Articles in Journals
C-1: Herring, Phillip F. "The Bedsteadfastness of Molly Bloom." MFS 15, 1969. 59-61.
Providing a good summary of previous criticism and writings about Molly Bloom, Herring deals with the subject of how to deal with Molly's "infidelity" along with analyzing Joyce's reasons for creating her as he did. Parallels to Nora Joyce and Molly Bloom are made, coming down somewhat harshly on Nora, writing that Joyce "desperately needed the sympathy and understanding which Nora was unable, or unwilling to give" (50). Cites J. Mitchell Morse and E. R. Steinberg as two of Molly's "severist" critics (57). Comparisons between Molly and Homer's Penelope are explored. Regarding Robert Adams' view of Molly, Herring calls it "eloquently misleading" and says that Adams sees Molly as a "product of bitterness" on Joyce's part, a point to which Herring cannot agree (58). Uses some examples of the "disgusting habits" of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus against the argument that Molly's "earthiness" is evidence of Joyce's bitterness.
Overall, the detailing of the historical lashing that the character of Molly Bloom has undergone is interesting. The argument against Adams and other critics regarding Joyce's intent behind Molly is not supported well enough with textual example.
C-2: Henke, Suzette. "Joyce's Bloom: Beyond Sexual Possessiveness." American Imago 32.4, Winter 1975. 329-334.
Deals with Leopold Bloom's "androgyny" and "sensitivity" before they were quite the catchphrases that they are today. Sees Bloom as unusual, because in Western culture, the empathetic powers that Joyce gives him are usually confines to "artists and women" (329). Mentions Bloom's attraction to "forceful" women, complementing his own vulnerability. Asserts that Joyce felt a close connection to Bloom: "Leopold-Ulysses is both the man that Joyce was and the husband that he feared to be" (330). The familiar theme of Molly as earth-mother/Gea-Tellus is discussed. Some Freudian theories are mentioned, including a statement that critics have neglected to explore the "ultimate implications of Bloom's oedipal attachment." Sees U as the first portrayal in literature of an "open marriage that works" (332-333). On the whole, a worthwhile essay which could benefit from more focus. Although she tries to cover too much ground, Henke's scholarship is exemplary and her comments are thought-provoking.
C-3: Burgan, Mary. "Androgynous Fatherhood in 'Ulysses' and 'Women in Love'." MLQ 44.2, June 1983. 178-197.
Deals with the "ideal" of "androgynous fatherhood" in Joyce and Lawrence, using U and Women in Love for analysis: "For James Joyce and for D. H. Lawrence the portrait of the artist as a young man is the narrative of a hero trying to get away from his mother" (178). Asserts that Stephen Dedalus in U and Paul Morel in Sons and Lovers are two of the most "powerful twentieth century advocates of sexual liberation," yet they were threatened by "women's power" as "mother of the artist and mother of the race" (178). Despite the "threat," both Joyce and Lawrence, in their later heroes, including Leopold Bloom, display an urge to "assimilate the maternal attributes of gestation, birth, giving, generativity, and watchful care" (179). Burgan's discussion of Stephen's feelings about his mother is very worthwhile, writing of the "fleshly timebound claims of motherhood" that bore down upon Stephen (185). Touches upon Molly Bloom as "Earth-Mother" in a positive note, yet says that Molly gains only "partial and grudging entry for the 'female' creative potential" (188). Despite scholarship to the contrary, Burgan writes that Joyce did not "wish to subsume one sex to the other" in an androgynous union (191).
C-4: Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Gubar. "Sexual Linguistics: Gender, Language, Sexuality." NLH 16.3, Spring 1985. 515-544.
Deals effectively with past and current thinking and trends in the area of gendered language. Dale Spender, Sally McConnell-Ginet and others are cited as "uncovering the male monopoly of language that reinforces a more general male cultural primacy" (519). Deals with theories of Lacan, Derrida, and Levi-Straus. Many feminist theorists are cited: Cixous, Irigaray, Kristeva. Comments on Joyce and U include calling Joyce the twentieth century's "greatest master of linguistic transformation" and U a transformation of a "comment on Homer's epic into a charm that inaugurated a new patrilinguistic epoch" (534). Taking examples from "Oxen of the Sun," Gilbert and Gubar say that Joyce wrestles "patriarchal power from the mother tongue" (535). Most of the commentary on U is in a negative vein, grouping him with those that use a "masculinist syntax of subordination" (539). Feminist Joyceans often clash with Gilbert and Gubar's rejection of Joyce and their more extreme views, which they assert very eloquently.
C-5: Attridge, Derek. "Molly's Flow: The Writing of 'Penelope' and the Question of Woman's Language." MFS 35, 1989. 543-565.
