The difference between Leopold Bloom and Fiorello LaGuardia is that LaGuardia wasn’t Catholic.

When James Joyce arrived in Austrian-controlled Trieste in 1904 at the age of 22, the American consul thereabouts was future NYC mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, also aged 22, who remained at that post for another couple of years.

Like Leopold Bloom, LaGuardia was of Hungarian Jewish descent (on his mother’s side). Unlike Leopold Bloom, LaGuardia was raised as an Episcopalian in Arizona.

UPDATE: It turns out that Leopold Bloom was a Christian too. Bloom’s father had been converted to Irish Protestantism by The Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews,  an Anglican evangelical group, and the church he joined was the Anglican-affiliated Church of Ireland,  just as the church LaGuardia’s father joined in order to marry Leopold’s mother had been the Anglican-affiliated American Episcopal Church. Then, in order to marry Molly, Leopold left the Church of Ireland to become Catholic. That’s something that LaGuardia, the son of an atheist, never did.

Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment