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Troubling the Boundary: Imagining the Nonhuman in "Ulysses"

Hutchings, Rory Michael (2019) Troubling the Boundary: Imagining the Nonhuman in "Ulysses". In: Beastly Modernisms, 11-13 Sep 2019, University of Glasgow. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:91138)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

Joyce’s Dublin is perhaps one of the greatest evocations of a multispecies landscape within the city. Joyce not only deeply engages with the ubiquity of nonhumans, their products and their lives within the metropolis, but also their relationship to histories of the Irish famine and colonialism. Through descriptions of nonhuman suffering, Joyce creates a compelling creaturely awareness which reflects not only the condition of animals in 20th Century Ireland but also the state of the nation. The ghostly, tortured bodies of beasts remind us of the lethal treatment of Ireland’s people.

And yet, this description of Joyce’s nonhuman is perhaps reductive considering his complex construction of a nonhuman imaginary within the text. Animals in "Ulysses" are not simply the symbols of a traumatised nation. Indeed, a far more nuanced and densely crafted account of Dublin’s nonhuman population is offered as we are invited to gaze into and through the eyes of the animal. The forays the novel offers into animal experience are not simply an imaginative exercise in “experiencing” the animal. Indeed, this analysis will argue that they constitute an ethical engagement with the nonhuman, ultimately troubling the boundary between human and animal.

Proceeding from the works of theorists including David Rando, Peter Adkins, JM Coetzee and Carol J. Adams, this paper will explore Joyce’s troubling of the human-nonhuman boundary with a view to ascertaining how a Joycean ethics of the animal can be identified in "Ulysses" and, furthermore, how we read these in the current climate of nonhuman studies and the “animal turn”.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: James Joyce, Irish Literature, Animal Studies, Nonhuman, Ulysses
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Rory Hutchings
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2021 10:28 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2021 10:48 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/91138 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Hutchings, Rory Michael: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7547-4137
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