Special Issue "Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Katherine Ebury

School of English, The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
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Phone: +44 (0)114-222-6295
Interests: modernism, literature and science and Irish Studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • James Joyce
  • modernism
  • Irish Studies
  • animals
  • animal studies
  • nonhuman
  • nonhuman turn
  • ecocriticism
  • zoology

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Looking at Animals without Seeing Them: Havelock Ellis in the “Circe” Episode of Ulysses
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030073
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
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Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
“We Are All Animals:” James Joyce, Stephen Dedalus, and the Problem of Agriculture
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030072
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 27 August 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
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Abstract
This article will position James Joyce’s novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Ulysses (1922) as literary works that are concerned with ecological issues associated with agriculture; here, this concern is traced through Stephen Dedalus’s awareness of land [...] Read more.
This article will position James Joyce’s novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Ulysses (1922) as literary works that are concerned with ecological issues associated with agriculture; here, this concern is traced through Stephen Dedalus’s awareness of land and animals beyond and outside Dublin. Specifically, Joyce frequently depicts the colonization of Ireland as centered on the control of nonhumans in the form of agriculture, which he brings into the novels’ political foreground. I will argue further that Joyce is equally critical of the violent nationalist rhetoric and insurrections of early 1900s Ireland, as a movement, which perpetuated the agricultural control of land. Joyce illustrates the violence of this agricultural aporia through the lives of nonhumans, the world of “filthy cowyards” and cannibalistic sows. Yet, this paper will also find in Stephen’s relations with animals an effective aesthetic rebellion to this aporia, for example, his self-styling as the “Bous Stephanoumenos”, as well as his interactions with dogs and swallows as fellow Dubliners, artists, and sufferers. These examples point to a kind of queer ecology as a form of resistance to agricultural violence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Figures of the Earth: Non-Human Phenomenology in Joyce
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030071
Received: 4 August 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 7 September 2017
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Abstract
My paper addresses the non-human turn in Joyce’s work from the perspective of genetic phenomenology. I begin by commenting on Joyce’s characterization of Molly Bloom as a non-human apparition. I unpack the notion of a non-human apparition in light of Joyce’s interest in [...] Read more.
My paper addresses the non-human turn in Joyce’s work from the perspective of genetic phenomenology. I begin by commenting on Joyce’s characterization of Molly Bloom as a non-human apparition. I unpack the notion of a non-human apparition in light of Joyce’s interest in the idea of the earth as a generative matrix, and I relate this idea to a genetic enquiry into problems of passive synthesis and the givenness of objects to sense perception. I then trace the elaboration of this theme in a cluster of rhetorical figures from the later novels—puns, clichés, and metonymic associations—that play on the senses of matrix, materiality, and the sex of the mother. The second part turns to representations of the earth in Finnegans Wake. Focusing on scenes of interment and becoming one with the landscape, descriptions of tombs as echo chambers, and of geological sites as giant human bodies, I read Joyce’s earth as the crowning expression of his experiments with a radical (pre- and post-human) phenomenology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Sounding the Nonhuman in Joyce’s “Sirens”
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030064
Received: 10 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
This essay explores Joyce’s attempt, in “Sirens”, to give articulation to the sounds made by objects and nonhuman beings, with the ultimate goal of destabilizing the boundary separating the human voice (and other forms of human expression) from nonhuman sound. The episode itself [...] Read more.
