He proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather…

James Joyce (1882 - 1941)

“Buck Mulligan kicked Stephen’s foot under the table and said with warmth of tone:

 – Wait till you hear him on Hamlet, Haines […]

 – You pick my curiosity, Haines said amiably. Is it some paradox?

 – Pooh! Buck Mulligan said. We have grown out of Wilde and paradoxes. It’s quite simple. He proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father.”

From the novel “Ulysses” by James Joyce   (1922)

An excerpt from the “Telemachus” chapter, first pages of the book. Malachi “Buck” Mulligan jokingly introduces Stephen Dedalus’ theory about Hamlet to the EnglishmanHaines.


One Comment on “He proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather…”

  1. […] Coetzee wrote on Beckett it seems fitting to end with another Irish bard of modernism: in Joyce’s Ulysses Stephen Dedalus ‘proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and […]


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