Places into perspective and argues against the way critics have used the metaphor of "flow" to denote the style of Molly Bloom's interior monologue. Lists several critics, female and male, who use this metaphor and related ones (rivers, streams, liquids)--Blamires, Burgess, French, Hayman, Unkeless, Card, Boheemen, and others. Characterizing Molly's language as "flowing" occurs in "almost every attempt to characterize the style" of "Penelope" (544). Shows differences in linguistic and symbolic conventions Joyce uses to represent Leopold's, Stephen's, and Molly's thoughts. "Flow" and its related metaphors only seems to be applied to describe Molly's language. Questions why this particular metaphor is almost universally selected and challenges the critical tendency to associate this flow, this "emblematically signaled continuity" with the "female mind" (549). Makes excellent points about how readers and critics bring gender assumptions into the reading of "Penelope" and all literature. This essay took a new approach and asked fresh questions. Highly recommended.
C-6: Booker, M. Keith. "The Baby in the Bathwater: Joyce, Gilbert, and Feminist Criticism." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 32.3, Fall 1990. 446-447.
Uses Sandra Gilbert's article "Costumes of the Mind: Transvestism as Metaphor in Modern Literature" (1982), a discussion of Joyce's treatment of the "motif of transvestism" in the "Circe" episode, as a way to tackle issues of how Joyce "genders" language and whether he is appropriated by the patriarchal system. Also gives some background into ways that Joyce and feminists "clearly seem to be natural allies" (446). Sees Joyce's treatment of "gender roles" in U as more of a "by-product" of his treatment of "more generalized" concern for dealing with the traditional "Western models of the unified subject." Asserts that Joyce himself has been "largely appropriated" by such patriarchal and traditional systems of authority, and has been "converted into one of their major symbols" (447). Posits the problem of modern feminism is that it must position itself in a way to initiate a "subversive dialogue with the patriarchal tradition" without being "absorbed" and "assimilated" by the powerful tradition (447).
Admits that there is a "certain air of misogyny and male anxiety floating around" the text of U (448), yet thinks that Gilbert's "hostility" to "poststructural readings" influences her view of Joyce's works. Asserts that Gilbert cannot seem to get past authorial intent. What Gilbert and Gubar "seem to be saying" is that Joyce makes his language "intentionally complex and opaque" so that it is "too difficult for women to read" (459). One of his arguments against this is that a large number of Joycean scholars have been women, and feminists, including Cixous, Lawrence, Henke, and French.
Makes some valid points in his argument against Gilbert's perspective, but does not go to the text of U enough to back up his authority.
C-7: Callow, Heather Cook. "'Marion of the Bountiful Bosoms': Molly Bloom and the Nightmare of History." Twentieth Century Literature 36, Winter 1990. 464-476.
Attempts to "reclaim" through a linear reading the "realistic" Molly revealed in the "unfolding subjet of the text, the chronological story as Joyce chose to disclose it" (464). Mentions Elaine Unkeless's focus on the "conventional" Molly and asserts that criticism has not paid enough attention to Molly as conventional because Joyce does not make it easy to do so: "Joyce structured the narrative in such a way that the voices of male Dublin...weigh heavily in our initial assessment of Molly, and their testimony comes down forcefully" (465). Posits that because the reader gets to "know" Molly through the viewpoints of the men in the novel, that this colors their perception when they get to "Penelope." Asserts that women's voices are "marginal" in U, and that the male voices "distort" our image of Molly (467). Goes off topic a bit with an inquiry into actually "how fat" Molly really is, concluding that Molly is neither an "unfairly framed, unpalatable slut" nor is she the "seductive Mrs. Marion." Realistically, she is a "comely woman whose figure is beginning to exceed the limits of voluptuousness" (468). Surveys part of Molly's critical history and the attacks against her for "wanton sexuality" and assertions of her deficiencies in "housewifely, wife ly, and motherly qualities," showing how these are exaggerations at best (468). Discusses Molly's relationship with Milly and that the mother does not want the daughter to make the "same mistakes," that she wants a better life for her daughter: "Molly's sensitivity to the shortcomings of her own life reveals that she has greater understanding than she is often given credit for" (469).
This article was welcome in that it tried to plow through some of the Molly myths and the extreme views on both sides of the controversy, trying to view Molly as a "real" woman rather than an archetype or as a horrible, slovenly, adulteress.
C-8: Scott, Bonnie Kime. "Riding the 'Vicociclometer': Women and the Cycles of History in Joyce." JJQ 28.4, Summer 1991, 827-839.
