In the annotations in Penguin's Ulysses: Annotated Student Edition, Kiberd says that "the six month of pregnancy" beings in the paragraph "Our worthy acquaintance, Mr Malachi Mulligan, now appeared..." (Chapter 14, page 525, line 5, in the edition in question).

He offers no explanation as to why he thinks this section begins the sixth month of pregnancy. Gifford, who mentions many other months in his annotations, says nothing about the sixth, or about this section in particular.

Why does Kiberd say that "This section begins the sixth month of pregnancy"?

This seems completely random on his part.

  • I’m not familiar with Kiberd’s annotations, but this may be a simple form of “sign posting” to make the transition from the previous paragraph’s analysis smoother. I.e. it’s a way of saying “a little more than halfway through the chapter….”
    – Kevin Troy
    Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 2:10
  • 1
    @KevinTroy Hmm, it is my understanding that certain researchers think that Joyce left consecutive hints about the months of pregnancy throughout the chapter, so I don't think it's just that.
    – Ell
    Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 9:10
  • It would help to give chapter names/number or page references rather than expecting us to search through the entire book. If you google ulysses pregnancy or something similar you will get a vast amount of material.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 12:49
  • @StuartF I added page number and line number in the edition I have.
    – Ell
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


According to literary critic Micheal Groden, it's because the paragraph count in the chapter, from the beginning of its stylistic pastiches to the end, consists of 40 paragraphs to correspond with the 40 weeks of the normal human gestation.

The episode begins before the formation of English as a language system, and so the first long paragraph (14:7-32) is unable to work itself into grammatically complete sentences. At the end (from 14:1391 on), the doors open and the men enter the streets headed for Burke's pub (just as baby Purefoy enters the world), and the language breaks down into all kinds of drunken slang. --From 14:70 to 14:1390, there are 40 paragraphs, corresponding to the 40 weeks of pregnancy.

The paragraph you quote is paragraph 24 in the series, which would correspond roughly with the beginning of the sixth month of pregnancy.


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