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James Joyce, Sexuality and Social Purity


  • 5 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 240 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.36 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521035965)

In James Joyce, Sexuality and Social Purity, Katherine Mullin offers a richly detailed account of Joyce's lifelong battle against censorship. Through prodigious archival research, Mullin shows Joyce responding to Edwardian ideologies of social purity by accentuating the 'contentious' or 'offensive' elements in his work. The censorious ambitions of the social purity movement, Mullin claims, feed directly into Joyce's writing. Paradoxically, his art becomes dependent on the very forces that seek to constrain and neutralize its revolutionary force. Acutely conscious of the dangers censorship presented to publication, Mullin shows Joyce revenging himself by energetically ridiculing purity campaigns throughout his fiction. Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners all meticulously subvert purity discourse, as Joyce pastiches both the vice crusaders themselves and the imperilled 'Young Persons' they sought to protect. This important book will change the way Joyce is read and offers crucial insights into the sexual politics of Modernism.

• Provides a valuable reassessment of Joyce's response to censorship and Edwardian popular culture • Mullin offers an important historical and cultural context for Anglo-American Modernism • This book will be of interest to scholars in literary, cultural, gender and historical studies


List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction: provoking the puritysnoopers; 1. 'Works which boys couldn't read': reading and regulation in 'An Encounter'; 2. 'Don't cry for me, Argentina': 'Eveline', white slavery and the seductions of propaganda; 3. 'True manliness': policing masculinity in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; 4. Typhoid turnips and crooked cucumbers: theosophical purity in 'Scylla and Charybdis'; 5. Making a spectacle of herself: Gerty MacDowell through the mutoscope; 6. Vice crusading in Nighttown: 'Circe', brothel policing and the pornographies of reform; Afterword; Select bibliography; Index.


'… both fascinating and titillating … deft, well-researched, and fascinating … a rollicking good journey … a series of quite striking intertextual engagements … Even readers without a particular investment in Joyce and his works will find this book useful … often masterful and always witty engagement with Joyce's works … it will make a welcome addition to the libraries of Joyceans and non-Joyceans alike … this is a genuine rarity among critical books: a smart, concise, and engaging text that treats sexuality and scandal with just the right mix of scholarly rigor, native intelligence, and good humour.' Modernism/Modernity

'Katherine Mullin's … book will make any voyeuristic reader of history despair that she has had to wait so long for that pleasure … A concise and accessible text presenting a compelling argument, careful close readings, and equally compelling primary source material, Mullin's work is a rare scholarly pleasure.' Irish Studies Review

'Part and parcel of Mullin's study is a rich documentation of the social purity movement's cultural history …a pleasure to read … represents something rare in Joyce criticism … [and] discovering a neglected strand of meaning and demonstrating how this is 'woven into the fabric of the fiction' … the study offers a rich body of cultural information based on enormously extensive research on the sexual discourses of the time in general and the history of the purity movement in particular … proof of how fruitful in many ways a cultural studies approach to literature can be.' Anglia. Zeitschrift fuer Englische Philologie

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