Step 1: A Gutenberg Copy

Page 1, Pre-1923 Edition

At left is the first page of chapter 1 of Ulysses, as published by the Gutenberg Project .  The Project is based the edition on pre-1923 texts, which would suggest that it is much closer in intent to the author’s wishes.  I love how the episodes are framed.  Above is the entirety of Mulligan’s part in the Black Mass.  The same will be true for each of Stephen’s internal monologue.  Each ends its page almost as a punchline (“omphalos” takes on a different meaning to me, on page 5.  Significant sounding elsewhere, framed here it is the last of dreary ideas.) And, in fact, this edition feels downright spacious compared to more modern editions.  Those look and feel like bricks.  Reading the digital copy, in its Arial size 12 font, is delightful, with all that margin space for my elbows.  Aaahhhh!

A clean unmarked page of Ulysses.  Some folks are highlighting and commenting like mad by page 1 above.  They are doing that on an analogue copy.  What if I saved you the effort?  And, at the same time, why don’t I try to be as unobtrusive as possible?

I have  chosen the first chapter for the project I’m describing.  I believe I have given just enough hyperlinks (one two three in this case), comments (147 or so), and my own personal approach to the Interior Monologue.  With Oxen of the Sun, Joyce goes completely wild.  In fairness, I hope to use these methods on the chapter Sirens.  I hope this will yield clarification to a ridiculously difficult chapter.

As with Burgess, I do believe that Ulysses is best tackled one chapter at a time.  The chapters do interconnect (we will see a good example of that), but not so much that the book has to be read in sequence.  If I’m offering the first chapter, then I believe you have the foundations for the next four or more.  Good luck to you!  I will explain my technique as we go along.

I love the thought of 18 or more “users” dividing their time to each of the 18 chapters.  This would be very rich for discussion, and any copy whole or in part would be infinitely duplicated.  Yes!  I like thinking about this idea.

Respect the Text

I must remember not to mark the text obtrusively.  There are three issues that I must address:

  • There must be at least one hyperlink, and hopefully only one.  Hyperlinks have become the faithful old horses of our digital lives.  However, too many and they can seem like the pieces of a piñata falling out of the sky.  For those in need of background, setting, a plot summary, etc.–could we make an agreement that one hyperlink beneath the chapter title–or else, at the first reference of a landmark–could lead to one special Web site, which could in turn lead to many?
  • We’ve now become accustomed to “rollovers”.  There are some great examples out there.  In Adobe Acrobat, rolling a cursor over a highlighted or underlined string of words will bring up a comment window.  Clicking on the string can bring up the entire text.  Very useful.  This is stealth commenting.  I must make these underlinings apparent, but I consider these lines to be no more obtrusive than penciled underlinings.
  • Finally, I desire to deal with Joyce’s Interior Monologue (or Internal Monologue) straightforwardly.  However, there are special advantages to the .pdf approach.  Adobe .pdf makes it quite clear that we are dealing with blocks of text, and not lines.  It’s how I believe the mind operates.  I mean to highlight, with a transparent gray, Stephen’s interior thoughts.  Some may believe this is intrusive.  I, on the other hand, believe that this is a useful tool for study.  Besides, why not do once and for all time what frustrated student have attempted manually for years?

As we will go along, I will be making some pretty obvious markings.  I will be able to justify them.  My markings obviate the inital confusion of encountering the interior monologue of Stephen and Leopold’s thoughts.  However, they do not turn the text into Cliff Notes.


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