I think reading “Aeolus” for the first time would have been a completely different experience had I read it in serialized form rather than book form. The most obvious reason being the lack of headlines breaking up the text. Without them, this episode seems to read very much like all the other episodes we have encountered up to this point. We are positioned in our usually place, in the mind of Mr. Bloom, without the frequent interruptions from some mysterious outside voice. The beginning of the serialized version begins in Bloom’s thoughts right away, without first starting “in the heart of the Hibernian Metropolis.” The whole first two sections are absent from the serialized version. Without them, the episode begins in a way that feels to me much less frantic. We aren’t immediately exposed to the center of transportation of the city, with everyone coming and going, with the shouting timekeeper, and all the hustle and bustle of activity with the trams and the mail. Instead, in the serialized version we see barrels on a float, and then we are right into Bloom’s story. Had I read this version first, I don’t think I would have picked up on that windy feeling of being blown around, at least not right away. I also wonder what I would have thought about Bloom’s leaving and Stephen taking over as the central character again, if I had read this episode in the serialized version. I think it would have taken me much more by surprise if I hadn’t been given the cue “Exit Bloom” and if I hadn’t already been expecting strange or different things, based simply on the layout of the episode.
That feeling of being blown from one thing to another is heightened by the constant interruptions and interjections of the headlines. Reading this episode without them is a much smoother experience. I don’t feel as though I am being shepherded hurriedly around, forced to look at one thing and then another, in the same way that I did when reading this episode in book form. I was surprised, comparing the serialized version to the book version, by how the narrative flowed so smoothly. Joyce literally just broke paragraphs apart and inserted a headline. The headlines played such an important role in my reading of the episode, that it was almost shocking to learn that they were not originally there.
It is really interesting to look at this earlier version in comparison to the later one. I feel like the additions he made, particularly with the headlines, added a lot to this episode, and though I do not understand the purpose of all of them, and they make the reading more difficult in places, I am glad they were added. Reading the serialized version, in my opinion, really would have been a completely different experience than reading the book version, and I am really curious about the process Joyce would have used in making such drastic changes.