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Looking at Animals without Seeing Them: Havelock Ellis in the “Circe” Episode of Ulysses

Centre for Manuscript Genetics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp 2000, Belgium
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 73;
Submission received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)


Taking wing from Joyce’s reading of Havelock Ellis’s Studies in the Psychology of Sex, in which the Irish writer found an account of cross-species sexual contact, this essay explores Leopold Bloom’s animal metamorphosis in the “Circe” episode of Ulysses. It argues that this encounter with the nonhuman animal is subordinated to the cause of working through barriers of human difference. In the process, the animal that enables this reconciliation disappears. Unable to represent animal interiority, “Circe” settles for merely probing their interiors.

What a wonderful animal is the horse!
James Joyce to Giorgio and Helen Joyce, 27 April 1935 (Joyce 1957, p. 363).

1. Introduction

Hands down, the violation of Leopold Bloom in the “Circe” episode of Ulysses (1922) ranks among the novel’s greatest outrages. Before an audience of bidders, Bella, the brothel madam, takes on the role of an auctioneer and, coded male as Bello, “bares his arm and plunges it elbowdeep” (U 15.3089) in the adman’s newly endowed vulva.1 More than Bloom’s asparaginous defecation in the garden privy at 7 Eccles Street, more than his seaside masturbation at the sight of a young woman “lean[ing] back ever so far” (U 13.717–18) to show off her underwear, and, indeed, much more than the real-life girls who, in the words of Jane Heap, “lean back everywhere” (Heap 1920, p. 6),2 this parody of the bourgeois marriage market turned livestock inspection offends against both modesty and verisimilitude alike. Bloom may stool and masturbate in the earlier episodes, but it is his violation at the hands of Bello that, ninety-five years after the first publication of Ulysses, still retains most viscerally its power to shock.
One reason for this evergreen offence is that the antebrachial rummage marks a breach of another order. Readers who have weathered “Circe’s” reign of fantastic detail and hallucinatory recapitulation—its singing bars of soap and flying kisses, its quotations and cameos recycled from the rest of the novel—still baulk at the incongruity of Bloom’s anatomical flip. This particular departure from verisimilitude does not immediately square with any of the usual explanations advanced for the chapter’s recurrent irreality, for its playful and persistent blurring of boundaries and subjectivities. Here, one might think of psychoanalytic treatments that centre on Joyce’s own psychodrama or on the episode’s logic of recurrence (see, for example, (Shechner 1974; Brivic 1980)) or of the many versions of textual memory/textual unconscious that have gained traction in accounts of the episode (Lawrence 1981; Ferrer 1988; Hampson 1994). At issue is the dual character of Bloom’s transformation. For the showroom demonstration of virtue, with its connotations of fisting on the one hand, and foal or calf delivery and “artificial insemination by means of syringes” (U 14.969–70) on the other, takes place as part of a more fundamental transformation. Bloom becomes not solely female but, by turns, an intersexual dog, horse (or pony), cow, and chicken.3 This veritable farmyard of fanciful metamorphoses enjoys a Homeric precedent or correspondence—the sorceress Circe, who makes swine of Odysseus’s crewmen—but, for all its zoological inflection, obscures the very nonhuman animals it purports to represent. This erasure is doubly felt when one knows the immediate extra-Joycean source for Bello’s assault on Bloom: an account of the brachiovaginal penetration of a stable horse, which Joyce found in the work of Havelock Ellis.
Taking wing from the preparatory reading undertaken for “Circe”, this essay explores the ways in which the episode’s representation of human-animal metamorphosis derives, in part, from a contemporary account of cross-species fetishism or ‘zoophilia’. The essay shows how, in “Circe”, as in Joyce’s reading material, the encounter with the nonhuman works to traverse barriers of human difference (gender and religious creed foremost among them) but, in the process, erases the very animal that facilitates this reconciliation. Such a gesture literalizes, at the level of modernist composition, recent work on the horse as “modernity’s (repeatedly) superseded Other”, in Maria Pramaggiore’s phrase (Pramaggiore 2015, p. 216). For Pramaggiore, the horse’s functional replacement by the train—tellingly, the ‘Iron Horse’—or, later, by the car stands in for the break with the past which is axiomatic to one definition of modernism (Pramaggiore 2015, p. 216). Elsewhere, Pramaggiore gives as an example of such equine replacement the case of Dublin tramway electrification, which, by 1904, had completed its transition from horses to overhead power-lines (Pramaggiore 2016, p. 143). 1904 is, of course, also the setting in time for Ulysses. Small wonder, then, that when an actual, flesh-and-blood horse finally makes an appearance in “Circe”, in the episode’s closing lines, it should be conveying an undertaker’s assistant and thereby figuratively yoked to death and supersession. But for all the episode’s truck with the unconscious and its vaunted animality—Fritz Senn justifiably characterizes “Circe” as “a zoo filled with everything from elephants to moths” (Senn 1994, p. 78)—the episode cannot rise to the representation of animal interiority; it settles for merely probing their interiors.
Bloom’s vulva and its invasion have plumbed the depths of readers’ credibility and critical ingenuity. We are with Joyce when he juggles the representation of inner and outer worlds; less so when that immixture is mapped onto Bloom’s body and without a sanctioning warrant. David Kurnick, for example, acclaims the scene as “the chapter’s most obscene and psychically meaningful event” (Kurnick 2012, p. 187), and he reads Bloom’s female sex organs as a synecdoche for the interpretive difficulties that beset readers of the episode as a whole. To Colleen Lamos, by contrast, it is all too clear what is afoot: the anatomical reversal allows Bloom’s anal desires to be reframed heterosexually, thereby displacing explicitly homosexual contact onto a more containable sexual model (Lamos 1998). For Suzette A. Henke, the scene of penetration traces the “indelible signs of woman’s enslavement to male phallocentric desire” (Henke 1990, p. 115). Such was life in a high theory outhouse.
Other critics treat Bloom’s manhandling in terms of a textual spur and reprise.4 David Cotter sees the moment as a masochistic revisiting of the bird-girl epiphany from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), with the Apollonian distance between Stephen Dedalus and the young woman whom he idealises on Dollymount Strand annihilated: “She is now all orifice, and anything but untouchable” (Cotter 2003, p. 193). M. Keith Booker identifies an intertext external to Joyce’s oeuvre as the connecting tissue and links Bloom’s degradation with the anxieties of “unmanning” recounted in the memoirs of Daniel Paul Schreber (Booker 1995, p. 60). Finding a literary antecedent more compelling, Scarlett Baron lights on Gustave Flaubert’s La Tentation de Saint Antoine, citing the Queen of Sheba’s attempted seduction of Antony as a model for the skewed gender dynamics that play out in the episode (Baron 2012). “Flaubertian hues” (Baron 2012, p. 160) or Freudian highlights may well colour one’s reading of the passage, but the immediate context for Joyce’s writing—his source—is found considerably closer to home. For this particular encounter with the nonhuman is ultimately Irish in origin.
It was in Ellis’s ground-breaking Studies in the Psychology of Sex (1897–1928) that Joyce found the makings of Bello’s assault on Bloom. A section of volume five of the series devoted to “Animals as Sources of Erotic Symbolism” addresses the subject of men and women who “find gratification in the sexual manipulation of animals without any kind of congress” (Ellis 1906, pp. 71, 85). By way of example, the English sexologist quotes extensively from a letter sent to him by an Irish priest. The clergyman describes how, as a twenty-year-old, he had spied on his neighbour, the daughter of a Church of Ireland archdeacon, as she fisted her father’s mare. This instance of peeping Tommery and brachiovaginal invasion was Joyce’s immediate source for the elbow-deep violation of Bloom, as a commonplace-notebook for Ulysses that is now at the National Library of Ireland reveals.

