The Signature of Things


In James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus and his father, Simon, take a trip to Cork. At one point during the weekend, they visit a classroom in Queen’s College, where Simon attended university. Searching the wooden desks, Stephen finds two inscriptions: the word “Foetus” and the initials “SD.” As Stephen gazes upon the initials, they begin to stare back….