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Menstruation in Ulysses

From: James Joyce Quarterly
Volume 46, Number 3-4, Spring-Summer 2009
pp. 497-508 | 10.1353/jjq.2008.0032

Abstract

Abstract:

This article investigates James Joyce's fascination with a wide variety of medical texts, sexual folklores, religious beliefs, and persistent superstitions about menstruation. That fascination finds its way into Ulysses, which draws upon a number of intertexts to inform a curiosity about the female body most strikingly articulated by Bloom, Molly, and Gerty MacDowell. These intertexts are not simply imported into the novel but are dismantled and interrogated, as Joyce exposes, rather than endorses, clichés of essential femininity.