Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Telemachus/007
007.30 Matthew Arnold Matthew_Arnold was a poet who lived from 1822 to 1888 and wrote mostly on contemporary social issues. The significance of a deaf gardener masked with Arnold's face is that the social critic is totally focused on what he can see--"watching narrowly the dancing motes of grasshalms"—rather than anything he can perceive with other senses.
ἀλλά μοι ἀμφ᾽ Ὀδυσῆι δαΐφρονι δαίεται ἦτορ,
But my heart is torn for wise Odysseus,
- Navel symbolical of birth and the interconnectedness of all life; the seat of the soul and the point at which mystics stare while meditating. Stephen may be suggesting that contemporary Irish nationalism was little more than self-centred navel-gazing. See 038.11 ff.
- Centre of the world The Oracle of Delphi was believed to be located at the centre of the world, which was represented by a stone known as the omphalos.
In some editions of Ulysses, the word omphalos is italicized. See 017.31.