This essay explores Joyce’s attempt, in “Sirens”, to give articulation to the sounds made by objects and nonhuman beings, with the ultimate goal of destabilizing the boundary separating the human voice (and other forms of human expression) from nonhuman sound. The episode itself can be read as a catalogue of sounds, nonhuman and human, that interact with one another in the absence of a qualitative standard of judgment that would separate the human voice from nonhuman sound, music from “noise”, or conceptual language from sonic expression. Human characters in the episode become what Vike Martina Plock has called “soundboards”, or resonating bodies through which the sounds of their material environment achieve expression. Additionally, human bodies are fragmented metonymically into their sounding body “parts” detached from the unity of the human subject, which allows for new forms of sonorous collaboration between sounding objects and sounding body parts. Nonhuman sounds persist in contrapuntal relation with the voices and sounds of the human characters (and their sounding body parts), a phenomenon which forces us to expand our conception of the fugal form of the episode to include nonhuman entities as collaborators, or “voices”, within it. In this way, “Sirens” asks us to consider sound, and by extension music, not simply as the purely intentional product of a human consciousness, but also as a collective composition between human bodies (and body parts) and the sonic materials of their environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Bestial Feminine in Finnegans Wake
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030058
Received: 10 June 2017 / Revised: 29 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Female characters frequently appear as animals in the unstable universe of James Joyce’s a Finnegans Wake. What Kimberly Devlin terms “the male tendency to reduce women to the level of the beast” is manifest in Finnegans Wake on a large scale. From [...] Read more.
Female characters frequently appear as animals in the unstable universe of James Joyce’s a Finnegans Wake. What Kimberly Devlin terms “the male tendency to reduce women to the level of the beast” is manifest in Finnegans Wake on a large scale. From the hen pecking at a dung heap which we suppose is a manifestation of matriarch Anna Livia Plurabelle, to the often lascivious pig imagery (reminiscent of Bloom’s experience with brothel-keeper Bella in the “Circe” episode of Ulysses) associated with juvenile seductress Issy, the lines between animal and human are frequently blurred when it comes to representing the feminine in the Wake. As scholars such as Devlin have highlighted, such constellations of images have their roots in blatantly misogynistic iconographies. Indeed, the reinscription of female characters into bestial roles in the Wake echoes a religious history of the dehumanisation of women. Yet, while this gendered representational tendency has been noted in Joycean and, more recently, wider modernist studies, its deployment and impact as a cultural and literary trope has not yet been interpreted according to the sociohistorical and cultural contexts which shaped the composition of Finnegans Wake. In particular, the culturally-specific sexual politics of Free State Ireland (1922–1937), against which Joyce arguably pushes throughout the entirety of the Wake, offer a suggestive lens through which to view the text’s interconnected representations of the feminine and the bestial. This article suggests that, in Finnegans Wake, the nonhuman is a mode through which Joyce explores the fraught sexual politics of early twentieth-century Ireland. Specifically, the bestial feminine becomes an avenue to inspect, expose, and satirise prevalent contemporary fears over female sexual licentiousness and national moral decline. Historicising the text’s grappling with themes of carnality and baseness, the article discusses the ways in which the woman-as-animal is deployed in Finnegans Wake as a grotesque symbol of an unbridled and threatening female sexuality—an extreme embodiment of 1920s and 1930s Ireland’s worst fears surrounding the perceived degeneration of Irish women’s modesty. Unearthing the Wake’s social contexts in order to interpret its sexual politics, this article ultimately asks whether the trope of the woman-as-animal stages a complete resistance against the conservatism of early twentieth-century Ireland’s sexual politics, or whether Joyce’s invocation of a historically misogynistic and patriarchal construction risks reinforcing the dehumanisation of women, moving the text’s sexual politics further away from the liberatory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
De Anima: Or, Ulysses and the Theological Turn in Modernist Studies
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030057
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Focusing on Joyce’s use of Aristotle’s De Anima, and on Aquinas’s response to Aristotle, this essay takes, as its starting point, the recourse to two areas of enquiry in recent work on modernism: animal studies and phenomenology. In this essay we examine the [...] Read more.
Focusing on Joyce’s use of Aristotle’s De Anima, and on Aquinas’s response to Aristotle, this essay takes, as its starting point, the recourse to two areas of enquiry in recent work on modernism: animal studies and phenomenology. In this essay we examine the intersection within Ulysses of the concept of the soul in Aristotle and Aquinas, show how this relates to questions of animality, and open the way to asking what implication the theological reflection on the soul at the centre of Ulysses might have for a process of uncovering theological contents in the concept of “life” in modernist studies more generally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Portrait of the Animal as a Young Artist: Animality, Instinct, and Cognition in Joyce’s Early Prose
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030056
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
This essay situates James Joyce within the competing discourses of Catholic theology, evolutionary biology, and Nietzsche’s philosophy, with emphasis on their attitudes towards the body and the animal-human boundary. Joyce’s use of “instinct” in his early works (Dubliners, Stephen Hero, [...] Read more.
