(I will be discussing digital citations using ROLLOVERS as a commenting tool in the .pdf format. Just place your cursor over the word “ROLLOVERS” above to see attached comment).
At left is the beginning of Ulysses. It looks pretty harmless. It’s less than 175 words. However, even Frank Delaney in his weekly blogs spent–I believe–three sessions just on this half page. Note, no interior monologue yet, and this half page reads in a fairly straightforward manner. In fact, many readers might figure that, from the first three pages, that this can’t be much of a fuss. But you don’t know getting weak at the knees yet.
At left, now, are all the possible annotation markings that I can dig out of Ulysses Annotated (yellow) and a few more from myself and other sources (green). Gifford probably has included these also. I just have not found them. The full count is, at this time, fifteen. This divides out as approximately one point of explication every ten words, and we haven’t even gotten started. Far too many to be comforting. I’ve just re-listened to Frank Delaney’s three or four podcasts for Re: Joyce. I find these to be so rich and so engaging that I have to resist temptation and not add these, which would bring the total possibly up to 30. The name Stephen Dedalus is, itself, so rich with meaning that digging out all the meaning that is easily available could stop the book cold.
I will not include the reference Delaney ascribes to Book IX of Homer: “There is a land called Crete in the midst of the wine-dark sea, a fair land and a rich, begirt with water, and therein are many men innumerable”. This is the home of Dedalus, a land compared to Ireland as Dedalus’ flight is comparable to Joyce’s own flight. It also gives meaning to the repeated phrase “on the wine-dark sea”. I have to stop somewhere, even though Delaney viewpoint as a Dubliner and novelist is trenchant in describing the personalities behind the characters of Ulysses.
When there are too many lilypads, they are not lilypads. They are potholes. You may notice the three underlines that mark the rollovers of information that I think are important. I say that, instead of 30, you need three.
We know that the background information in the one hyperlink. You, the new reader, wish to proceed through the text at something approaching your normal rate of speed. If you are prone to be like many readers of Ulysses, you will find the many, many foggy points to be tiring and you will be done reading around the beginning of chapter 3. Just look at the Full MarkUp above. I will tell you, I believe you only need three or, optionally, four. Later on, as you learn to live with and love Ulysses, you will delight in its densities of meaning.