Ulysses

Source: James Joyce, Ulysses (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972 – orig 1922), p. 366

Text: That gouger M’Coy stopping me to say nothing. And his wife engagement in the country valise, voice like a pickaxe. Thankful for small mercies. Cheap too. Yours for the asking. Because they want it themselves. Their natural craving. Shoals of them every evening poured out of offices. Reserve better. Don’t want it they throw it at you. Catch em alive, O. Pity they can’t see themselves. A dream of wellfilled hose. Where was that? Ah, yes. Mutoscope pictures in Capel street: for men only. Peeping Tom. Willy’s hat and what the girls did with it. Do they snapshot those girls or is it all a fake?

Comments: James Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish novelist and briefly (December 1909-January 1910) a cinema manager. In this passage from the ‘Nausicaa’ episode of Ulysses, the lead character Leopold Bloom’s erotic thoughts about Gerty MacDowell include a reference to having seen the Mutoscope peepshow in Capel Street, Dublin. The Mutoscope was a flip-card viewer introduced in 1896 (Ulysses is set in 1904), popularly known as ‘What the Butler Saw’ and notorious for some of the risqué scenes that it showed. The scenes were produced on 70mm and could be shown as projected film or through the flip-card viewer. Peeping Tom (1897) and What the Girls Did with Willie’s Hat aka Kicking Willie’s Hat (1897) were both actual Mutoscope titles, produced by the American Mutoscope Company.

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