This essay situates James Joyce within the competing discourses of Catholic theology, evolutionary biology, and Nietzsche’s philosophy, with emphasis on their attitudes towards the body and the animal-human boundary. Joyce’s use of “instinct” in his early works (Dubliners, Stephen Hero, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) helps us understand his movement from a view of animals and the human body as frightening or paralyzing to a more open acceptance of the body and its impulses. This transition from portraying the body as an impediment in Dubliners to a source of knowledge or cognition in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man helps us better understand Joyce’s early prose and his embrace of both animal and human bodies in his later works. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Ulysses and the Signature of Things
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030052
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 24 July 2017
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Abstract
James Joyce’s depiction of autographic signatures resembles the “doctrine of signatures”—a pre-modern system of correspondence between medicinal plants and parts of the body. Certain aspects of this episteme reappear in the late nineteenth century. This recurrence is due, in large part, to developments [...] Read more.
James Joyce’s depiction of autographic signatures resembles the “doctrine of signatures”—a pre-modern system of correspondence between medicinal plants and parts of the body. Certain aspects of this episteme reappear in the late nineteenth century. This recurrence is due, in large part, to developments in the technology of writing that threaten what Friedrich Kittler calls the “surrogate sensuality of handwriting.” Reading the “Nausicaa” episode of Ulysses against fin-de-siècle ideas about graphology, I argue that signature offers a unique perspective on Joyce’s taxonomic representation, which questions the boundaries between a body of text and (non)human bodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
“Tatters, Bloom’s Cat, and Other Animals in Ulysses
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030050
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 20 July 2017
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Abstract
Given how few animals appear in the stories of Dubliners and in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, we may be surprised to find a dog and a cat playing small roles in the third and fourth chapters of [...] Read more.
Given how few animals appear in the stories of Dubliners and in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, we may be surprised to find a dog and a cat playing small roles in the third and fourth chapters of Ulysses. Their appearance in adjacent episodes is neither coincidental nor entirely casual, however, if one takes a careful look at their presentations. The animals’ circumstances are very different. Stephen Dedalus has been walking along the strand at Sandymount, when he spots a dog running along the sand, followed by its owners, a man and a woman whom he assumes to be cocklepickers. In the next chapter, Leopold Bloom is preparing breakfast for his wife when he hears his cat meowing and pours her some milk in a small bowl. It is particularly worth looking at the narration of these two scenarios because the different human perceptions and responses to animals they present help us analyze the challenges of resisting animal anthropomorphizing and its implications for the limitations and boundaries of preserving the status of animal “otherness” in a work of fiction. Put differently, the narrative strategies in “Proteus” and “Calypso” manage to maintain animal identity as that of “actors” rather than “characters,” while demonstrating what is required to maintain this status for them. I will discuss these two animals, dog and cat, in the order in which they appear in Ulysses, as well as a number of other animals appearing later in the work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Eyes of That Cow: Eating Animals and Theorizing Vegetarianism in James Joyce’s Ulysses
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030046
Received: 25 May 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 4 July 2017
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Abstract
At the end of the nineteenth century more than half of Ireland’s entire land surface was being used for the raising of livestock, most of which was transported through Dublin on its way to England to be slaughtered and eaten. The same period [...] Read more.
