Special Issue "Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman"
A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2017) | Viewed by 65751
This special issue on ‘Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman’ is inspired by ecocritical approaches to Joyce, in particular in Eco-Joyce (Brazeau and Gladwin) and The Ecology of Finnegans Wake (Lacivita), which have recently generated interest in Joyce’s environmental imagination. The contributors explore connections between Joyce and animal studies and Joyce and the ‘nonhuman turn’. Although excellent critical work on Joyce and animals has certainly appeared in the past, with perennial interests being Tatters of ‘Proteus’, the Blooms’ cat, Garryowen of ‘Cyclops’, and, of course, cattle disease, this special issue is the first sustained publication on these topics.
The essays in this special issue use a range of methodologies, including theoretical, textual, genetic and historical approaches, while a nice balance is also struck across the volume between Joyce’s different works and how his approach to the animal changes over time. Indeed, looking for evidence of Joyce’s substantial engagement with animals seems, to a certain extent, to allow us to reshape our view of his oeuvre. We see the centrality of some of Joyce’s more critically neglected works. For example, Yoshimi Minamitani’s essay on Joyce’s ‘Force’ in terms of his portrayal of tusked animals in an imperial context. Similarly, both Minamitani and John Rickard also find Stephen Hero to be an important reference point for their arguments.
At the same time, the special issue also works to re-envision the place of animals within the works of Joyce’s central achievement, in Portrait, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Authors such as consider why nonhuman rights and representations have been overlooked, even in, as Peter Adkins notes, critical works that are substantially about Joyce’s attitudes to politics and ethics. Indeed, the special issue asserts connections between human and animal rights. The role of gender and sexuality in relation to animals and the nonhuman are therefore represented by excellent, determined critical work in pieces by Rickard, Laura Lovejoy, Ronan Crowley and Christin Mulligan. Minamitani, Adkins and Caitlin McIntyre also persuasively assert the importance of placing the animal and the nonhuman within a postcolonial context, while Margot Norris examines how the representation of animals might alter the narrative form of a Joycean text.
Within and outside a rights-based ethical framework, debates about phenomenology and the Joycean text also prove their usefulness several times across the special issue, especially in relation to the nonhuman. In the special issue, brilliant essays by Rasheed Tazudeen, David Ayers, Hunter Dukes and Ruben Borg consider the nonhuman turn in Joyce’s work, via noise/music, theology, signatures, and the earth respectively. Indeed, even essays primarily about animal life, such as Rachel Murray’s ‘Beelines’ article, can offer frequent unexpected connections to the nonhuman and to technology – in Murray’s case, her interest in radio technology and the hum of the bee shows how Joyce makes us ‘become alert to the resonances of nonhuman life’. It seems clear that there is a great need for further work on Joyce and the nonhuman turn.
The diversity and originality of the critical work published here is hard to capture. But we are proud to offer an open access space for sustained consideration of how Joyce represents the animal and the nonhuman throughout his works, and we hope to lay the ground for further future work. Thanks are due to the contributors, to a host of a dedicated and collegial peer reviewers within the Joyce community and the animal studies field, to Humanities for hosting our work.
Dr. Katherine Ebury
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- James Joyce
- Irish Studies
- animal studies
- nonhuman turn