What Would “Ulysses” Look Like With Conventional Punctuation?

A few months back, frustrated with Ulysses, I wondered, “Would it have killed the guy to use quotation marks around dialogue, and to express thoughts with italics?” Then I went in and started fixing things. The result is actually a lot easier to grasp. I only did the first chapter, but I’m sure other folks are welcome to take it from here. It’s in the public domain now.

Some of the italics are tough calls. I did my best. Your thought balloons may vary. Anyway, enjoy! And Happy Bloomsday!



STATELY, PLUMP BUCK MULLIGAN CAME FROM THE STAIRHEAD, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:

Introibo ad altare Dei.”      

Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called up coarsely:

“Come up, Kinch. Come up, you fearful Jesuit.”

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding country and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly.

“Back to barracks,” he said sternly.

He added in a preacher’s tone:

“For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all.”

He peered sideways up and gave a long low whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm. Continue reading