2. What the Manuscripts Say

Joyce was a methodical writer, his creative process founded on what Luca Crispi terms “certain very practical habits and pragmatic techniques” (Crispi 2016, p. 75). By the time he turned to the composition of “Circe”, on or about June 1920, this set of practices had been streamlined into a highly developed and systematic workflow for generating text. Elements from the cutting-room floor, unused in the drafting of earlier episodes, were upcycled to oversize sheets of notes or ‘notesheets’ (Herring 1972) and there clustered together alongside the new fruits of a campaign of wide-ranging preparatory reading. Joyce’s chief interest as a reader lay in appropriable textual content. His note-taking or “notesnatching”, in Samuel Beckett’s term (quoted in Pilling 1999, p. xiii), yielded a rich harvest of single words and short phrasal excerpts or extracts, shorn of their originating context and set down largely verbatim but without regard to their wider signification or precise order in a source. By dint of this ‘radical intertextuality’ (Baron 2011), horsey and animal elements—or, indeed, gleanings related to any other motif or minor thematic—were subjected to a thoroughgoing decontextualization. As a way of storing and retrieving useful information, Joyce’s practice proved to be ‘horses for courses’, as it were, but it also meant that the nonhuman animal retreated ever further from the scene of writing.
Crispi contrasts these “lexical notes” or verbatim borrowings with the “conceptual prompts” that also feature in the note repositories (Crispi 2016, pp. 78–79). It is important to realise that Joyce recorded notes of both type with little to no sense of how they would be integrated into the episode at hand and, indeed, either could be derived from his reading or from personal experience (if not invented outright). Putting all of this raw material to work involved a labour-intensive process of sorting and re-sorting notes into new arrangements on the notesheets and in the children’s exercise copybooks that Joyce employed for this two-part process of winnowing and combination. The results were accreted to a given episode at every stage in the compositional process.
In the case of “Circe”, a single notesheet now at the British Library contains both the lexical notes and conceptual prompts that Joyce brought together in late 1920 to produce the earliest drafts of the auction scene. Explicit animal elements are almost entirely absent at this stage, and what there is does not derive from Ellis.5 Entries on the notesheet such as “LB [Leopold Bloom] auctioned”, “a man I know named Charles Albert Marsh”, “you can touch & examine”, “handles him”, “the bidding”, “bidder for another”, and “breath good” (Herring 1972, pp. 316–18) indicate the ways in which Joyce expanded on a kernel idea by drawing in neighbouring lexical fragments. The earliest version of the scene appears in the holograph fair copy, a document produced for typists in the winter of 1920–1921. At this stage of the compositional process, Joyce had abandoned bound copybooks in favour of loose leaves as his writing material, a practise that allowed him to substitute heavily-revised single sheets of his manuscript with clean fair copy. The auction appears midway through a site of such “sectional revision”, in Hans Walter Gabler’s characterization (Joyce [1922] 1986, p. 1881), at a point in the manuscript where a single now-missing sheet foliated ‘51’ was removed, fair copied and replaced with a run of six sheets numbered ‘51’ and ‘51a’ through ‘51e’. Such alphabetical contortions to maintain consistent pagination can only hint at the overburdened nature of the original, now-discarded folio 51. What this means is the physical document on which Joyce first drafted the auction scene no longer survives. Evidently, however, the entire set-piece was interpolated into what was, at the time, a single long speech by Bello (now covering U 15.3073–84 and 15.3115–3122). In the following extract from the fair copy or Rosenbach manuscript of “Circe”, it is the brothel keeper who opens the exchange:
A man I know on the turf named Charles Albert Marsh is on the lookout for a maid of all work at a short knock. Swell the bust. Smile. Droop shoulders. What offers?
A Bidder
A florin.
A Voice
One and eightpence too much.
Charles Albert Marsh
Must be a virgin. Good breath. Clean.
Touch and examine shis points. Handle hrim. What advance on two bob?
A Darkvisaged Man
(in disguised accent) Hundred pounds[.]
(subdued) For the Caliph. Haroun Al Raschid.
(Joyce 1975, pp. 51c–d, base text; now U 15.3084–113)
After the Voices’ subdued guess, Bello returns to his theme of transvestism, and his sartorial inventiveness resumes as though uninterrupted. Such articles as “fortythreebutton gloves” (U 15.3079) and “gilded heels” (U 15.3083) are mentioned right before the auction; immediately after, Bello leads with “[t]he scanty, daringly short skirt, riding up at the knee to show a peep of white pantalette” (U 15.3115–16). The interpolated auction scene went on to triple in size over the course of further writing and revision, expanding from 83 words on the fair copy to 250 words in the first-edition Ulysses (Joyce 1922). What is most striking, however, is that in this early version Bloom is neither explicitly female (the epicene or androgynous “shis” and “hrim” aside) nor yet a nonhuman animal. To be sure, he has already undergone porcine metamorphosis at this point (see U 15.2830–55), and Bello does invite potential bidders to examine Bloom’s “points”—that is, to inspect those qualities or features “in the appearance of an animal (esp. a horse) by which it may be assessed” (OED 2017). As early as the 1830s, however, this terminology of the livestock trade had been applied to the slave markets or, rather, mobilized in the language of slavery’s critics (see (Hamilton 1833; Savory 1903)). Marcus Wood describes the ways in which the comparison of slaves with horses became “a staple of abolition propaganda” (Wood 2002, p. 368) by the mid-nineteenth century, a conceit that culminated in Thomas Carlyle’s satirical call for equine emancipation in his Latte Day Pamphlets. Earnest or ironic, such cases offer an historical correlate for the ‘dreaded comparison’, in Marjorie Spiegel’s book of that title (Spiegel 1988), which identifies parallels between the historical institution of slavery and our present-day treatment of nonhuman animals. Animality is also suggested in the auction scene, however implicitly, through the description of Charles Albert Marsh. To be “on the turf” (U 15.3084) is to be engaged in prostitution (OED 2017), but the phrase also carries connotations of the racecourse (‘the Turf’) and hence of horse-racing more generally.
