USP Electronic Research Repository

Bloom's job: the role of the advertisement canvasser in Joyce's Dublin

Hayward, Matthew C. (2015) Bloom's job: the role of the advertisement canvasser in Joyce's Dublin. Modernism/modernity, 22 (4). pp. 651-666. ISSN 1071-6068

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (410kB)


This article reconsiders Joyce’s representation of Dublin’s 1904 advertising industry in Ulysses, with particular emphasis upon his protagonist Bloom’s role as an advertisement canvasser. It argues that our understanding of the narrative significance of Bloom’s job has been muddled by the generalizing accounts of the subject published in the 1980s and 90s, which extrapolated dubious historical claims from theoretical speculations on the text. With close attention to the details of Joyce’s narrative, this article demonstrates that Bloom’s professional responsibility in advertising has been overvalued. Conversely, while his limited involvement with other agents and agencies has been taken to reflect an underdeveloped Irish advertising industry, this article identifies the disconnection as a crucial aspect of Joyce’s characterization. With a new historical attention, this article shows that the state of Dublin’s advertising industry in 1904 has been seriously underestimated, and that the assumption of colonial underdevelopment has obscured a complex and particular history. Participating in the recent historicist turn in Joyce studies, it revises the received critical accounts to identify the specific details of Bloom’s advertising role as significant aspects of his social alienation as a Jewish outsider in 1904 Dublin.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Language, Arts and Media
Depositing User: Matthew Hayward
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2016 23:11
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 03:09

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...