Mulligan's "gaily" uttered phrase, "The mockery of it," expresses the liberating spirit of irreverence that pervades Ulysses. But nothing is at risk in Mulligan's mockery: he is a man to whom nothing is sacred, which makes him a heretic in Stephen's symbolic economy. The book's humor is more complicated, and more affirming of human dignity. Ulysses addresses its most serious concerns in what Ithaca calls a "jocoserious" manner.

JH 2011

Robert Bell, Jocoserious Joyce: The Fate of Folly in Ulysses (Cornell UP, 1991).