It also makes sense that he would invent a visit to the Gaiety Theatre and a lunch rather than report on his foray into Nighttown. But the listing also features Sweets of Sin, which Bloom did bring home. The “aeronautical feat executed by him” most likely refers to Bloom’s climbing of the area railing and the subsequent drop — again something that did happen, not in this sense a “modification”. Once more a catalogue moves out of its presumed topic (“modifications”) and glides into something else: possibly events that did happen but are not part of a habitual day and therefore are worthy of inclusion. In the brief summary mentioned above where Odysseus recapitules his adventures in the skeletal catalogue, he also does not go out of his way to embroider his relations to Kalypso or Kirke and makes them fairly neutral (Od.23:310–42).
The next question in Ithaca, “Was the narration otherwise unaltered by modifications” receives an answer that underlines the problem of all catalogues that want to be exhaustive. Homer states clearly (and untruthfully) that Odysseus told “all the tale’, as referred to above. The answer given in Ithaca is “Absolutely” (17.2268), a glaring impossibility. Every telling is inevitably based on selection, modifications contain modifications, when acts have to be put into words they become modified, simplified and contaminated, as the newspaper report of Dignam’s funeral demonstrates, where out of fourteen mourners four are wrong: Stephen Dedalus was not at the funeral at all, nor was M’Coy but Bloom obligingly put him on the list, and in turn has his name mutilated to “L. Boom”, M’Intosh owes the name to a misunderstanding (U16.1255–61). Nothing should be easier to list than a dozen mourners at a funeral.
Catalogues can be bracketing devices, they help to keep otherwise diffuse material together and serve as mnemonic reinforcement. The ones commented on above are also roll calls of events, characters or motifs, aids to the readers’ overtaxed memories. Similarly, but with far less systematic intention, the Hue & Cry that follows Bloom as he rushes out of Mrs Cohen’s place, assembles a seemingly random bunch of characters, some of which surfaced very transiently but are conveniently brought to mind again: “65 C, 66 C, night watch, John Henry Menton, … Pisser Burke, … the reverend Tinned Salmon … Mrs Bob Doran … Moses Herzog, Michael E. Geraghty, …” (U15.4336–61). The last named are unlikely to occur in Bloom’s mind but seem to be part of what could be described as the book’s own memory, one of many such passages in Circe. In such ways Joyce incidentally offers re-collections of its personnel and also hints that in this mini-universe nobody is ever completely forgotten, or thrown away. Catalogues recycle material that otherwise might have been lost sight of.
Homer’s Muses already admit that completeness cannot even be aimed at. Even with ten tongues and ten mouths the poet could not name everyone of the Achaians who fought against Troy and so only the leaders are included (Il.2:489–93). This sets the pattern for a number of formulas at hand to encompass what cannot be explicitly named, usually in a terminal flourish: “and other ornaments of the arboreal world”, “… and other denizens of the aqueous kingdom too numerous to be enumerated” (U12.73–7). “Bloom was pointing out all the stars and the comets in the heaven … the great bear and Hercules and the dragon and the whole jingbang lot” (10.567). The minimal acknowledgement is a simple “and so on” or “etc.”: “The laity included P. Fay, T. Quirke, etc., etc.” (U12.927).
When a list is complete in itself the last item often gets special attention. It tends to be the longest one and in exaggeration of contains a particular twist. The names of the “Friends of the Emerald Island” who attend the execution of an Irish rebel are instantly amusing enough in themselves (so no commentary needs to be offered) and far less likely to be overlooked than names elsewhere:
These are national stereotypes or slurs and express the pervasive xenophobia in the chapter and provide comments on, or parodies of, the giving of names, and they manage to lend global scope to an intrinsically parochial novel. The already farcical catalogue typically ends with the longest title:
This is both a fitting closure that dwarfs all the international predecessors and a reflection on the German language, its ponderous scientific titles, and its tendency to form long compounds.
The terminal flourish may be an addition, something extra, like the supplement to the Holy Trinity: “Put us all into it, damn its soul. Father, Son and Holy Ghost and Jakes M’Carthy” (U7.622). It hardly matters if there actually was a person of this name, a journalist known to those present (as Gifford informs us, 140). That “Jakes” tends to remind readers of the outhouse toilet which Bloom visited in the morning adds an Irish and irreverent supplement. In Finnegans Wake of course the Holy Trinity undergoes similar metamorphoses).
The order of items in a list can have implications. When Molly asks what letters Bloom picked up in the hallway he answers “carefully”: “A letter for me from Milly, he said carefully, and a card to you. And a letter for you” (U4.250). Bloom is all too well aware of his wife’s interest in the letter sent to her, it has already slowed his “quickened heart” when he looked at the envelope (U4.244). So he intentionally, or carefully, puts it last, either as a minor teasing manoeuvre or else in tacit collusion not to bring up a subject fraught with tension. A partly conscious nervousness becomes manifest, and even more so on a subsequent reading.