For Carrie Rohman, such acts of displacement onto the marginalized other—whether the slave or the sex worker—repress the animality that “stalks Western subjectivity in the modernist age” (Rohman 2009, p. 63), but in Joyce’s careful revisions to the auction scene, there is nothing so neat as either outright denial or tacit embrace of the animal’s radical alterity. Rather, the slow intrusion of the nonhuman into the scene, effected over the course of several rounds of revision, is always complicated by human-animal metamorphosis, by gender reversals, and most overtly by an incongruous, chimera-like inundation of animal types, both real and fanciful. This zoological pile-up begins as early as a long interlinear addition that Joyce made on the Rosenbach manuscript in late 1920 or early 1921. Unambiguously coded, this addition has Bello enumerate Bloom’s physical qualities, culminating in the adman’s identification as a dairy animal: “This downy skin, these soft muscles, this tender flesh. If I had only my gold piercer. And quite easy to milk. Three gallons a day” (Joyce 1975, p. 51c; now U 15.3104–5). At this juncture, Bloom appears to be a cow or, at the very least, to be thought of as one. His milk yield derives from the note “3 gallons a day” found on the same notesheet that provided the basic components for the auction. In other words, it was material proximity on the notesheet as much as any animality implicit in Joyce’s thinking or inchoate on the draft—Marsh “on the turf”, for example—that precipitated the wholesale animalization of Bloom.
Difficulties encountered during the typing of “Circe” in early 1921 (for which see (Beach 1959)) necessitated the production of a scribal copy of the episode’s Rosenbach manuscript that spring. Not one to pass up an opportunity to revise, Joyce began complicating Bloom’s presentation as placid milch cow. “Three gallons a day” became “three newlaid gallons” (Joyce 1977a, p. 297; now U 15.3105), thereby introducing a laying hen onto the auction block. Bloom’s pedigree also appeared: “His sire’s milk record was a thousand in forty weeks” (Joyce 1977a, p. 297; now U 15.3106–7), a claim whose effortless comingling of male and female elements belies its biological impossibility, since a sire is the male parent of a quadruped (hence, a stallion or bull). In fine, then, Bloom’s parentage involves an animal metaphor made improbable flesh, as ‘milking the bull’ is proverbial for a fruitless or futile endeavour.
The introduction of this balanced imbalance, so to speak, next spread to neighbouring units in the scene, causing them to teeter and quickly destabilize. In the first of two rounds of deft revisions and additions to the typescript of “Circe”, Joyce muddled Marsh’s gender identity, renaming the sex worker “Charles Alberta Marsh”,6 and he characterized the bovine-galline Bloom as “a pure stockgetter” (Joyce 1977b, pp. 103–4; now U 15.3084; 15.3099 & 15.3105–6). A stock-getter is an animal kept for breeding purposes—typically the phrase appears as a “sure stock-getter” (see, for example, Allen 1846, p. 26)—but, again, this represents the male of the species, whether a ram, stallion, cock, or bull. Joyce may have had such animal ambiguity in mind when he mentioned the episode’s “intricate zoological design” to Harriet Shaw Weaver in a letter of early May 1921 (Joyce 1957, p. 164).
Returning to the typescript in the summer and early autumn of that year, Joyce specified that, as a stock-getter, Bloom was “due to lay within the hour” (Joyce 1977b, p. 250; now U 15.3106). Insofar as this addition removes one ambiguity (what species is Bloom the stock-getter?), it does so only by positing further biological impossibilities (he is an egg-laying male chicken). Henke is surely correct to correlate these “agricultural postures”, Bloom’s production of milk and eggs, with his “mammary obsession and henpecked connubial role” (Henke 1990, p. 115). But at this stage of the scene’s development, the flesh-and-blood nonhuman animal is further away than ever. Not only has the superabundance of domesticated-animal hybrids effectively displaced the living animal, but these real-life animal species have themselves to compete with the metaphorical or mythical beasts conjured up by Joyce’s revisions (a cock’s egg, for example, is the primary ingredient for hatching the serpent-like cockatrice).
Further work only exacerbated this tendency. To Bello’s call of “What offers?” on the Rosenbach manuscript (Joyce 1975, p. 51c), Joyce had added “(he points) For that” on the scribal copy (Joyce 1977a, p. 296). As part of the second typescript revisions, he heightened the connotations of the auction mart by tweaking Bello’s dialogue to “For that lot” (Joyce 1977b, p. 250; now U 15.3088) and then plunged into further metamorphoses. Bloom was now “Trained by kindness” (Joyce 1977b, p. 250), a callback to the “Cyclops” episode that Joyce immediately deleted as the phrase had already appeared elsewhere in the episode (U 15.688; compare U 12.493). Instead, Bloom as dog was “[t]rained by owner to fetch and carry, basket in mouth” (Joyce 1977b, p. 250; now U 15.3088). On the following sheet of typescript, he added the first version of Bello’s repellent act and accompanying patter: “(He bares his arm and plunges it up to the elbow in Bloom’s vulva) There’s fine depth for you! What, boys?” (Joyce 1977b, p. 251; now U 15.3088–90). The equine inflection of this addition, absent if implicit on the typescript, continued further down the sheet, where Joyce intensified the terms of Bello’s hard sell: “Two bar. Rockbottom figure and cheap at the price. Fourteen hands high” (Joyce 1977b, p. 251; now U 15.3088–90). The hand as a unit of measurement is used to quantify the height of horses—the Oxford English Dictionary (OED 2017) records one hand as four inches or approximately 10.2 cm—but, at only fourteen hands high, Bloom is technically a pony.
Most of the elements of the impromptu auction and Bloom’s transformation were in play by the late summer of 1921 when Joyce handed his heavily marked-up typescript over to the compositors at Imprimerie Darantiere. On the galley proofs of “Circe”, pulled that December, Joyce added the callback to “Wandering Rocks” and the action-house employee (or “lacquey”) ringing his handbell (Joyce 1978b, p. 163; now U 15.3094–96; compare U 10.281–82 and passim). He also specified that the milk record for Bloom’s sire was a thousand “gallons of whole milk” in forty weeks and added Bello “brand[ing] his initial on Bloom’s croup”—that is, on the “rump or hind-quarters of a beast, esp. of a horse or other beast of burden” (OED 2017). Continuing to run animal species together, however, he had Bello give vocal commands for both a horse and dog to Bloom: “Whoa, my jewel! Beg up! Whoa!” (Joyce 1978b, p. 164; now U 15.3107–8). The episode is not content to leave the adman animalized for long, it seems. By begging up—standing on his hind legs with his front paws in the air—Bloom, the dog-horse-pony-cow-chicken chimera of domesticated animals, begins his transformation back into a human.
The entire auction scene crossed Joyce’s desk only twice more. Revisions to these page proofs in early January 1922 deepened the auction-house associations—Bello now “gives a rap with his gavel”—and, among other changes, Joyce substituted the nonstandard compound word “elbowdeep” for “up to the elbow” in the vulvic stage direction (Joyce 1978c, pp. 233, 249; now U 15.3102 & 15.3089). The coinage, minted in the closing weeks of Joyce’s work on Ulysses, rivals “snotgreen” and “scrotumtightening” (U 1.78) from the novel’s earliest years and opening pages in terms of its distinctiveness, and the late amendment is likely a factor in the continued viscerality of the entire stage direction. But this enduring charge, for all its novelty, is one born of textual borrowing and reuse. As much is clear from Joyce’s source for the elbow-deep penetration of Bloom: Havelock Ellis and his Irish clergyman correspondent.

