Chapter 5: Classified Advertising in Joyce

in Publishing in Joyce's Ulysses
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The classified ad is used and re-appropriated by James Joyce in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake in a number of ways. It appears in the form of Bloom’s ad searching for a “smart lady typist” in “Lestrygonians” – resurfacing in a rewritten form in the “Shem the Penman” episode of Finnegans Wake. It features as the imaginary ad offering £5 for an imaginary runaway Bloom in “Ithaca”, and in a passage in hce’s boastful speech, which bears resemblance to the language of the rooms-to-let ad of newspapers. The purpose classified ads serve in Ulysses ranges from functioning as an investment to providing a mode of concealment and alibi for illicit private communication. Operating as a means of negotiation between the private and the public sphere, adhering to a certain notion of respectability is key, but it also provides a particular language which can be re-used and re-appropriated, for example for erotic ends. The treatment the classified ad receives in Joyce diverts it from its original function of communication about goods and services; it becomes a minor form of fiction in itself, as well as a vehicle for parody and the return of the repressed.

Publishing in Joyce's Ulysses

Newspapers, Advertising and Printing

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