Incongruity and Disproportion (U17.2213)
Simple, informative catalogues tend to be monotonous and tedious. As is instanced by the English names in an Irish newspaper which the Citizen reads out in Cyclops, a listing of political intent but without any entertainment value: “Gordon, Barnfield Crescent, Exeter; Redmayne of Iffley …”, and many more until “Cockburn” allows for comic relief by an interjected deviant note: “I know that fellow … from bitter experience” (U12.225). A digression is called for since the name Cockburn is generally pronounced “Coburn”, which is also a common, alternative form. For obvious reasons the k-sound is elided from the name, which would make the interjection pointless. The most likely account is that the Citizen in mock-naiveté pretends not to be familiar with the euphemistic British pronunciation and substitutes a dead pan “Cockburn”.
Disruptions or deviancy characterize the majority of Joyce’s lists. They are prone to stray away from their given topic and often feature eccentric twists. It is deviations that make the intrinsically tedious nature of catalogues, devices of imposing order and clarity, memorable or intriguing. Items that do not toe the line become remarkable and may jerk us back into an attention that may well have flagged.
The list of “Irish heroes and heroines” begins with bona fide legendary Irish celebrities, “Cuchulin, Conn of hundred battles, Niall of nine hostages …”, then moves on to historical figures, “Owen Roe, Patrick Sarsfield …” which readers are likely to take on trust, and readers not particularly versed, or interested, in Irish history or legend, are also likely to run their eyes inattentively over the names until they are brought up with “Goliath” (U12.176). This salient misfit changes the mood of the enumeration. Goliath not only was not genuinely Irish, as the powerful giant against a weak opponent he also does not conform to the pattern of the British Empire facing Ireland. On the other hand, the Irish often traced their origin to the Old Testament. But from this moment onward readers may become alerted to proceed with suspicion. In fact one may also retrace to discover that some of Irish looking heroes were not quite kosher, “Francy Higgins”, also known as the Shame Squire (U7.348) who was an informer and therefore on the wrong side. A fairly tiresome catalogue suddenly demands wide-awake attention, genuine heroes rub shoulders with impostors. “Captain Boycott” (12.182) played his part in Irish history, but he, a reckless British landlord, was on the side of oppressor against the native neighbours who decided to ostracize him: so the term “boycott” originated as noun and verb (the name thus casts a sidelight on naming processes). After “Dante Alighieri” any serious pretence is given up and almost any figure, historical or otherwise, can put in an appearance. From a certain point onward the list is electrified and each item may come under scrutiny. “Christopher Columbus” fits up to a point, he was certainly not Irish, but Spain claimed him for a Spaniard and what became Italy considered him Italian.
Incongruities breathe life into otherwise insipid enumerations. Divergence creates animation. It is characteristic of Joyce’s works that their features tend to gather momentum, they seem to have a drive that has been called “provective”, that is to say they increase in size or impact and take individual turns. An early “O, the geen wothe botheth” at the very beginning of A Portrait already carries the seeds, but certainly not the scope, of Finnegans Wake. Buck Mulligan in Ulysses starts off by parodies and before long parodies seem to govern whole chapters. Such a drive also affects catalogues, they more and more get out of hand and may lose sight of their anchorage.
The principle is established in the first listing in Cyclops where the north west Dublin is transposed into a legendary Irish countryside, a land “in sooth of murmuring waters” and “fishful streams”. This generates a tangential piscine spread: “… where sport the gurnard, the plaice, the roach, the halibut, the gibbed haddock, the grilse, the dab, the brill, the flounder, the pollock, the mixed coarse fish generally…” (U12.70). Without specific knowledge the fact may well be overlooked that some of the fish live in salt water and are therefore not to be found in inland “fishful streams”. Fishiness has taken over and spawned whatever may come to mind. “Coarse” fish are by definition freshwater fish other than salmon or trout. — “mixed coarse fish” indeed!
The earliest mini catalogue, “the genuine christine: body and soul and blood and ouns” (U1.21) ends on a small irregularity: “ouns” is a semantic ripple and in demand of a gloss (a shortening of “God’s blood and wounds” is offered by Gifford, 14). It is often the last member of a series that doesn’t quite conform and tends to exceed in length or goes against expectation. But for that deviant “ouns” Mulligan’s phrase would be unremarkably straightforward. Later on the Citizen is referred to as “the blood and ouns champion” (U16.1638). Here as elsewhere Joyce plays with expectation.