3. Havelock Ellis in “Nighttown” (U 15.01)

It was Richard Brown who first put his finger on Joyce’s debt to Ellis in Ulysses. In James Joyce and Sexuality (1985), his study of Joyce’s immersion in contemporary debates on sex and sexuality, Brown notes that the technic of “Nausicaa” in the later Ulysses schema, the contrast between “tumescence” and “detumescence” (Gilbert 1930, p. 258), is “an opposition drawn from sexual science, not from past models of literary form” (Brown 1985, p. 60), and he traces the pairing to volume five of the Studies. Indeed, the word “detumescence” occurs as early as Ellis’s subtitle; ”tumescence” is first mentioned in the preface (Ellis 1906, pp. vi, passim). While the analysis of Joyce’s surviving notebooks lends support to Brown’s hunch that “coincidences of information and terminology” suggest a deep engagement with and knowledge of the Studies (Brown 1985, p. 83), the archival evidence indicates that this reading experience occurred rather late in the writing of Ulysses. The majority of the commonalities that Brown identifies between both writers—inter alia, the erection and orgasm of the hanged man; sexual attraction to a lame woman; and “a perversity which Ellis called ‘Pygmalionism’, the sexual attraction to statues” (Brown 1985, pp. 83–85)—were, simply put, incorporated into Ulysses far too early to derive from the Studies.
It is, of course, entirely possible that Joyce first encountered Ellis’s work earlier than the archival record suggests but that he did not take notes from the Studies at that time (or these notes do not survive). A copy of the third edition of Ellis’s The New Spirit (1906), for example, is present in Joyce’s 1910s Trieste library, which is now at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas (Gillespie 1986). But this supposition does not tally with what we know of Joyce’s reading habits. In particular, a ‘double dip’ into the Studies in so short a space of time seems unlikely. Moreover, the volumes themselves represent such an omnium gatherum of Ellis’s own reading, with his analysis and endless taxonomizing intercut by long excerpts from Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Cesare Lombroso, Alfred Binet, and other authorities, that the points of overlap identified by Brown may stem from each writer’s independent reading of the same sources rather than confirm Joyce’s early familiarity with the Studies. Ellis reproduces the fruits of his research alongside a more amateur, ‘crowdsourced’ ethnography, publishing letters received, reporting overheard testimony, and combing through literature and the classics for appropriable material. Such heterogeneity proved irresistible to Joyce, inveterate borrower of other writers’ borrowings that he was.

