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The milkwoman finally arrives at the tower. Mulligan makes another crack, as a kind of mock anthropologist speaking about the beliefs of “the islanders.” God is the “collector of prepuces”–which is not to suggest that the Irish were much into circumcision [fascinating map of circumcision prevalence around the world here], but is more about circumcision being God’s will for his chosen people–a sign of his covenant.
As for the milkwoman — we’ll talk more about her in the coming panel. For now, two observations — first, who do you think is “saying” the “Rich, white milk” passage. Is it Stephen? Are you sure? Second, the milkwoman is referred to as “maybe a messenger.” Joyce seems to be tipping his hand here, basically announcing MILKWOMAN = ATHENA. So if the first passage is in Stephen’s head, is this in Stephen’s head too? Is Stephen projecting any of the Odyssey parallels onto the scene?
Readers visiting us through the iPad app or looking at difference between that version and this will notice this is the first page to be altered.
Fortuately, the “jugs” joke survives in some manner.
I need to comment on that a bit:
Initially, we were asked by Apple to alter the pages with any nudity. Eventually they changed their policy around that issue, in part because of the careful attention this project caused in the media.
We thank you for that.
Some of the comments, uploaded to the app from our website, still show evidence of those early changes.
It’s all about how the thing changes over time, right?