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nostalgia and regret, however, “seems all the more

inappropriate in that it takes place in a newspaper office, a

locale ostensibly dedicated to the present moment” (2010: 83,

102). Osteen has it that newspaper offices process events and

turn them into news, but the occupants of the



exchange little news; rather they circulate borrowed rhetoric

and money (1995: 204). Throughout the episode, undisputedly,

these “talents” indulge in borrowed rhetoric. Rhetoric, Killeen

argues, is meant “to be kinetic, to move the listeners to do

something”; in “Aeolus,” nevertheless, rhetoric “is entirely

static, existing in a void remote from any action” (2004: 72).

The only action these “talents” take is when Stephen proposes

a drink at a bar after MacHugh’s sentimental and forceful

recitation of Taylor’s speech on Moses and the Promised Land,

a speech supposed to inspire them to patriotism. The

“OMNIUM GATHERUM,” in other words, is replete with

flatulent yet empty words, lacking in practical and

consequential actions; these Dubliners’ speeches are ineffectual,

their “action,” heading toward a bar, escapist. Ironically, these

personages of empty rhetoric act as the backbone of

turn-of-the-century Ireland, liable to inspire and direct the

people during times of turmoil, to utilize their expertise in the

production of truth. And yet instead of being the conscience of

the people, they corrupt the national spirit: their idleness,

flatulence, alcoholism, and nostalgia not only result in failure

and unfulfillment, but, more gravely, signify the degeneration

of the intelligentsia. Retrospective rather than innovative,

dedicated to the borrowed rather than the self-created, these

Dubliners fail to be the “talents” worthy of their professions.

Joyce’s representations of the journalists, lawyer, and

professor in the “Aeolus” episode implicitly evoke the

intellectuals who dominated nineteenth- and early-twentieth-

century Irish history. In his portrayals of the “talents” in the


office, Joyce critiques these Dubliners on the one