3.1. Ellis in Notebook UB MS V.A.2.b

Hereunder are eleven, comma-separated notes that appear sequentially across five lines of one of the surviving commonplace-notebooks, UB MS V.A.2.b. (Joyce 1978a reproduces a colour facsimile; the page in question is headed “Circe”.) In Phillip F. Herring’s transcription, angle parentheses surround the “portion of a phrase […] Joyce found most interesting” (Herring 1977, p. 9), and italicized capital letters indicate the colour of the crayon he used to strike out individual notes, with R for red and G for green. For ease of reference, I have replaced Herring’s citations to the 1934 Random House Ulysses with the corresponding line numbers in the Gabler edition:
   R ⟨play with yrself,⟩ 15.3789
R ⟨pigeon kiss,⟩ 15.492 G ⟨hypocrite,⟩ 15.1757
R ⟨Spank with hair brush,⟩ 15.3077  R ⟨classic face,⟩ 15.1468
R ⟨love passages beneath suspicion,⟩ 15.825  G ⟨selfabuse,⟩ 15.1781
R ⟨fondle,⟩ 15.3083 R ⟨bashful man,⟩ 15.976 catspaw,
G ⟨mast. ideali[z]e love,⟩ 15.1781
These spare gleanings, isolated words and short phrasal extracts, are exemplary of Joyce’s manner of preparatory ‘notesnatching’. All of the material comes from volume five of the Studies, and the eleven entries represent only one of several patchworks of Ellis-derived lexical notes in the notebook. (Indeed, this is one of two such clusters on this page of the notebook alone.) But there is nothing in the archival record to indicate the full degree of Joyce’s engagement with the work—whether or not he thought Ellis’s pseudo-scientism to be hokum, for example, or if the Studies exerted a more sustained influence on his thinking and writing. Indeed, it is not clear how a practice of laconic excerption could accommodate such responses. For all their richness, the surviving prepublication commonplace-notebooks document a programme of reading geared towards composition.
To produce the eleven notes, Joyce mined a long appendix to the volume on “Histories of Sexual Development” (Ellis 1906, pp. 231–73), combing through first-hand (and first-person) testimony from Ellis’s correspondents for appropriable content. Of the five Histories included by Ellis, only the first relates to experiences with nonhuman animals per se; Joyce mined this narrative the most heavily. It is the source for five of his eleven lexical notes. The author, “a university man trained in psychology” (Ellis 1906, p. 231), links his early sexual experiences to the inflicting of pain on domestic animals: “I can clearly recollect many of my efforts to arouse this pleasurable excitement by abusing the dog or the cats, or by prodding the calves with a nail set in the end of a broom handle” (Ellis 1906, p. 233). Next the sadist graduates to what Ellis elsewhere in the volume terms ‘mixoscopic zoophilia’: “the more or less sexual pleasure sometimes experienced, especially by young persons, in the sight of copulating animals” (Ellis 1906, p. 71).7 The university man confesses in the Foucauldian vein that, after years of watching the coitus of animals and experiencing “lively sexual excitement and lustful sensations”, he began to cultivate fantasies of sex with animals, in which he “play[ed] the part of the female animal—a peculiar combination of passive pederasty and bestiality” (Ellis 1906, p. 232). However apposite for “Circe”, none of this material made it into the notebook. Joyce instead zeroes in on two instances of figurative language involving nonhuman animals. A ‘pigeon kiss’ from History IV, a calque of the French baiser en pigeon, is a French kiss; “[c]ataglottism”, as Ellis remarks in the preceding volume of the Studies, “is by no means confined to pigeons” (Ellis 1905, pp. 5–6). A ‘cat’s-paw’ (in History I), “fig. that which comes down like the paw of a cat upon its victim” (OED 2017), is a dupe or pawn.8 On this occasion, at least, his interest lay not in the experience (and, indeed, mistreatment) of living animals but, rather, on animals as the vehicle of metaphor.
The following set of paired quotations makes the case for Ellis as Joyce’s source. Each notebook entry is reprinted, in bold, within a larger unit from the Studies and each is accompanied by its eventual destination in the Gabler Ulysses:
I was about 15 when a maidservant of the house in which I was a boarder, came to my bedroom one night and taught me how to masturbate her. She said that this was a good thing for me to do, and warned me never to ‘play with myself’ as it would kill me, or drive me mad.
(to Bloom, over his shoulder) You can apply your eye to the keyhole and play with yourself while I just go through her a few times.
(U 15.3787–89)
Later on, she [the same maidservant] used to insert my penis into her vulva, while she was rubbing it, at the same time giving me a pigeon kiss. This modus operandi was much appreciated by me.
Mrs Breen
(her pulpy tongue between her lips, offers a pigeon kiss) Hnhn.
(U 15.491–92)
A neurotic solo choir boy friend once spoke of obtaining ejaculation, whereupon I expressed utter ignorance of such an act, little hypocrite that I was.
This vile hypocrite, bronzed with infamy, is the white bull mentioned in the Apocalypse.
(U 15.1757–58; the speaker is Alexander J. Dowie)
She also induced me to play with her genitals as we sat on a sofa in the twilight, and to spank her naked nates with the back of a hair-brush as she lay on a bed
You will dance attendance or I’ll lecture you on your misdeeds, Miss Ruby, and spank your bare bot right well, miss, with the hairbrush.
(U 15.3076–77; the speaker is Bello)
The photograph which I have shows him [the subject’s father] as possessed of a rare classic beauty of features.
(Ellis 1906, p. 241; this is the closest match in the Histories for Joyce’s “classic face”)
A Bellhanger
A classic face! He has the forehead of a thinker.
(U 15.1467–68)
In my ‘love passages’ with girls there has been no serious thought of coitus on my part, and I have never had intercourse with a woman—unless my early experiences with the servant girl be called such. Like all masturbators I always idealized ‘love’ to the utter exclusion of all sensual cravings[.]
It’s perfectly obvious that with the most inherent baseness he has cribbed some of my bestselling copy, really gorgeous stuff, a perfect gem, the love passages in which are beneath suspicion.
(U 15.823–25; the speaker is Philip Beaufoy)
There are three instances of the term ‘self-abuse’ in the Histories:
As early as my sixteenth year I tried to abandon ‘self-abuse’ in all its forms and have repeatedly made the same effort since that time but never with more than very partial success.
When I left this college for ––––––– University I took with me a formidable catalogue of good resolutions, first among which was the determination to abandon all kinds of ‘self-abuse’. I think I kept this one about a month.
I still fought against any premonitory thought of self-abuse, but here, I thought to myself, is a chance of something better that will do me no harm and perhaps good.
He [Bloom] is prematurely bald from selfabuse, perversely idealistic in consequence, a reformed rake, and has metal teeth.
(U 15.1780-82; the speaker is Dr Mulligan)
At night I often found myself longing for the return of my sister, seven years my junior, in order that I might embrace her in bed and fondle her genitals.
My boys will be no end charmed to see you so ladylike, the colonel, above all, when they come here the night before the wedding to fondle my new attraction in gilded heels.
(U 15.3081–83; the speaker is Bello)
I am naturally quiet and bashful to a degree, which has rendered all forms of social intercourse painful through much of my life, and this in spite of a real longing to associate with people on terms of intimacy.
My client, an innately bashful man, would be the last man in the world to do anything ungentlemanly[.]
(U 15.976–77; the speaker is J.J. O’Molloy)
On the rare occasions when my companions admitted me to their counsels I was a willing dupe and catspaw, with the result that I was much in trouble with my teachers.
The word does not occur in Ulysses.
In my ‘love passages’ with girls there has been no serious thought of coitus on my part, and I have never had intercourse with a woman—unless my early experiences with the servant girl be called such. Like all masturbators I always idealized ‘love’ to the utter exclusion of all sensual cravings[.]
He [Bloom] is prematurely bald from selfabuse, perversely idealistic in consequence, a reformed rake, and has metal teeth.
(U 15.1780-82; the speaker is Dr. Mulligan)
The first thing to notice about this material is Joyce’s principle of selection. Susan Brown has observed how Joyce, in his note-taking, often gravitated to material typographically offset with italic font, scare quotes, bullet points, or upper case (Brown 2013). Four out of the eleven notes in the cluster are distinguished by scare quotes. Just as important to recognize, however, is how readily Joyce departs from contextual sense or meaning in the source; ‘love passages’, in the first History, for example, are flirtatious conversations (see sense 16 of ‘passage’ in the OED (2017)) whereas, when invoked by Philip Beaufoy, they are a textual phenomenon encountered in “[t]he Beaufoy books of love” (U 15.825–26; sense 13 in the OED (2017)). Joyce integrated two of the eleven notes (“Spank with hair brush”, “fondle”) into the harangue of Bloom that immediately precedes the auction scene, incorporating them at the same stage of typescript revision that first saw Bello “up to the elbow” in Bloom’s vulva (Joyce 1977b, pp. 250–51). The notebook basis for the latter was a conceptual prompt rather than a lexical note, however, and it is found in a notebook for Ulysses now at the National Library of Ireland.

