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“Charley, you’re my darwing!”: Sexual Selection in the Joycean Nursery
Abstract

Abstract:

James Joyce inscribes his “Mime of the Mick, Nick and the Maggies,” a section of the novel Finnegans Wake, within the symbolic structure of turn-of-the-century sexual science, and specifically within the framework of Darwinian principles of sexual selection. In keeping with the parodic nature of the larger narrative of Finnegans Wake, Joyce creates a complex satire on the Darwinian-inspired sexual sciences—satire situated within the milieu of the children’s nursery and nursery games. The result of Joyce’s burlesque “Mime” reveals the science of sexuality as itself a form of fictional discourse rooted in the aesthetics of desire.