For a long time stately, plump Buck Mulligan used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when he had put out his candle, a yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. And half an hour later he held the bowl aloft and intoned: Introibo ad altare dei; he would try to put away the book which, he imagined, was still in his hands, and he would peer down the dark winding stairs and call out coarsely: Come up, Kinch! Come up, you fearful jesuit!; he had been thinking all the time, while he was asleep, of what he had just been reading, but his thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest: a church, a tower, the surrounding land and the awaking mountains. This impression would persist for some moments after he was awake; it did not disturb his mind, but, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he would bend towards him and make rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Then Stephen Dedalus would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would lean his arms on the top of the staircase and look coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him; and at the same time his sight would return and he would peep an instant under the mirror and then cover the bowl smartly. He would peer sideways up and give a long slow whistle of call, then pause awhile in rapt attention, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, something dark indeed.

(My deepest apologies to two authors whose nibs I am unworthy to sharpen.)


  1. Proust + Joyce = Joust, Proyce?

  2. 1/4 page down, 3500 to go. I’m looking forward to this.

  3. Now in French, please.

  4. Mashed up Pastiche et mélange

  5. Lovely. I wrote the following for Qarrtsiluni last June. It’s called “Index of First Lies”:
    “In the beginning and bisimillahi, sing muse and through me tell the tale of the man of the Spear Danes named Gregory Samsa who awoke from the firing squad to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover that all happy families are alike and stately plump Buck Mulligan in his younger and more vulnerable years must be in want of a wife who for a long time went to sleep early at the best of times and worst of times.”

  6. Wonderful stuff. Thank you!
    Sorry, couldn’t resist:
    “For a long time stately, plump Buck Mulligan used to go to bed early, until one morning, as he was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.”

  7. When James Joyce met Proust at a midnight supper in the fashionable Majestic Hotel in May 1922, the two great innovative writers did not speak more than a few words with each other. “Of course the situation was impossible,” Joyce recalled later. “Proust’s day was just beginning. Mine was at an end.”

  8. “Proust’s day was just beginning. Mine was at an end.”
    Ironically, quite the reverse.

  9. I think it’s about time I begin my annual ritual of attempting Ulysses.

  10. Keys, and the man I sing, jejune and slight,
    Whom Mulligan would rib and take delight
    In cadging from, usurping from his tower.
    One parent lost, he sought the one called Flower,
    But knew not yet of this, and labour’d long
    In finding of his way, and growing up.
    Persevere Jangari, drain the cup –
    Drink that winding day down to the lees,
    Like Tennyson’s Ulysses. For your ease
    Use Gilbert’s crib; you won’t be at a loss.
    Sic itur ad astra! (O, and Gifford’s gloss.)

  11. [Chinese spam removed — LH]

  12. that’s the first bit of diabetes spam i’ve ever seen.

  13. It’s pretty pervasive. “Sugar-urine disease”.

  14. David Marjanović says

    from! 😮
    Noetica, what’s up with your small intestine?

  15. Yo ho, DM. My jejunum, constitituting along with my duodenum and my ileum my small intestine, is in fine form, thanks. OED has for jejune:

    3. a. Unsatisfying to the mind or soul; dull, flat, insipid, bald, dry, uninteresting; meagre, scanty, thin, poor; wanting in substance or solidity. Said of thought, feeling, action, etc., and esp. of speech or writing; also transf. of the speaker or writer. (The prevailing sense.)


    b. Puerile, childish; also, naïve.

    ¶This use may owe its origin to the mistaken belief that the word is connected with L. juvenis young (comp. junior), or F. jeune young.

    And the connexion with the gut:

    †4. jejune gut: = jejunum. Obs.

    1696 Phillips (ed. 5), Jejune Gut, the second of the small Guts, so called, because it is frequently empty.

    Note the neat coalescence in French jeune (“young”) and jeûne (“fast”, “deprivation of food”).

  16. Or indeed French adjectival jeun (“fasting”).
    The function of the jejunum is to mash up the food, and absorb the nutriments therefrom.

  17. Strictly Commercial says

    He he. You’ll be hearing from Stephen Joyce and the Joyce estate lawyers any moment now.

  18. David Marjanović says


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