3.2. Ellis in Notebook NLI MS 36,639/4

Lexical notes from Ellis also crop up in this notebook among the Joyce Papers 2002 (Kenny 2003). Joyce’s borrowings radiate into at least three of the episodes: “Lotus Eaters”, “Circe”, and “Penelope”. The second of four pages of notes for “Circe”, for example, contains the entry “their genitories” (that is, testicles), which Joyce lifted from Ellis’s own quotation of James Howell’s seventeenth-century Epistolae Ho-Elianae and incorporated into the episode on the second round of typescript revisions (Ellis 1906, p. 10; Joyce 1977b, p. 235; now U 15.2600). Immediately adjacent to this note, squeezed into the margin and struck through in red crayon, the following conceptual prompt appears:
Irish girl
hand up to
elbow in
vulva of
(NLI MS 36,639/4, p. [5v], page headed “Circe”)9
Something of “a poem in itself” (U 15.1802), with line breaks reminiscent of the enjambment in William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”, this note derives from a long example appended to Ellis’s discussion of bestiality, which the sexologist codes in terms of class and gender as “the vice of the clodhopper, unattractive to women or inapt to court them” (Ellis 1906, p. 79). Contrasting such base pursuits with “gratification in the sexual manipulation of animals without any kind of congress”, he explicitly frames a long accompanying extract as “an observation communicated to me by a correspondent, a clergyman” (Ellis 1906, p. 85). The latter is quoted at length:
In Ireland, my father’s house adjoined the residence of an archdeacon of the established church. I was then about 20 and was still kept in religious awe of evil ways. The archdeacon had two daughters, both of whom he brought up in great strictness, resolved that they should grow up examples of virtue and piety.
Neither the letter writer nor his quoter elaborates on whether ‘evil ways’ equate with the Church of Ireland generally or just Protestant girls in particular. The priest explains the layout of the adjoining houses, noting that the two families shared a stable that had been subdivided by boarding up a connecting doorway, “as the two stables had formerly been one” (Ellis 1906, p. 85). His narrative continues: “One night I had occasion to go to our stable to search for a garden tool I had missed” (Ellis 1906, p. 85), and the budding horticulturist, on hearing a door open and seeing a glimmer of light through cracks in the boarding, moves to investigate. He soon recognizes “the stately figure of one of the daughters” (Ellis 1906, p. 85), whom he designates ‘F’:
F. was tall, dark, and handsome, but had never made any advances to me, nor had I to her. She was making love to her father’s mare after a singular fashion. Stripping her right arm, she formed her fingers into a cone, and pressed on the mare’s vulva. I was astonished to see the beast stretching her hind legs as if to accommodate the hand of her mistress, which she pushed in gradually and with seeming ease to the elbow. At the same time, she seemed to experience the most voluptuous sensation, crisis after crisis arriving.
Such stuff episodes of Ulysses are made on. The priest’s narrative lends a whole new meaning to the term ‘stable hand’ but, tellingly, the final pronoun refers not to the father’s mare but to the archdeacon’s daughter. The pleasure described is human, then—all too human. Ellis notes that his correspondent, being “exceedingly curious in the matter”, performed a “somewhat similar experiment” with one of his own father’s mares and experienced what the future priest described as “a most powerful sexual battery” (Ellis 1906, p. 85).

