Young Boasthard

New Style. "But was young Boasthard's fear vanquished by Calmer's words?... their spillings done by them contrariwise to his word which forth to bring brenningly biddeth": in these paragraphs, two of the most hilarious in Oxen of the Sun, Joyce imitates John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress (1678), a Christian allegory of the soul's journey to salvation, with considerable attention to the details of Bunyan's language. By using this pious voice to discuss the freethinking views and sexual misdeeds of Stephen, Bloom, and the others, the chapter adopts a polemical tone to which it will return in several other sections, either archly attacking characters for not appreciating the divine plan or congratulating them for following it.

John Hunt 2024

Title page of the 1678 edition of The Pilgrim's Progress.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

A Plan of the Road from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, Adapted to The Pilgrim's Progress, an 1821 manuscript held in the Cornell University Library, Ithaca. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

An 1861 wood-engraving print made by John Dawson Watson and the Dalziel Brothers, illustrating Faithful's encounter with "one whose name was Wanton." Source:

"The man with the burden," illustration by Rachael Robinson Elmer of a sin-burdened Christian leaving his home and family to begin the journey, published in John Bunyan's Dream Story (1913). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

John Bunyan, in an 1861 wood-engraving print made by John Dawson Watson and the Dalziel Brothers. Source: