Mity cheese

Bloom's meditation on cheese in Lestrygonians—"Cheese digests all but itself. Mity cheese"—combines an unscientific bit of folk wisdom with a valid empirical observation. The second of these thoughts becomes apparent when "Mighty cheese," the text in all versions of Ulysses before Gabler's, is corrected to "Mity," and when one watches films of cheese mites that were being shown in UK theaters in 1903. The resulting pun manages to suggest that cheese does eat even itself, making it the perfectly cannibalistic agent in this chapter of voracious eaters.

JH 2019

The opening pages of Swift's Polite Conversation, in a volume held in the British Library. Source: bl.uk.

Tyrophagus putrescentiae, one of several mite species that colonize cheeses as well as plant leaves and stored grains. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

1903 silent film of mites crawling on a piece of Stilton cheese. Source: www.youtube.com.

Charles Urban's 1903 silent film Cheese Mites, held in the BFI National Archive. Source: www.youtube.com.