works in Crawford’s office.
An ad canvasser, Bloom does not
belong to the traditional intelligentsia, yet his alienation and
nonconformity lend him the qualities of an intellectual.
Incessantly pursuing originality and endlessly interrogating the
world around him, the “cultured allroundman” who has “a
touch of the artist” about him (Joyce, 1986: 193) may be
counted as a semi-intellectual: equipped with ideals but
simultaneously down to earth, he exhibits both idealistic and
materialistic aspects. Throughout the day, indeed, Bloom
lives: however luxuriant his mental world, and
however nonconforming, Bloom participates in Dublin life. It
is through his active participation in everyday life that the
intellectual temperament is manifest in Bloom. He does not
merely work diligently in “Aeolus,” but he points out the
changeability of the pressmen, the deterioration of O’Molloy,
and the obsequiousness of Lenehan. Instead of indulging in
alcoholism and empty talks, he acts: he busies himself with the
an ad with nationalistic implications.
Aside from the semi-intellectual Bloom, we observe an
anti-intellectual, as is commonly assumed, in Joyce’s portrayal
of the female protagonist of his modern Irish epic, who
mistakes “metempsychosis” for “met him pike hoses,” and asks
her husband to explain things “in plain words” (52). When she
first appears in “Calypso,” Molly epitomizes an unquestionably
materialistic existence: she grunts sleepily, and later, fully
awake, breakfasts in bed. In fact, physical needs occupy her
day: she eats and drinks, relieves herself, copulates,
menstruates, and sleeps. Her interior monologue in “Penelope”
centers on food, sex, men, women, her life in Gibraltar and
on the materialistic aspects of life, in a word.
Materialistic she may be, yet her monologue reveals her acute
The diligent yet profit-seeking Nannetti also works hard in this episode,
though he toils in his reading closet, not in Crawford’s office.