The hallucinatory mode of the Circe episode has little concern for conformity. The classical Muses, in themselves the origin of many catalogues in antiquity, are replaced by “new nine muses”, and these are “Commerce, Operatic Music, Amor, Publicity, Manufacture, Liberty of Speech, Plural Voting, Gastronomy, Private Hygiene, Seaside Concert Entertainments, Painless Obstetrics and Astronomy for the People” (U15.1706). They increase and diversify, they are no longer exclusively feminine, but either male (“Amor”) or abstractions. The process of listing has gathered momentum and the number rises from the announced nine to a whole free-wheeling dozen. Ironically the Muses, patron saints of knowledge, are themselves twisted or dethroned when they in turn are spread out in a list.
The augmentation is all the more remarkable since the nine Muses were first named by Hesiod, and they set off the Theogony. This epic or song in itself is something of a catalogue of Greek mythology, a rich source that other writers drew from. Mnemosyne (memory) leads them in remembering what happened. They know everything and inspire poets, and so are also evoked by Homer. But the Muses in Hesiod start on a note of caution: “We know to speak of many things that wear the guise of truth, and know also when we will to utter truth” (Hesiod, Theogony 27–8). So much for reliability. Joyce’s Muses, and particularly in Circe, enjoy their little manipulations of truth.
In Circe the so-called “Messianic Scene”, Bloom’s hallucinatory rise to prominent and the subsequent fall and execution” (U15.1353–1958), is particularly expansive. It sets off modestly with just two items, “that potato and that weed” that Sir Walter Raleigh brought with him, but soon escalated to a “Prolonged applause” which is prolonged to something like two pages, listing city officials, clergy or Dublin craft guilds (U15.1356; 13.1398–49). Catalogues can be variations of a name, as in Bloom’s eight male children: “Nasodoro, Goldfinger, Chrysostomos, Maindorée, Silversmile, Silberselber, Vifargent, Panargyros” (U15.1827). From golden or silvery noses, fingers, mouths and hands we move on to differently patterned names, not all equally rewarding to follow up. Possibly “Vifargent”, quicksilver, links back to mercury (a metal only nominally silver) and so the god or Mercurial Malachi (one of whose epithets is an early “Chrysostomos”) and of course Hermes, who provided Odysseus with a magic herb. The eight names are both uniform and heterogeneous.
When the suicide of women admiring Bloom (always in imagination) moves into orbit, cataloguic compulsion generates itemized possibilities: “suicide by stabbing, drowning, drinking prussic acid, aconite, arsenic, opening their veins, refusing food, casting themselves under steamrollers, from the top of Nelson’s Pillar, into the great vat of Guinness’s brewery, asphyxiating themselves by placing their heads in gasovens, hanging themselves in stylish garters, leaping from windows of different storeys” (U15.1745). In its straining towards completeness the list shows up the impossibility of all-inclusiveness. Each item can engender a subsidiary list, as when some of many possible poisons are enumerated. Minor inconsistencies may always pass unnoticed: within largely immediate deaths, “refusing food” is out of tune — and time, especially within the spurious framework of a stage.
Ithaca, for all its straining towards order, also sports lists that are self-propelled. The water hymn in Ithaca which enumerates qualities in water that Bloom admires. The list is inundated and loses sight of what “water” is, geographical, chemical, and it is even anthropomorphized when its ‘democratic equality” or its “infallibility as paradigm and paragon” is stressed. It looks as though “paradigm” spawned a similar word, “paragon”. The list ends on the water’s “noxiousness” in swamps, and noxiousness is an unlikely object of admiration (U17,185–228).
In the Odyssey already not all lists are trite enumerations either. At the Phaeacian games the competitors are named, “Acroneus, and Ocyalos, and Elatreus, and Nauteus, and Prymneus, and Anchialos, and Eretmeus, and Ponteus, and Proreus, Thoon and Anabesineus, and Amphialos, son of Polyneus, son of Tecton; and also Euryalus, the peer of mandestroying Ares, son of Naubolos, who was best of all … and up rose the three sons of Alcinous, Laodamas, and Halius, and godlike Clytoneus” (Od.8.111-9). This reads fairly unexciting and ?at, but not in the original Greek: all names are nautical (the Phaeacians are excellent sailors, in pointed contrast to the Kyklopes): endings like “-neus” are based on naus, or nêos (ship, also in Nausikaa), “-alos” is based on hals (salt or sea), “elate” is an oar, etc. So for a Hellenic audience the naval pattern was obvious and entertaining, with a touch of parody.
