12 June 2022

The Man In The Macintosh Is A Man In A Hat

A talk on the identity of the man in the macintosh

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This paper addresses the oldest of Ulysses cruxes, to which I have contributed in the past. My belief is that the man in the macintosh is the ghost of Bloom’s father. One reason is his macintosh. Of the characters present or named in Ulysses, Bloom’s father is the one who because of his rheumatism was what Bloom calls a “barometer” to the weather, therefore the one who would have known that it was going to rain (it does), therefore would have known to go out wearing a raincoat. This item deals with another article of clothing. In “Hades,” the man in the macintosh appears when he takes off his hat, disappears when he puts it back on. Similar appear-disappear acts occur in “Oxen of the Sun” and “Circe.” I believe that this is because of what Joyce’s notes record as his Tarnkappe, the “helm of Hermes” that can confer invisibility on its wearer. In the Homeric parallel to Ulysses, Bloom’s father would correspond to Laertes, the son of Hermes. At the conclusion of “Circe,” the apparition of Bloom’s son Rudy appears with a version of the helmet of Hermes. Optional invisibility runs in the family. Also, of course, ghosts can be invisible at will.

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