Positions current Joycean criticism as having "traversed new criticism and structuralism," with "one wheel still in psychoanalytic and linguistic poststructuralism, we cycle or rather re-cycle into materialist, historical territory" (827). Traces the way that Joyce uses the "cycle" of women, including menstruation, in Joyce's work in so far as scholars have analyzed it. Adds to the discourse a look at how "bicycles" are mentioned in U, and the relationship of Joyce's female and male characters to them. Mentions Derek Attridge usurping the "critical fixation on a flowing, feminine language in Molly's monologue" (830). Cites Rebecca West and Julia Kristeva as two critics who have struggled with the feminine cycle in Joyce. Writes of Kristeva's attempts to "write women into history via her version of the feminine cycle" (827). Gives some analysis of the difference between "generations" of feminists, including Joyceans. Uses in her title the "vicociclometer" from FW that "allows Joyce to enjoy and undo the many senses of the word cycle" (831).
An interesting essay, although its movement from the female cycle of menstruation to bicycles may seem like a stretch.
C-9: Wicke, Jennifer. "'Who's She When She's at Home?' Molly Bloom and the Work of Consumption." JJQ 28.4, Summer 1991. 749-764.
Appears in an issue of JJQ focusing on "history" and Joyce, a compilation of papers from the Joyce and History Conference at Yale, October 1990. Applying what seems to be a combination of economic, socialist, Marxist, and feminist theory, this essay deals with how Molly is a "consumer" and how being a consumer is also a form of labor. Describes Ireland of Joyce's day as being a consumer in that its only product for internal consumption and exporting was Guinness Stout. It was extremely dependent on (and used by) England as the "source of agricultural raw materials...and perhaps as a captive market for the injection of its own industrial goods..." (750).
Readers and critics have come to equate Molly with "Home": "Molly as the plump period, which marks the domestic spot." Sees a "blindness" in scholarship ignoring the "richness of her culture of consumption" (750). Decides to avoid the debates over whether Molly is a "real," "good," or a "bad" woman, in favor of "tracing the metempsychotic consequences" of her "consumption" which is "assuredly gendered" and that has "stakes beyond...sexual politics of Ulysses" (751). Consumption can be labor, and Wicke asserts that "Molly as consumer subject is doing cognitive, analytic work" (751). Cites Georg Simmel as the modernist who is "most persuasive" in interrogating the "psychosocial aspects of consumption" (753). Includes an interesting analysis of how Molly is "attuned" to fashion, and that her interpretation of fashion should be seen as exerting mental energy and as a "productive use of what she consumes" (757). Wicke's main point seems to be that Molly "at home" has been traditionally seen as not actively working or producing, but that her consumption is not idle or without value.
C-10: Klein, Scott W. "Speech Lent by Males: Gender, Identity, and the Example of Stephen's Shakespeare." JJQ 30.3, 1993, 439-449.
Sees themes of "gender, inauthenticity, and theatrical artifice" contained in Ulysses' "aesthetic argument," using Stephen Dedalus's Shakespeare speech as example (439). Says that Stephen's Shakespeare speech is often read as a 'defense" of patriarchal model of creativity, and that it provides a theoretical model that casts light not only upon the male authorship...but, in an episode devoid of women's voices, also indirectly illuminates the problematic question of Joyce's masculine presentation of female speech (439).
Asks the question, "To what degree...is this vision of the male artist open to feminist articulation?" (449) Asserts that the male artists in U are as "divided" as the female subject, and that Stephen's lecture suggests a "context, if not an apologia, for female speech in Joyce: that the male creator...is not free from the divisions of artifice that are inseparable from his creation, or his 'lending' of a gendered voice" (448). Makes some good points, but argument is hard to follow at times.
C-11: Garvey, Johanna X. K. "City Limits: Reading Gender and Urban Spaces in 'Ulysses'." Twentieth Century Literature 41.1, Spring 1995. 108-123.
Applying spatial analysis to U, Garvey calling it the "modern city novel par excellence" and a "multifaceted exploration of space." Gives a historical overview of feminist critiques of space in literature, including the ideas of Claudine Herrmann and Julia Kristeva. Asserts that U's Dublin can be seen as initially feminine-gendered, "only to be filled in and thus conquered, to become a space of male power" (108). Sees the process of this conquering of space as excluding the women from "active participation in urban life" (108). Suggests that Joyce used metaphors of mastery over the feminine in order to show that this attempt to conquer will "deaden and falsify all human experience." Asks the question--Does U observe "traditional categories of masculine and feminine" and "implicitly critique and subvert these gender constructions?" (109). Although Garvey does not "answer" these questions, the implicit conclusion is that she supports the idea of Joyce as deconstructing gender. Overall, Garvey's ideas are strong, and the questions she addresses are timely and important.
Originally written for a project in a course in
Arts & Humanities Reference, Spring 1996,
taught by Professor Don Krummel, UIUC GSLIS
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