The mock genealogy of Bloom, “Leopoldi autem generatio”, in the wake of the beginning the Gospel of St. Matthew, consists of an odd assortment of names, but it is structurally consistent: “Moses begat Noah and Noah begat Eunuch and Eunuch begat O’Halloran and O’Halloran begat Guggenheim and Guggenheim begat Agendath and Agendath begat Netaim …” (U15.1855). The list veers from thwarted theology, by way of a patrilineal Eunuch, to Irish names and abstractions like the “planters company” Agendath Netaim. The vagaries of these names, it appears, have not yet been investigated and no pattern other than the Biblical framing is immediately relevant. Personal names, abstractions and places are mixed. The genealogy ending “Vingtetunieme begat Szombathely and Szombathely begat Virag and Virag begat Bloom” turns his father’s origin, the Hungarian city of Szombathely, into an only begetter, but who knows if Joyce is not also working in an author by name of Szombathely (and a translator of the Odyssey into Italian). Plenty of scope remains for interpretive ingenuity.
Nausicaa ends with two latent catalogues. It terminates on a three times threefold “Cuckoo” preceded by three locations, the first resuming Bloom half asleep (“Mr Bloom with open mouth …”, then the priests’ house (“Canon O’Hanlon and Father Conroy …”), and finally “Gerty MacDowell noticed …” (U13.1286). Before it Bloom is dozing off and what passes through his mind is a hybrid consists of a somnolent recall of former impressions:
Practically ever item can be traced back in hypertext fashion to an earlier occurrence, often with psychological modifications. “Bracegirdle” echoes the name of a famous actress (13.857), but squints at intimate clothing: “Grace darling” sounds like an endearment but leads back to Grace Darling (13.1069) who became a proverbial rescuer of shipwrecked passengers. The almost-dream sequence amounts to a jumbled retrospective arrangement. Gifford’s Annotations list some, but not all, of the connections (p. 404).
“Mais à quoi bon?” The List of the Clergy
There is at least one catalogue that does not appear to have the characteristic deviations, heteroclitic flourishes or amusing turns, but is aridly straightforward. The usual frills or oddities that otherwise breathes life into dead pan enumeration seem to be absent in the record of Irish clergy that is appended to a newspaper report of a meeting:
At the Monte Carlo Conference Martin Mortimer challenged the aesthetic use of the list: “Mais, tout de même, je vous le demande – est-ce que dans un œuvre d'art on devrait accepter des listes entières de noms? Enfin je rappelle … dans Ulysse, il y a tout un paragraphe qui contient des noms de prêtres avec leur titres, que moi, hérétique, protestant, je n'aurais pas le culot de citer. Mais à quoi bon?” (Mortimer, 33). In other words, does anyone ever really read each single item, especially on a second reading; chances are that the two dozen names of real clergymen of the time will be skipped. The famous Ships’ Catalogue in the Iliad must have been read in a similar offhand way. We know it is there but we hardly care how many ships, for example, the Phocians brought to the siege of Troy (forty, and their leaders were Schedios and Epistrophos, Il. 2:517), and this in the most famous of all catalogues in literature, but also the one least scrutinized.
The names of the priests, part from being Irish and as a matter of fact lifted from actual Irish clergy (Gifford identifies them in the Annotations), look rather unexciting, few readers will remember any of them; they do not occur elsewhere. If their order were tampered with it would hardly be noticed. Contemporary readers might have been amused by odd constellations, but nowadays the individuals have faded into oblivion. Perhaps Joyce wanted to insert one pure, unadorned list, as a foil for all the others. Though it is not without its flourishes: a choreography of “rev”, “rt. rev”, and ”very rev.” and an array of titles may vaguely amuse. Their sheer number is in ludicrous contrast to the meagre list to follow: “The laity included P. Fay, T. Quirke, etc., etc.”
Joyce added “the clergy present” in the galley proofs, “placards” (JJA 19:150) and then made a few more changes perhaps at a time when the individual priests still had the profile that they were sure to lose for future generations. There may always be a code we have not cracked, which would elevate the Catalogue of Skips into epiphanic radiance. It may be significant that a bare list which could have been taken out of a newspaper with no change and (as has been challenged) no obvious purpose deserves special attention. The Clergy Catalogue certainly helps disperse notions that we might have all the answers, or even some really pertinent ones.
Possibly one implication of a dominant cataloguic urge may be the human need to impose order on diversity and its failure to establish it. Reality does not fit into neat compartments. Nor do humans into ethnic categories. This may be one more reason for giving Bloom a Hungarian descent, moreover, from a small provincial town never seen by Joyce, Szombathely. No one quite knows where the Hungarians came from, their language has no affinity with those spoken in the major parts of Europe. Origins are murky and life is multiple hybrids. Cataloguing is a human endeavour, both necessary and futile. Life and literature refuse to conform.
Lists in their attempt to order and classify bear this out.