4. A Protestant with a Horse

One might wish to link the ambiguous gender coding in the priest’s narrative to Bella/Bello—F. is the proverbial ‘tall, dark, and handsome’—but this ambiguity is an effect of referential drift. As late as the early twentieth century, the phrase had not yet acquired its gender specificity. More promisingly, the priest’s letter recalls Bloom’s own instance of voyeurism in “Circe”, when he spies on Blazes Boylan’s lovemaking with Molly. Again, this is something of a misconstrual as Boylan’s invitation to Bloom to “apply your eye to the keyhole” was part of the episode as early as the Rosenbach manuscript (Joyce 1975, p. 62a; now U 15.3788). In the course of the same typescript revisions that saw Bello first penetrate Bloom’s vulva, Joyce also drew on his note-taking from the fourth of Ellis’s Histories to complement Boylan’s magnanimity. The bill-sticker now suggests that Bloom “apply your eye to the keyhole and play with yourself” (Joyce 1978b, p. 191). With this revision, Joyce pits two separate but unmarked borrowings from Ellis against one another in order to critique the one-sidedness of the Irish priest’s account, a narrative offered solely as evidence of the Protestant girl’s sexual perversion. This is a surveillance unaware of itself as titillated gaze.
Joyce also shines light on this particular blind spot when, in January 1922, and in the course of the penultimate round of his revisions to the scene, he has Bello leeringly ask his audience of auction-goers if “That give you a hardon?” (Joyce 1978c, p. 233; now U 15.3090). This question is also directed at the reader. Joyce’s revision dates to less than a year after the Jefferson Market Courthouse had considered precisely this issue in relation to Ulysses (Gillers 2007). For Bello, the nod to male tumescence is an economic or commercial venture; he wants to show Bloom off to best advantage in the showroom. More immediately, however, that hard-on is also the garden tool missed by the Irish priest, transposed to F’s probing right arm. While Bloom unambiguously acquires a vulva (even if one confined to a stage direction), Bello’s question is also, ultimately, self-directed. Does the brothel keeper gain a hard-on in his/her elbow-deep forearm? Does gender reorientation in the episode produce a corresponding biological changeover?
The scene of voyeurism becomes a moment of instruction, concomitant with the scientistic idiom shot through the priest’s account. “[C]urious” rather than aroused, he tries an “experiment” (Ellis 1906, p. 85). As in the Little Review trial, a medicalized emphasis is presented as a prophylactic to readerly titillation. The priest tries his hand, as it were, at horse fisting without, significantly, any attendant sense of having been led astray or seduced by ‘evil ways’. Unless this rapprochement could be thought to represent a new face of ecumenism? Historically, the Church of Ireland was not noted for its proselytizing efforts, but the account is set in a once-single stable that has been divided in two—the post-Reformation Irish church, perhaps—and across which a highly provisional and nonnormative logic of commonality now operates. The stable is radically unstable, then, and yet it is also the site of an interdenominational congress without any kind of human congress, to vary Ellis’s classification. In short, for all the openness and inclusivity exhibited by the priest’s account, the role of the nonhuman animal as a conduit remains a persistent blind spot for Ellis, as for Joyce. A female horse works to overcome barriers of creed and human gender but disappears, refined out of existence, in the process.
Joyce’s gleanings from the Studies tend to subordinate the nonhuman to human gender and biological sex. As much is clear from two additional notes recorded in the National Library notebook. The first of these, a marginal phrase two pages from the “Irish girl” material, reads “Χοιρος = sow cunt” (NLI MS 36,639/4, p. [7v]). Ultimately, this linguistic double-gloss on the word ‘khoîros’ would be treated as a lexical note and lent itself to what is among Joyce’s most grossly misogynistic turns when Bella’s “sowcunt barks” (U 15.3489; Joyce 1978c, p. 263). The notebook entry derives from a footnote in the Studies in which Ellis remarks “[i]t is worth noting that in Greek the work [sic] χοῖρος means both a sow and a woman’s pudenda; in the Acharnians Aristophanes plays on this association at some length” (Ellis 1906, p. 86 n. 1). The second note, “womb animal in body gasping for breath” (NLI MS 36,639/4, p. [12v]), is equally misogynistic and derives from Ellis’s scholarship on the female orgasm. Conflating the experience “in women, as in mares, bitches, and other animals”, Ellis describes how the uterus changes shape during orgasm, “descending lower into the pelvis, with its mouth open intermittently, so that, as one writer remarks, spontaneously recurring to the simile which commended itself to the Greeks, ‘the uterus might be likened to an animal gasping for breath’” (Ellis 1906, p. 160).
Joyce’s third-hand quotation is thus from Barton Cooke Hirst’s 1898 A Text-book of Obstetrics (cited in Ellis 1906, p. 160 n. 2), but his note-taking and usage indicate a propensity to run together the human female and the nonhuman animal to the exclusion of the latter. Whether understood from a philological or physiological standpoint, female reproductive and sexual anatomy are treated as animalistic or animal-like. To be sure, Joyce picked up on this conflation in the course of his reading of Ellis. But his attribution of a “sowcunt” to Bella right at the moment in “Circe” when the brothel keeper reassumes her female gender—“[t]he figure of Bella Cohen stands before him” (U 15.3479)—is complicit with rather than deconstructive of this brutalizing logic. In other words, for an episode so free-ranging and free-wheeling over the boundaries of human difference, the basic association with the nonhuman animal is still brutal. Indeed, Joyce doubles down on the trope of woman as animal by specifying Bella’s animalized sex organ “barks” (U 15.3489). One is reminded of the twenty-one-year-old Joyce’s fondness, as reported by his brother Stanislaus, for the degrading epigram “Woman is an animal that micturates once a day, defecates once a week, menstruates once a month, and parturates once a year” (Joyce 1971; the diary entry is dated 26 September 1903). In repressing the animality that “stalks” Western subjectivity (Rohman 2009, p. 63), then, the most pernicious act of animal displacement is onto the marginalized other nonpareil—woman.
This set of associations, some reliant on the archival record, some hiding in plain sight on the page, goes some way towards explaining the enduring shock value of Bello’s “elbowdeep” penetration of Bloom. On the one hand, the make-believe of transvestism and dress-up on either side of the auction scene finally confronts an unequivocal alteration in biological sex. The productive ambiguities of gender fluidity, so central to the episode’s workings, are dissolved by sex reassignment and shredded by Bello’s fisting rape of Bloom. On the other hand, the act of fisting is doubly animal-like, both bestial and brutalizing, and provokes a reaction of disgust in the reader uninured to such outright violence by “Circe’s” sexual politics. Inasmuch as animal motifs and animalization function as the vehicle for the episode’s exploration of gender, just what is accomplished when that play is momentarily suspended in the brutal rape of a woman? For Kurnick, Bloom’s penetration is “a moment of failed deixis, a pointing without a referent” (Kurnick 2012, p. 187); indeed, the act of fisting cannot even rise to titillation, as Bello’s question, “That give you a hardon?” (U 15.3090), makes clear.
Yet, for all this gratuitousness, implicit in the scene, explicit in Joyce’s notebook, is an equation of female reproductive and sexual anatomy with the nonhuman animal. Where exactly does this animalization occur? Perhaps the final element of the penetration scene’s shock value, then, is the fact that this animalization is both visible and also out of sight—off stage, as it were. The linguistic gloss on ‘khoîros’ and, in the episode, the “elbowdeep” stage direction refer solely to external female genitals (the pudenda and Bloom’s vulva, respectively); the stage directions are silent when it comes to Bloom’s secondary sex organs.10 Antebrachial goings-on are undisclosed, uniquely so in an episode whose very modus operandi is the making visible of the previously occluded and the bringing to light of that which is repressed. Indeed, the closest the reader gets to the unseen ‘animal’ of internal female genitalia in “Circe” is in a moment of matey contempt for women: the animalized “[l]obster and mayonnaise” (U 15.3753) that Lenehan smells on Boylan’s fingers after the fancy man’s tryst with Molly. Out of sight like the nonhuman animal that supplies Joyce with his conceptual prompt—the stable mare who is herself sidelined in Ellis’s clergyman testimony—the “elbowdeep” penetration is shocking as much for what it does not show and cannot represent as for what it renders visible.

