While many modernist authors exhibited eugenicist tendencies which I While many modernist authors exhibited eugenicist tendencies which I will detail in this paper, Joyce wrote, implicitly and explicitly, against it. Joyce’s anti-eugenics aesthetic, expressed almost in passing by Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man (1916), becomes entangled in questions of bodies and national identity in Ulysses. I intend to identify a series of moments in which disgust and bodily difference in Ulysses counter the eugenics trends in elitist modernism while simultaneously criticizing racism in Irish nationalism that, in some ways, drove the movement for Irish independence. It would be impossible to provide and exhaustive exploration of all the anti-eugenics imagery in Ulysses. this project attempts to differentiate Joyce more thoroughly from his contemporaries through readings of Gerty MacDowell and Molly Bloom. Gerty is the disabled granddaughter of a racist nationalist, and she functions as an articulation of Joyce’s search for an Ireland that rejects simplistic, narrow-minded nationalism. Molly, Ulysses’ ultimate heroine, takes ownership of her sexuality, thereby countering the eugenics project. I read both women as counter-eugenics icons who personify an anti-hegemonic ideal through their relationships with their own bodies.
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BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Belnap, Lizzie, "“God’s fair land of Ireland did not hold her equal”: Disgust As an Anti-Eugenics Tool in James Joyce’s Ulysses" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 9551.
james joyce, disability studies, Ulysses, modernism, eugenics, disgust, fat studies, female sexuality, irish studies