At the end of the nineteenth century more than half of Ireland’s entire land surface was being used for the raising of livestock, most of which was transported through Dublin on its way to England to be slaughtered and eaten. The same period saw the development of a new social phenomena of vegetarianism amongst Ireland’s intellectuals and literary figures. This article focuses on James Joyce’s portrayal of livestock, meat and vegetarianism in Ulysses, examining how the novel engages with the politics of cattle raising, the emergence of industrialized animal slaughter and the ethics of meat eating at the turn of the twentieth century. Attending to the ways in which Joyce both historicizes and theorizes the lives of animals and the production of meat, this article places Ulysses in dialogue with recent writings on animal ethics by Jacques Derrida and J. M. Coetzee and the emergence of what is being termed “vegan studies” to suggest a vegetarian reading of Joyce’s novel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Joyce’s “Force” and His Tuskers as Modern Animals
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030045
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 3 July 2017
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Abstract
Focusing on those animals that have been overlooked in reading Joyce’s work opens up new perspectives for understanding his writing. One of his earliest essays, “Force” (1898), written at the age of sixteen, shows his so far unexplored concern about the domestication of [...] Read more.
Focusing on those animals that have been overlooked in reading Joyce’s work opens up new perspectives for understanding his writing. One of his earliest essays, “Force” (1898), written at the age of sixteen, shows his so far unexplored concern about the domestication of animals and extinction of species, and develops a theory of subjugation. The essay provides a useful mainstay for considering the “tuskers,” (the mammoth and mastodon, the elephants, their tusks, and ivory) in the context of the cultural discourses of modern society. The game-changer discovery of the notion of extinction; representation of mammoths and mastodons as fearful creatures; the novelty of elephants exposed to curious gaze on exhibition; the sculpture of Elvery’s Elephant House in Sackville street; a circus elephant and “terrible queer creature” episode in Stephen Hero; the forced labor perpetrated in the Congo Free State to exploit rubber and the ivory of wild elephants. These seemingly disparate topics deeply wedded to modernity will be interrelated with each other in “Force,” shaping a constellation of “Joyce’s tuskers.” Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Flower Power: Desire, Gender, and Folk Belief in the Joycean Mary Garden
Humanities 2017, 6(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6030044
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 22 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Robert Brazeau and Derek Gladwin’s Eco-Joyce (2014) largely overlooks a historical basis for ecocritical thought. The absence of a historicist view requires consideration not only of the natural world but folk botany, such as the Mary Garden that is a phantom presence in [...] Read more.
Robert Brazeau and Derek Gladwin’s Eco-Joyce (2014) largely overlooks a historical basis for ecocritical thought. The absence of a historicist view requires consideration not only of the natural world but folk botany, such as the Mary Garden that is a phantom presence in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as well as in “Nausicaa” and “Penelope” in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. The undergrowth of the garden reconfigures human action and subtly predicts it with its compendium of theological and devotional meanings for the burgeoning sexuality expressed by Gerty MacDowell and Issy Earwicker as well as the mature longing of Molly Bloom. This essay will establish a fresh Deleuzian paradigm of Becoming-Flower to demonstrate how the Mary Garden blooms to present new perspectives on Catholicism, eros, and gender identity in Joyce’s major works. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Beelines: Joyce’s Apian Aesthetics
Humanities 2017, 6(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6020042
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (239 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article examines the presence of apian life in James Joyce’s body of work in light of Maurice Maeterlinck’s discovery at the turn of the twentieth-century that honeybees communicate using a complex system of language. In December 1903, Joyce offered to translate Maeterlinck’s [...] Read more.
This article examines the presence of apian life in James Joyce’s body of work in light of Maurice Maeterlinck’s discovery at the turn of the twentieth-century that honeybees communicate using a complex system of language. In December 1903, Joyce offered to translate Maeterlinck’s book-length study La Vie Des Abeille (The Life of the Bee) (1901) for the Irish Bee-Keeper, and the pages of the journal later resurface on a book-cart in Ulysses. Beginning with a discussion of the ‘economy of bee life’ in Stephen Hero, this article explores Joyce’s career-long fascination with nonhuman modes of communication, tracing his fascination with apian intelligence through close readings of Bloom’s bee-sting in Ulysses, as well as through the swarm of references that appear in Finnegans Wake. Finally, it argues that bees offer new ways of reading Joyce’s work, opening up new lines of connection between the fields of literary criticism and apiculture, and drawing the reader’s attention to the peripheral hum or murmur at the edges of human speech. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Joyce, Animals and the Nonhuman)
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