Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Scylla and Charybdis/205
Egomen (Greek) I, on the one hand. In Greek, ἐγώ (egō) means I, while μέν ...δέ (men ... de) are conjunctions that are used to convey the idea on the one hand ... on the other hand. But μέν is sometimes used to emphasize a single word such as ἐγώ. It is also possible that Stephen means ἐγώ μήν (egō mēn), which would mean: I, surely. In either case, the men particle would not be attached to the egō.
Gifford believes that Joyce is also punning on the title of the London literary journal The Egoist, which serialized A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and three-and-a-half episodes of Ulysses. By supporting his work, The Egoist helped Joyce to believe in himself. The Other chap, who is undermining Joyce's self-belief, would then be George Roberts, the reluctant publisher of Dubliners.
Other scholars, rejecting the Greek hypotheses, suggest that Egomen may be a typo for the Latin Egomet (I myself). This could mean Stephen, himself; or it could be a reference to the God of Moses, who identifies himself with the words: Ego sum qui sum (I am that I am). This would imply that the Other chap is Satan.
Egomen is a legitimate word of Greek origin, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: A monastic functionary in the Greek Church.
- Gifford (1988) 251.
Thornton (1968) 214.
- Gifford (1988) 251-252.
- Abbott, Evelyn; E. D. Mansfield (1987). A Primer of Greek Grammar. London: Duckworth. p. 200. ISBN 0-7156-1258-1.
- Gert Lernout, A Horrible Example of Free Thought: God in Stephen's Ulysses.
- Exodus 3:14.