5. The Whatness of Allhorse

So inventive is “Circe” in its exploitation of animal imagery and associations that a cushion thrown by one sex worker to another can become a grouse that “wings clumsily through the underwood” (U 15.3414). But what of the living animal? Where does it figure amid the episode’s distracting pyrotechnics when not relegated to figuration or to the literalizing of figurative language involving animals? This question is especially pointed in relation to the horse. For not only does the Homeric substructure of Ulysses provide the classic example of an inanimate nonhuman in the wooden horse of Troy but also Ireland at the turn of the century was still predominantly an equine economy. While Irish “equiculture” (Pramaggiore 2015, p. 215) had not then acquired the transnationalism that Pramaggiore associates with Celtic Tiger Ireland and with the racing and breeding industries, the horse still makes an honourable exception to the items enumerated in the Citizen’s long lament for Ireland’s ruined trade: “our farfamed horses even today, the Irish hobbies” (U 12.1252–53). In Ulysses at large, horses are linked to a slew of the cultural differences that haunt metrocolonial Dublin, and they tap into anxieties around desire, class, authority, creed, and gender: from the rampant Gold Cup speculation that runs through the novel to the homosociality predicated on sharing racing tips (Lenehan, his name “vaguely associated with racing tissues” since Dubliners (Joyce [1914] 2006, p. 39), is the one to watch here); from the woman Bloom eyes up in “Lotus Eaters” who reminds him of “that haughty creature at the polo match” (U 5.103) but is later recalled as “that horsey woman” (U 15.206) to Boylan, son of a horse dealer, whom Molly figures as “a Stallion driving it up into you” (U 18.152); from the Anglo-Irish women described as “[s]trong as a brood mare some of those horsey women. Swagger around livery stables” (U 8.345–46) to labourers such as “horse repository hands” (U 15.1434). By the same token, the passage of the mounted cavalcade across the city “in easy trot” (U 10.794) acts as both a shorthand for imperial power (Cheng 1995) and a demonstration of its borrowed authority as, pointedly, a viceregal procession. Bringing all of these horsey elements together, Ellis and the Irish priest’s letter provide an intertextual trellis for “Circe”, across which the wider novel trains a series of intratextual correspondences.
But, again, what of the living animal? Amid the episode’s teeming human-to-animal metamorphoses, the actual animal is, like the chimeric Bloom begging up, all too quickly subjected to anthropomorphism. Indeed, when the flesh-and-blood horse finally appears in the closing lines of “Circe”, it is accorded only a brief stage direction—“[t]he horse neighs” (U 15.4877)—before being anthropomorphized. Tellingly, this transformation centres on the faculty of speech and the cab-horse is made a party to the leering merriment at Bloom’s expense, his non-verbal whinny rejigged as “Hohohohohohoh! Hohohohome!” (U 15.4879). There is something tyrannical to this extorting of human speech from the dumb, as though the final animal cruelty were to deny the nonhuman animal the very foundation of its alterity. David Rando notes a revolution in the apprehension and treatment of the nonhuman animal body over the course of the nineteenth century, and he reads Ulysses in relation to what he terms a “veterinary gaze” (Rando 2009, p. 529). He argues that Joyce seeks to unsettle the authority of this veterinary discourse by questioning its central contradistinguishing marker: the language that the nonhuman lacks (Rando 2009, p. 530). For all the animality of Ellis’s priest’s letter, however, the Studies and Joyce’s reuse of its Irish clergyman’s letter, reaffirm only the supremacy of the medical gaze itself. We look at the archdeacon’s mare only to see ourselves.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 665501 with the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest. The funding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript and in the decision to publish the results.


The following abbreviations are used in this manuscript:
UBPoetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
NLINational Library of Ireland


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Emphasis in original. The reference (Joyce 1986) will be cited in-text throughout with (U) for Ulysses, followed by the corresponding episode and line numbers according to the conventions of the Gabler edition.
Heap, as co-editor of the Little Review with Margaret Anderson, was prosecuted in 1921 for publishing the “Nausicaa” episode of Ulysses. Her spirited defence of the masturbation scene, delivered in the final number of the Little Review to feature an extract from Ulysses, reworked Joyce’s language to normalizing effect and held that “Girls lean back everywhere, showing lace and silk stockings; […] men think thoughts and have emotions about these things everywhere—seldom as delicately and imaginatively as Mr Bloom—and no one is corrupted” (Heap 1920, p. 6). Heap and Anderson were convicted and fined $50 apiece.
Fritz Senn reads “Circe” as an episode in which animal metaphors are “elaborated into scenes that are acted out” (Senn 1994, p. 78). For Maud Ellmann, Bloom’s “shape-changes give literal form to his earlier transmigrations of imagination”, but her assertion that he “changes into every animal he pities” is somewhat overingenious (Ellmann 2006, pp. 83, 88). Wherefore a chicken? Echoing Senn but employing the language of the chase, Cliff Mak has more recently noted our critical tendency to “hunt down” elements of “Circe” to earlier instances of figurative language or the “flutter of Bloomean consciousness” (Mak 2016, p. 186). In this vein, Bloom’s equine transformation renders literal his metaphorical characterization as a “dark horse” in “Cyclops” (U 12.1558), and his run of animal metamorphoses plays out the gloss on metempsychosis that he offers his wife Molly: “the ancient Greeks […] used to believe you could be changed into an animal or a tree” (U 4.375–76).
The terminology of textual recurrence employed here is Gregory Machacek’s (Machacek 2007).
Another instance of equine transformation, in which Bello “horserides” Bloom and threatens to “ride him for the Eclipse stakes” (U 15.2944–46), occurs earlier in the episode. Compositionally speaking, however, it was added much later than the impromptu auction, not becoming part of “Circe” until the galley proofs of the episode, which were pulled in late December 1921 (Joyce 1978b, p. 159).
Around the same time that he made this change, ambiguating Marsh’s gender identity with the addition of a single character, Joyce was also drafting the “Ithaca” episode for the first time. There Bloom’s middle name, as recorded on his birth certificate, is revealed to be the feminine “Paula” (now U 17.1855).
Brown (Brown 1985, p. 85) relates this classification to Molly Bloom’s arousal while “at the window watching the two dogs at it”, which Bloom recalls in “Hades” (U 6.78–7981). “Give us a touch, Poldy”, his wife implores: “God, I’m dying for it” (U 6.80–81). Again, this material was in the episode as early as its Rosenbach manuscript, which dates to 1918. All of the evidence seems to indicate that this was several years before Joyce first starting reading and taking notes from the Studies.
The first note made it into “Circe”; the second did not.
An electronic facsimile of the notebook can be consulted online, subject to national copyright restrictions: (accessed on 1 May 2017).
That Bloom “bears eight male yellow and white children” (U 15.1821–22) earlier in the episode indicates that, at least for a moment, he has a womb.

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Crowley, R. Looking at Animals without Seeing Them: Havelock Ellis in the “Circe” Episode of Ulysses. Humanities 2017, 6, 73.

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Crowley R. Looking at Animals without Seeing Them: Havelock Ellis in the “Circe” Episode of Ulysses. Humanities. 2017; 6(3):73.

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Crowley, Ronan. 2017. "Looking at Animals without Seeing Them: Havelock Ellis in the “Circe” Episode of Ulysses" Humanities 6, no. 3: 73.

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